While not intended to be an exhaustive theological discourse on creation care, this brief overview sets out seven reasons why we think looking after the environment matters for Christians.
Creation is amazing. From the colours of sunset to the vastness of space, the natural world is truly spectacular. It fills us with wonder and delight. Creation is also a great gift of God, revealing to us something of His infinite power, glory and wisdom.
Creation has a purpose. It fulfils this simply by being itself and honours God in this way. Nature has an inherent and intrinsic value that exists independently of its usefulness to humans. But use it we can, indeed must. The defining issue isn’t whether or not we can use creation, but how we use it: humanely, fairly and sustainably.
Creation is our home. We live on it and in it, and it lives on and in us We eat it, drink it, wear it, use and abuse it. We’re even buried in it. For these reasons alone ignoring it is simply not an option. From beetles and bacteria to black holes and blue whales, we have an inordinate need of all the intricate parts of the universe – living and inanimate – on which we depend.
Creation is us. We’re 99% chimpanzee and 60% banana. We’re biological beings, created, like Adam, from the dust of the earth and returning to it in time. Part of the community of creation, the very building blocks of life flow through our veins, not to mention the countless micro-organisms inside us.
Creation is our responsibility. We’re unique as a species: we bear the divine hallmark, the very image of God. And God has asked to look after His world on His terms, be it the Garden of Eden or the Garden of Earth. The duty of care we have is both an incredible privilege and an incredible responsibility. The arts, sciences and humanities all have important roles to play in helping us relate to, understand and wisely use nature.
Creation is in trouble. The complex web of relationships on which the cosmos is founded – between people, nature and God – displays the full effects of sin and suffering. Environmental problems, like all others, are an outward expression of humanity’s inner condition, our original and continuing fall from grace.
Creation has a future. There is hope for the natural world. This hope is embodied in Jesus Christ – His birth, life, death, resurrection and return. As sin corrupts all relationships, He heals, whether past, present or future. Jesus asks us, be that individuals, families, churches or communities, to follow Him and humbly partake in the mission of God: the righting of all wrongs. In this way creation’s bright future begins now with each of us, everyday.