God: committed to creation
To some god is viewed as the 'Divine Watchmaker', god started (wound up) creation then just let it go & moved on. I do think to some degree this was my view of God, that he is very hands off with us and defiantly the rest of creation.
But as you read this chapter you discover that correctly this is not the behaviour of a relational God. How can God walk away from something that he created in love?
God is a sustainer, continuing to uphold, care for and renew his creation.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O Lord, you preserve both man and beast (Psalm 36:6)
The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon. It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter. (Psalm 74:16-17)
God loves this world deeply and is involved with it intimately (page 23)
He is involved because he made the universe in love and continues to uphold it in his love and power (page 24)
We are living in very unstable times with news about the running out of non-renewable resources and natural upheaval (earthquakes, tsunami's, floods, droughts, etc...), it would be so easy to lose hope. Sustainability is the hope that we seek, Dave Bookless refers to sustainability as the new Holy Grail. Which it is, but you can't forget who the sustainer in sustainability is....God. But we still need to play our part, as Christians we can't just sit back, watch and except God to do all the work.
God speaks through two books
- his word (the bible)
- his works (creation)
Through both books we can get a much fuller picture of God then if we focused on just one, a mistake I think alot of people tend to make.
There are a number of example in the bible of God using creation to speak directly with people, an example being the story of Jonah, he was swallowed by a large fish who deposited him where God wanted him to be and where he had been running from.
I think that many churches miss teaching and worshipping based on both of the two books God uses to communicate with, it is time for us to rediscover the joy of simply spending time enjoying and learning from God's world.
Creation : belonging to God
The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it (Psalm 24:1)
I think the message from this passage and this section is quite clear, despite what we have been brought up to believe (even it many churches) the earth belongs to God.
for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the fields are mine. (Psalm 50:10-11)
But God has made an 'arrangement' with us
The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants (Leviticus 25:23)
We are Stewart's & Caretakers
People: part of creation
I think the thing that stood out for me in this section is the statement about our DNA, our 99% shared DNA with apes is not about Creation vs Evolution (yeah!) but our relatedness as creatures before the Creator. Afterall all animals and us were all created on the same day (Genesis 1:24-31)
We were created interdependent with the rest of creation.
People: called apart within creation
Though is is import to recognise that we are apart of creation Dave Bookless does point out that the human species is a very important one, with a unique role to play in creation.
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 care for him? (Psalm 8:3-4)
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. you made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet (Psalm 8:5-6)
Our place in creation is not a right but a gift from God.
Environmentalists often blame Christianity for our current ecological crisis, using Genesis 1: 26-28 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
They argue that Christians believe humans exploit & destroy as they wish. But I think that it is a self-centered human attitude rather than one you can solely blame on Christianity. Though it is pointed out that too often Christians have been so 'other-worldly' as to be of no earthly use.
1. What practical difference does it make to everyday life if we believe either that the earth is God, or that the earth belongs to God?
I think that believing that the earth is a gift as aposed to an entity then we have a greater responsibility towards it. Because it was made for us, we are not just happening to be exsisting ontop of someone.
2. How should the biblical insight that 'the earth is the Lord's and everything in it' (Psalm 24:1) affect attitude to possession and property?
It should make people repect and take more ownership of the earth, especially when through our own actions cause a species to be wiped out or a waterway to be polluted. We are ultimatly renting our little corner of the earth from God and eventually he is going to return and want to do a rental property inspection.
3. Why does Genesis emphasize that humans are made both 'from the dust of the earth' and also 'in the image of God'? What are the implications of each for our realtionship with the rest of creation?
To remind us that we are apart of creation but have a very special purpose as we were choosen by God to be in his image and do his work he on earth. The implications of this is that we can not just 'do what we will' with creation, use and abuse it for our own pleasure and enjoyment, we have a responsibility to look after creation.