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God’s Wonderful Creation: an Issue for Our time?
What does Christianity have to do with caring for the environment (even if you don’t consider yourself an environmentalist)?

I’m not an “earthie” or a “greenie” as some have referred to environmentalists. I don’t even think of myself as an environmentalist. I am a Christian, a “Christ follower” as that word literally means, interested in the truths and values taught in the Bible. As a result of my faith and my work, from April 14 to 17 I will have the privilege of participating in an interesting exploration of “Climate Change and Environmental Decline as a Moral Issue.”

In one of two open public meetings I will act as moderator of a panel that will be considering the Old and New Testament instruction to care for all of creation. In sessions for registered participants, I will participate in discourse about effective engagement and reflection on lessons learned from the 200+ year old campaign to abolish the slave trade. (Pitch for the closed sessions: I think you can still get seats for the retreat.)

What does Christianity have to do with caring for the environment (even if you don’t consider yourself an environmentalist)?

When I was a young pastor, my wife and I were privileged to lead children’s camps in Northern British Columbia. What better place to introduce children to the concept of “God’s Wonderful Creation,” as one series of our camps was called. Gloria and I developed the materials for teaching from personal study of the Bible and the camp crafts to be an ongoing reminder related to the experience of a week at Camp Mountainview. “Ever since the creation of the world, God’s eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has created” (Romans 1:20).

God’s creation culminates in His giving life to human beings as a unique part of creation.

I know there are readers of this blog who will either strongly agree or strongly disagree with the preceding sentence, but suspect most will agree with the next one.

Human beings are unique in our ability to enhance or destroy the capacity of all of planet Earth and its inhabitants to continue in existence.

When exploring the opportunity of joining the leadership team at the EFC, I was pleasantly surprised to find the 1995 (updated images for online availability in 2007) publication God’s Earthkeepers. A group of Christian scholars and theologians had come to similar conclusions as the young couple seeking to teach simple truth to children in the early 1980s. The simplicity of God’s Earthkeepers is as profound as the simplicity with which we sought to share the concepts with pre-teens.

Creation points us to its Creator. Human beings are a part of God’s wonderful creation. Men and women, boys and girls, have been entrusted with a special role of care for our world – partly I think because of our capacity to destroy it.

I was a cub scout as a boy and think the Beaver promise sums it up well, “I promise to love God and help take care of the world.”

When the world seems to need more people to help take care of it – whether you accept global warming, global cooling or none of the above – is it a moral issue that requires personal attention? How about congregational, corporate or government attention? Or is it simply a by-product of our existence that we really don’t have time to consider in our busy lives, let alone make any kind of commitment to?

I think it’s worth the conversation. What do you think?

Don Hutchinson is Vice-President, General Legal Counsel with The Evangelical Fellowship of Canadaand Director of the Centre for Faith and Public Life.

The above article may be republished with permission in print publications. For more information contact Gail Reid: reidg@efc-canada.com.   

Originally posted on Friday, April 9, 2010 at the Activate CFPL blog.  

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