The Earth Is a Gift
Creation Care is a spiritual value. As people of faith, this truth is unmistakable. It is woven into the very fabric of our theology. Those who are determined to exploit creation rather than care for it will often refer to those who hold contrary opinions as lefties or tree huggers, like those are bad things. The foundation of our theology provides a solid framework in favor of the stewardship and care of creation and not it’s exploitation. The belief in God as Creator is theological bedrock for many of us. God is the creator of the earth and all held within, including us. This is more than a statement of belief; it establishes the foundation of our relationship with God. God is creator, we are created. The minute we forget this, the whole system wobbles. God’s act of creation can’t be separated from God’s larger purpose as revealed in Scripture. Creation itself is evidence of and the means by which God establishes relationship with us. In its functionality, it is also evidence and means of God’s desire to care for us. Creation is the largest evidence of God’s deep love.
The translation of the Genesis story into English sits at the base of how we come to the place of exploitation of creation. The two words that are used as biblical sanction for the destruction of the environment is the command to subdue the earth and to exercise dominion over creation. While the Hebrew word that we translate as ‘subdue’ does refer to as conquer and control, the word we translate as ‘dominion’ doesn’t mean we can dominate and do with as we please. This Hebrew word includes the ideas of governing and managing…a stewardship function. We are to be stewards and caretakers of creation. Dominion moves us away from a harsh understanding of conquer and control toward one of engaging and understanding creation. Essential, we use the gifts of intellect, curiosity co-creation that God has given us to partner with creation for the benefit of all. We use science and naturally occurring parts of creation for food, medicine and innovation. The moment we seek to exploit creation, we unbalance the whole system which has tragic consequences. We have already begun to see this in the effects of global warming and the disasterous effects of climate change.
A Way of Understanding Our Place
On the sixth day, God created humanity…in the image and likeness of God. This has been the subject of much speculation. It is this statement that has given rise to the image of God as an old man, fatherly figure, which has somehow persists in spite of the idea that ‘male and female’ God created them. The paternalistic images of God have survived this conundrum. And yet this somewhat modern interpretation isn’t consistent with how the ancients understood it. To be made in the image of God is to carry within us the essence of God. We carry God’s capacity to love, God’s ability to create, God’s ability to forgive and God’s love for community. To be created in the likeness of God means that we carry within us the qualities and attributes that empower us to live out the image of God. This means we have the capacity for care, mercy, compassion, love, forgiveness and hope. Since we are made in the image and likeness of God, it is absolutely our responsibility to care for the creation in the same way that God does. Join us online for worship this week as we celebrate the gift of creation and explore what it means for us to care for it in partnership with God.