Monday, February 09, 2009

Christians In Conservation



Husband and wife team Daniel and Melissa were in CDPC recently to introduce their work in A Rocha, a conservation organisation with a Christian ethos. It is presently (2008) in 18 countries worldwide, where it undertakes scientific studies, and engages communities in conservation work and environmental education. I'm happy that some church member(s) who have read Total Truth were inspired to explore this ministry.

Why Christians in conservation?
There are at least four good reasons for Christians to be involved in conservation.

Love
Christians believe that God made the world. When we make something, whether it be as life-changing as giving birth, or as quick as sketching a picture, we care about what happens to our creation. So it's easy for us to understand that God cares deeply about all his creation. The Bible makes this clear in many passages, e.g. Psalm 50, verses 10 & 11, where God says "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 field are mine." Studying, thankfully enjoying and caring for the world that God has so wonderfully made is an obvious way for us to show our love for him.

Obedience
Christians are called to obey God in every part of their lives. In the Bible, we find that the first wish expressed by God, concerning men and women, was that they would 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" in a way that reflects his own image. Not just his power, but his unselfish love, mercy and tender compassion. Tragically, because we are human, and sinful, our rule has often been characterised by cruelty, greed and short-sightedness, but this was clearly not God's intention. If we desire to obey God, then we must look for ways in which we can be good and responsible stewards of the natural world.

Justice
The environment is an issue of justice. Often it is the poor who suffer first when the environment is damaged.

Hope
Those who care about the environment can easily become depressed. The news is so often profoundly disturbing: the destruction of forests, the disintegration of coral reefs, the extinction of species, over-fishing, global warming and a multitude of other disasters and gloomy forecasts can cause us to wonder if there is any point in even trying to take action. But the Bible provides much-needed grounds for hope. The Old Testament prophets Isaiah and Hosea foretell a time of human and environmental harmony. In the New Testament, Jesus is described not just as the Saviour of fallen mankind, but as the one for whom all creation was made - and as the one through whom all creation will one day "be liberated from its bondage to decay" (Colossians 1, verses 15-17; Romans 8, verses 19-23). We do not know how all this will be accomplished, but we are given motivation and hope. We can be sure that the Almighty God who created and sustains his world wants all his people to be actively involved in his great plan to redeem the whole of creation.

This is just a brief introduction to the biblical basis of A Rocha's work.

6 comments:

PuritanReformed said...

"to redeem the whole of creation."

Where is that found in Scripture?

The Hedonese said...

The Bible says the whole of creation is looking forward to the redemption that will occur when God, through Christ renews all things and puts all things under the sovereignty of the Father :)

Romans 8:18-23
"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies."

PuritanReformed said...

Dave,

that is talking about what God will do. I was wondering if you have a verse that tells us as Christians to "redeem the whole of creation".

The Hedonese said...

Well, that's like saying 'redeeming souls' is something God will do!

And indeed, yes, and how glorious is that truth that God is the one who will redeem souls. But that truth does not negate the truth that Christians have a responsibility to evangelise hehehe

In the same logic, redeeming whole creation is what God will do (not just part of creation called the soul, but the body as well! And the earth...)

But that is hardly a good argument against the Christian's responsibilty to care for creation that God has made :)

PuritanReformed said...

Dave:

I guess the idea is not creation care vs non creation care. It's about the concept of "redeeming creation". Are you interpreting that phrase to have the same meaning as "creation care"? Since the very concept of redemption implies payment of a debt, what debt may I ask are we paying to liberate creation?

The Hedonese said...

Helo Daniel, so we are both zealous about creation care, i guess? Glad there is commonality here

Again the analogy of 'redeeming souls' is helpful in 'redeeming creation'. Let's take 'redemption' to mean 'paying a debt'.

Christ has won the victory and paid the debt on the cross, of course. That is the basis for the forgiveness of sins and the renewal of heaven and earth. So we dun have to die on the cross any more if that's wat ur asking :)

Now since it is Christ's job to pay the debt on the cross, does that mean we can fold up our hands and do nothing? Well no, the church gotta roll up her sleeves and get down to the work of caring for creation and evangelising. And that involves some measure of suffering, sacrifice and tears and blood sometimes. :D

At least thats how I see it