Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Heavens Declare...

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15-17

I believe we should (attempt to) offer the environment the same degree of care as the Creator gave in creating it, as all creation points to Jesus. A very surface study of biology would reveal the intricate detail, care and balance that our Father took in weaving the fabrics of life, down to the very last quark. I understand that what I am about to write is highly opinionated and not a critical issue… I almost didn’t post this entry, simply because it seems minor in the grand scheme of things… but I guess I just believe in conservationism. You be the judge as to whether what I write is consistent with the Spirit and brings glory to the Father.

What is written below is with the perspective that the world we currently live in will one day be destroyed and replaced by a “new heaven and new earth.” (Isaiah 65:17 and Rev 21:1) It is temporary and is “groaning” in anticipation of the second coming of Christ (Romans 8:19). Also, the end of this present earth or “human life” will not come from environmental decay, pollution or disaster – it will end with Christ’s return. Finally, in my non-scientific opinion, the earth was created with an uncanny ability to “absorb” the byproducts of human industrial “progress.”

However, if a great artist used his expertise to create a masterpiece of beauty, like Van Gogh’s Starry Night, would we not take special consideration when moving, handling or displaying that work? If not out of respect for the artist’s ability, would we not at least care for it out of its perceived or real value to the owner? What greater respect should we have for God’s masterpiece?

You will not see me chained to a redwood or protesting in front of a refinery. However, I believe balanced conservationism may have fallen out of favor as a healthy practice in response to the “Green” movement.

The Green movement claims that humans are the problem, heaping environmental doom upon ourselves as we destroy “Mother Earth.” I admit, humans may be a problem in that we make decisions apart from respect for creation… but the deeper issue, in my opinion, is not the damage to the environment as much as the greedy desires which drive the damage. I guess that takes us back to the Fall, which had a greater impact on the environment than any other event, as it changed weather patterns, introduced death and changed human nature. However, the Green movement often puts the environment over humanity, nearly deifying it. This view of the earth is found in eastern religions and hardcore environmentalists that often consider the creation to be of the same substance as the Creator. You see evidence of this idolatry in activists who willingly endanger human life (even their own!) for animals, to prevent the construction of pollution creating factories or the cutting of forests. Rational people will never willingly give their life for anything unless they consider the act of dying to be critical to preserving (or restoring) something endangered that is of greater value than their future days on earth. (Please consider that statement in view of what Jesus did on the cross.)

In response to this unfortunate misunderstanding of what creation is, the value creation has in pointing to God should not be forgotten. And we have a part in treating this creation with the respect and care of a good steward, even in its (and our) fallen and temporal state. Which, in my opinion, means different things for different people… for the politician and business leader, it means giving wise consideration to renewable sources of energy, for the average citizen, it means recycling and to the church, it means offering and preserving creation as a means of pointing to the Creator. Something as common as a star-filled night has the ability to make anyone wonder if a higher being may exist… a question which can lead to the one true God. I guess I’m trying to convince you that being a conservationist is Christian! All creation points to Jesus!

O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
above the heavens.
From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:1-4)


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