Salvation

Part three of a series on reasons to care for creation.

Since early childhood I have had a particular fascination with the cat family, or Felidae. Of the 37 or so species I’ve had the great privilege to work with 17 of them in captivity, to see two in the wild and to hear a third: it’s a humbling experience to be sleeping outside and in the half-light of morning to hear a leopard calling close by!

During a university summer holiday I was working at a wildlife sanctuary, where, among other animals, I had to look after a tiger called Sonia. And after a few days I had the opportunity to go into her enclosure along with her keeper. Continue reading

Provision

Part one of a series on reasons to care for creation.

In Genesis 1:29 + 31 we read that ‘God saw all that He had made and it was very good’. Also: ‘I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.’

God has created a world in balance that is wonderfully interconnected; that is self-sustaining; that does not produce waste; and that provides, or should provide, amply for all life on earth. Here I want to divide this section further into extrinsic and intrinsic valuations of God’s provision for us. Continue reading

Armchair philosophy

The third part in our series on biblical eco-warriors of the faith looks at Solomon, and living well on planet earth.

God gave Solomon wisdom – the broadest of minds and the largest of hearts – like the grains of sand upon the seashore. 1 Kings 4:29

Solomon was the wisest person who has ever lived. 1 Kings 4 tells us that he was a king whose very words brought ‘men of all nations’ to listen to him, whose learning surpassed all of the other Einsteins of his era, and even the vast accumulated knowledge of ancient Egypt. He was a wordsmith, a poet and a minstrel. And Solomon was also a keen observer of the world around him, effectively a botanist and a zoologist: ‘He described plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall. He also taught about animals and birds, reptiles and fish’. Continue reading

Noah.

We continue our series on ‘Environmental Hero’s of the Faith’ with…

Noah.

Noah was thrust back into our homes in 2014 through the relentless advertising that comes with a supposed Hollywood blockbuster. I missed it in the cinema, but kept an eye on the reviews which overall didn’t seem too hot. I have seen it since and actually quite liked it. Sure, the director Darren Aronofsky took some license with the story, with cool rock monsters and explosions and such like, but we can get over that one. One of the stand out bits of the film for me was when Noah and his family, were all stowed away in the boat and he was explaining the creation story to each of them- not to ruin the film but this then cut away to essentially show an evolutionary process within which God was present. In the context of the film, it works really well, whether you believe in an evolutionary process or not. Continue reading

Wildly wonderful world

The first part in our series on biblical eco-warriors of the faith looks at Adam.

I was a precocious child. When I was about ten, I wrote in to an agricultural magazine I subscribed to at the time about a glaring error in one of their articles. On a tour of the Netherlands one of their contributors – a poultry expert – had misidentified a breed of cattle he had encountered on his travels. It was not, I informed him in my letter, a belted galloway, as he had assumed. Rather, it was, in fact, a lakenvelder, or Dutch belted.

I didn’t realise it at the time but what I was doing was exactly what our forefather Adam did in the very beginning: observing God’s creation and applying that knowledge. I was also doing two other things just like Adam. I was reflecting the heart of the good, good Father, a wild God who knows and delights in His ‘wildly wonderful world’ (Psalm 104:24, The Message). What’s more, I was taking my place as part of the community of creation, an interconnected part of the Creator’s universe like any other, albeit with a special divine hallmark. These three aspects of Adam’s life tell us much about living well today on planet earth. Continue reading

Wings fit for purpose

There are many seasons in life.  Sometimes they can be trying but we can be encouraged as Christians that God has His hand on all things.  I believe we can take great encouragement from the life lessons demonstrated in nature…

I once read that as a butterfly readies to leave the cocoon it wriggles and writhes, struggling to break free. This battle can last several days. During this time its ceaseless motion encourages blood flow and flexes muscles in the newly formed wings. At the appointed time the struggle ends. The butterfly emerges and flutters away. The relentless battle produced wings fit for purpose. Not only that but the time spent in the cocoon was a time of maturing and change. The caterpillar was transformed into the adult butterfly – a symbol of beauty. Continue reading

The snow leopard will lie down with the lamb

Our relationships with wildlife are sorely in need of Divine restoration.

I write these words from the heart of the Himalayas.  The days are shortening as autumn turns firmly into winter, and the ice creeps down from the snowclad peaks onto the valley floors.  In many ways, life goes on here as it has these many centuries: the harvest has been safely gathered in and people are preparing for the long, hard winter.  In other ways, the advent of roads, airstrips and telecommunications now allow these communities unprecedented access to the outside world, and vice versa.

This setting is also the backdrop for another age-old custom: that of conflict between man and beast.  The herds of livestock – yaks, horses, goats and sheep – that many people across the Himalayan region depend on for their livelihoods can be an attractive proposition to hungry predators, especially when their natural prey is scarce.  Wolf, bear, lynx and snow leopard can all kill domestic animals across the Himalayan region.  Not only does this threaten the wellbeing of households and communities, but also the persistence of these wildlife species, as they face potential retaliation from irate villagers.

Continue reading