The Creation Itself Will Be Liberated From Its Bondage To Decay

I was looking through the lending library that we have in the church, our members add to it from time to time, and I was intrigued to see a copy of ‘The Green Bible’; this was a new one for me, so I took it home, looked through it and read the long introduction by Rev. Dave Bookless and others.

"The Green Bible" uses the New Revised Standard Version Bible and prints with green ink the verses that seem to refer to the environment and the ecosystems of the world; and I will quote from this version in this article.

Right at the beginning of this edition of the ‘Green Bible" Francis Assisi’s ‘Cantle of the Creatures’ has been printed and I quote just one verse here -

"Praise to you, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs."

God gave man dominion over the wonderful ecosystem that he created on the earth as a habitation for mankind, who he made in his own image -

Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth."

So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." God said, "See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of the whole earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food, and to everything that creeps on the earth, and everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good - Genesis 1: 26 to 31

Some unbelievers have taken exception to the word ‘dominion’, but the meaning here is not exploitation, but responsible stewardship and care-taking. Therefore, God in no way means brutal subjection, but training, developing and enhancing what he has put on the earth; and with loving care bringing the animal creation to its highest development possible.

We see that mankind has done this to some extent, particularly with horticulture and agriculture. But because of sin, which always distorts, ruins and destroys whatever it touches; and it touches everything in one way or another. Sin is therefore the reason for the selfish, brutal and savage misuse of God’s creation that is everywhere evident.

Some Christians shy away from this subject because they see some very worldly people, tremendously vocal about conservation, and whose motives they think may well be suspect, and so they don`t feel that they want to be associated with them - strange bed fellows indeed!

I am a creationist and I see atheistic evolutionists being very concerned about the environment and know that their motives are quite different from mine. In no way are they concerned about God’s command to care for his creation and thereby bring him glory, but rather that mankind should not destroy the only home they have.

Also as they see that at, best, mankind is only the highest form that random evolution has yet achieved, and therefore to risk making the earth uninhabitable would be madness. Of course, there is an inconsistency here because although they believe in random selection they are, in fact, wanting to introduce an element of control.

Christians should be ready to cooperate even with those with whom they strongly disagree, when they see them concerned for the environment and the danger to the delicate ecosystems, and thank God they are concerned; whatever their motives may be.

Although there are a number of references in the gospels that are directly or indirectly, to do with the environment, my impression is that Jesus concentrated his ministry on people.  The apostle John sums up Jesus’ ministry with these words -

Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in his book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name - John 20: 30 & 31

Jesus knew that, where caring for the earth is concerned, people need to be converted and God conscience, and then they will respond to the needs of the it’s environment and its ecosystems because it is God’s creation, and although marred by man’s sin, still awesomely beautiful.

The apostle Paul saw clearly that the wickedness of both angelic beings and sinful man have affected not only the world but the whole of creation, inanimate and the animate; and he tells us what the remedy will be -

The creation waits in eager anticipation for the sons of God to be revealed - that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God -

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies, For in this hope we were saved - Romans 8: 19 to 24

It would seem that the redeemed people of God have a vital and important role in the renewal of, not only planet earth, but the whole of creation - Awesome!

How important it is then that Christians should be in the forefront of every genuine effort to prevent the appalling destruction and contamination of God’s creation, and where possible bring about restoration and renewal.

I am very conscious that there is very much more to be said on this vital subject that is impossible within the limits of a short article. For example I have not mentioned the tremendous effect of the great flood of Noah’s day on the world’s environment

May I recommend that you seek a copy of the ‘Green Bible" because not only the inspired text, but the introductory comments will give you a more detailed view. It is published by Collins, a division of Harper Collins Publishers 77 - 85 Fulham Place Road, London W6 8JB.

It is, of course, the life, sacrificial death and bodily resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ that are the keys to the final renewal of both heaven and earth. He conquered death in all its forms, and if we are to benefit from what he has done then we must believe in him and follow him; there is a personal decision to make here - Have you made it? If not, do so now! And you will be saved.

Among many other things, you will see the question of the environment and the worlds ecosystems from a new perspective and God’s blessing will be with you.

May the Bible have the last word to say in this article -

If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away, see, everything has become new! All this from God, who reconciled us to himself  through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God reconciled the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us - 2 Corinthians 17 to 19

God Bless You All!!!
Pastor Gordon Guillermo Burgess
Alicante Church Of The Good Shepherd