God 'Making All Things New' Doesnt Mean Christians Can Ignore the Environment | RELEVANT Magazine https://chrisonet.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/God-Making-All-Things-New-Doesnt-Mean-Christians-Can-Ignore.jpg
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It was an ideal Saturday afternoon: cloudless sky, 72 levels, and a clear breeze blowing throughout the mountaintop the place my husband Matthew and I sat on a bench, having fun with the view.  

Just a few yards away from us, a household was picnickingthree youngsters with their mother and father. In between ripples of good-natured teasing and laughter, the son, about Eight years outdated, leaned comfortably towards his dad whereas being quizzed on Bible verses. The child knew his stuff, and his father was clearly happy with him.

My husband made a pleasant remark and started to speak with the dad. After the preliminary introductions, the dialog shortly turned to scripture and issues of religion. Matthew all the time welcomes an attractive theological dialogue and was delighted to have crossed paths with such an clever and devoted believer.

When requested what had introduced us to this mountaintop retreat middle, Matthew briefly advised him about our creation care ministry, Blessed Earth.  The dialog stalled for a minute.  Then, in a well-meaning tone, the daddy posed an all-too-familiar query: If Revelation says its all going to expend in the long run, why ought to Christians care?

Discovering widespread floor

Whereas touring the nation, weve encountered many variations of this its all going to burn anyway query. Does Gods making all issues new imply Christians can ignore the surroundings? If have been in the end made for heaven, why fear in regards to the earth?  Arent there extra vital issues to do, like bringing individuals to Christ? 

Such questions can simply turn into divisive. A radio host just lately opened his interview with my husband as follows: After I consider environmentalists, I image long-haired, Birkenstock sporting hippies who rant about recycling and world warming. What do it’s a must to say about this, Dr. Sleeth? 

Loads, truly, however not what the interviewer might have been anticipating. 

As an alternative of taking the bait, we give attention to the biblical name to be clever stewards of Gods giftsa worth we share. Quite than getting polarized by politics, we search for widespread floor.

The person on the retreat middle went on to say that he owns lots of of books on the top instances. Between our house and workplace libraries, we most likely have about as many books on creation care. As believers in Christ, nevertheless, we have now a lot that we are able to agree upon:  love, sacrifice, compassion, hope, pleasure, grace, redemption, reconciliation, and renewal are values that bind us collectively. 

Under are some responses that we have now discovered useful when partaking in conversations with our bothers and sisters in Christ, whooften due to what they’ve heard on radio or in political arenasinitially could also be skeptical in regards to the name to take care of the surroundings:

Revelation tells us its all going to expend in the long run, so why hassle taking good care of nature?

The reply to this seemingly logical query is definitely fairly simplebecause the earth belongs to God and he advised us to guard it. 

First, think about the difficulty of possession. Scripture unequivocally states that God owns all of creation. The earth is the Lords, and all the pieces in it, says Psalm 24:1.  In Job 41:11 God declares, All the pieces beneath heaven belongs to me. The Apostle Paul tells us that all the pieces was created by Christ and for him (Colossians 1:15-16). The earth doesn’t belong to us, however to Goda precept that permeates all of scripture, from Genesis to Revelation.

Since we reside on earth with out declare to possession, we’re subsequently tenants on Gods land. As tenants, we do not need the proper to behave towards the earth in no matter method we want. Quite, we have now an obligation to deal with the land with the correct quantity of respect as a consequence of its proprietor.

Why hassle taking good care of nature? As a result of it belongs to God.

Second, not solely does the earth belong to God, however he additionally has given us the accountability of taking good care of it. Actually, one of many first jobs he provides humanity is to have a tendency and defend the earth (Genesis 2:15).  This can be a command, not a suggestion; it has no expiration date and remains to be in full impact.

However the story doesn’t finish in Genesis. Earlier than coming into the Promised Land, the Israelites are advised that they’re to supply for the redemption of the land (Leviticus 25:23-24), thus demonstrating the inherent worth God locations on the pure world. Likewise, Jesus himself warns his listeners to be devoted with what has been entrusted to them (Luke 16) and states that God cares when even a single sparrow falls to the bottom (Matthew 10:29). Our function towards Gods creation is that of caretakers. 

