Last week Pastor Andrew looked at the effect of the Fall upon us and how, with death introduced to life, we struggle and suffer. It is not only humanity that suffers. The created order displays the effects of the human Fall. Paul writes, “creation was subjected to futility (Rom 8:20)”, in bondage to decay and corruption. We love the first signs of spring: the early spring sprouting of perennial bulbs, and the budding trees. But our appreciation and longing for spring is set against the dark reality of death. Every year new life comes from our ground only to struggle, just as we do, against time. Our world is not what it was created to be, not only because of the Fall, but also because of our ongoing mishandling of it. For many Christians this raises the question of “creation care”; is there a place in the practice of our faith for environmental concern?
To us, Paul writes the following encouragement: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Rom. 8:18)” And so Pastor Andrew quite rightly concluded last week that there is a glory in our living and dying, if done well, that points to the reality greater than our present suffering – our future union with Christ for which we are made. Likewise, there is a liberated future for creation as well; a renewed, restored future free from its current bondage, and one in which it obtains the “glory of the children of God” (v21).
If God sees fit to glorify himself through us and his creation, does that not inspire us to consider what “living well” looks like now? As Christians, we are to have no other Gods before him; therefore we worship no element of his creation – not ourselves, the earth, or any animal. So we rightly resist the kind of environmentalism that makes an idol of our natural world. However, as those given dominion over the use and care of the earth (Gen. 1:28-29), the way we live in this world ought to bear the marks of its creator. There is a glory coming so brilliant that all of God’s creation will perfectly display his glory, and enjoy the fruit of the consummation of all things in Christ. Lets have all of our lives lived in anticipation of that promised day!