Why hassle taking good care of nature?  As a result of God tells us to. 

Didnt God give us dominion over the earth?

Sure, God gave us dominion, however dominion shouldn’t be confused with license.  Dominion implies nice accountability. We give academics dominion over our youngsters after we ship them to highschool, however we might not be happy if on the finish of the day our youngsters got here house ignorant, battered, and bruised. The identical precept applies to dominion over the earth; when God gave us dominion over the earth, he didn’t intend for us to destroy his creation. As Gods appointed stewards, we are able to use pure assets, however not abuse them.

Suppose you borrowed a automotive from God. Would you wish to return it with cigarette butts within the ashtray, dents within the bumper, and an empty fuel tank? Just like the automotive, the earth is on mortgage to us. We’re to go it on to future generations in pretty much as good or higher form than we acquired it.

Furthermore, God created the bodily earth to maintain all life, not simply people.  On the renewed earth, God particularly guarantees to maintain all creatures, nice and small: In that day I’ll make a covenant for them with the beasts of the sector, the birds within the sky and the creatures that transfer alongside the bottom (Hosea 2:18).

Sure, we have been created in Gods picture, and sure, we got particular duties.  Nonetheless, dominion shouldn’t be synonymous with domination. Domination results in reckless consumption; dominion results in clever management.

If we already know the earth goes to burn, why not hasten the top?

Nobody is aware of precisely when the top instances will come, not even Jesus. (Matthew 24:35-37). Till then, we’re all referred to as to do Gods work. And an vital a part of Gods work is abat and shamar, tending and defending the earth he positioned in our care.

The prophet Amos explicitly warns us:

Woe to all of you who need Gods Judgment Day!

 Why would you wish to see God, need Him to return?

When God comes, it will likely be dangerous information earlier than its excellent news,

 The worst of instances, not the most effective of instances.

(Amos 5-18-19, The Message)

The misguided want to hasten the top instances surfaced one afternoon when a brand new good friend invited Matthew and me to lunch. Our host, a loyal father, cherished his teenaged daughter however deeply regretted that she didn’t have a relationship with Jesus. But, a number of instances the person additionally acknowledged that he prayed Christ would return tomorrow.   

Matthew and I have been each puzzled by this blended message: As mother and father, wouldnt we wish extra time, not much less, for Christ to open our childs coronary heart? Shouldnt we pray that, in Gods infinite mercy and beauty, the top instances are delayed till these we love know Jesus? And shouldnt we wish to lengthen, not finish, alternatives for individuals world wide to satisfy their Savior?

Within the 16th century, Martin Luther, the daddy of Protestantism, as soon as gave a transferring sermon in regards to the finish instances. His congregation was so affected that all of them went house and fed the sick, clothed the poor, and opened their tables to the homeless. When the congregants got here again to report what they’d carried out, they have been astounded to seek out Martin Luther planting a tree.

Why are you bothering to plant a tree when the top instances are coming? they requested.

I’m doing precisely what I need my Father to seek out me doing, Martin Luther replied.

Like Martin Luther, all of us ought to be constructing the Kingdom, not destroying it, up till the final second of our private and collective finish instances. Dwell like Judgment Day is coming tomorrow, however pray that we’re given as a lot time as potential to share Jesus with the world.

No matter when the top instances come, no human has the proper to needlessly destroy or mar something that God has created. Actually, the creator of Revelation declares that God will destroy those that destroy the earth (Revelation 11:18). Solely God is aware of the day and the hour of his return.  Solely God is aware of the style through which he intends to create the brand new earth.  It’s not our place to hasten these occasions by destruction, however to present life (Matthew 24:14). We’re to lovingly and faithfully take care of what He has made till He decides to present us a brand new function within the new earthHis everlasting, perfected creation.

As Christians, shouldnt we be involved with religious, not bodily, issues?

This query shortly results in a false dichotomy. Bodily and religious issues usually are not mutually unique; reasonably, they’re interdependent.

For instance, God gave every of us a bodily physique. That physique is a temple that have to be handled with respect. You aren’t your individual; you have been purchased at a value.  Due to this fact honor God along with your physique” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

On a really sensible degree, correct take care of our our bodies requires us to additionally take care of the earth. God gave us clear water, clear air, and wholesome soil. If we wish to be good stewards of our our bodies, we may also must be good stewards of the bodily components that maintain life. 

Wont all the pieces be renewed after the rapture anyway?

Completely! Revelation 21:1 and Acts 3:21 state that God intends to resume all issues. This message is strengthened in Colossians 1:20, after we are advised that God intends to reconcile himself to all issues. Paul says in Romans 8:20-21, “For the creation was subjected to frustrationin hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”

Everythingincluding mountains, seas, flowers, bees, you, and mewill be renewed. That is excellent news, certainly!

In Revelation 21:5, God declares, I’m making all issues new! This disclosure reveals an vital actuality in regards to the new earth.  God intends to make all issues new; he doesn’t plan to make all new issues. Revelation 21:5 additionally offers route on methods to work together with the pure world previous to Gods renewal. As a result of God is making all issues new, we get the respect of collaborating on this renewal course of by defending his earth now. We’re not passive spectators to Gods cosmic design of a renewed Eden. Quite the opposite, we play a vital function in Gods plan. This sample displays some of the widespread narratives all through scripturethat of God utilizing people to be his fingers and toes in engaging in his functions on this world.

Not solely will all the pieces finally be renewed, however the Bible makes clear that even now God is actively sustaining all issues. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the precise illustration of his being, sustaining all issues by his {powerful} phrase (Hebrews 1:3).  Likewise, Paul tells us, [Jesus] is earlier than all issues, and in Him all issues maintain collectively (Colossians 1:17). If God is even now sustaining his creation, then undoubtedly the earth holds inherent worth and is worthy of safety. God presently sustains the earth, in the end plans to resume it, and longs to make use of us within the course of. 

Arent we imagined to be anxious about saving souls, not saving whales? 

There is no such thing as a better trigger for rejoicing than when a misplaced soul involves Christ. The Nice Commissions name to share the gospel with all nations is totally central to the Christian religion and ought to be part of the life of each believer. Evangelism, nevertheless, just isn’t the solely calling of Christians; the chief finish of humanityand all of creationis to glorify God.

Scripture is evident that Gods creation brings him glory. Psalm 96:11-13 says, “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad, let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; they will sing before the Lord.” This resounding refrain of reward comes not from human voices however from the pure world and is indicative of a world alive with Gods glory.  Elsewhere in scripture, we see worship coming from the solar, moon, stars, rocks, water, fish, lightning, hail, snow, clouds, storms, mountains, hills, cattle, animals, fields, and extra. Like people, they have been created by God to convey him glory.  And whereas it’s true that people alone are created within the picture of God, this doesn’t diminish the worship that Gods different creations convey to him. The heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1). 

Defending Gods creation additionally preserves a major technique to find out about Gods character.  Paul declares in Romans 1:20 that “ever since the creation of the world, [Gods] eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse.” Right here Paul is making the case that Gods creation serves as an avenue for individuals to find God.

The ebook of Job explicitly tells us to ask the animals, and they’ll train you, or the birds of the air, and they’ll let you know; or converse to the earth, and it’ll train you, or let the fish of the ocean inform you. Which of those doesn’t know that the hand of the Lord has carried out this? (Job 12:7-10). Countering our human tendency towards hubris, this passage proclaims that the pure world can provide us religious perception. If nature holds religious worth in Gods eye, we ought to be actively defending these sources of religious instruction. 

Sadly, the world may be very clear on what Christians are towards, however fuzzy on what we’re for. The notion that Christians dont care about air pollution, species extinction, and the social and human well being penalties of land degradation can in the end drive individuals away from Christ. For instance, we have now heard individuals say they don’t perceive how Christians can say they love the Creator however not present respect for his creation. Thus, our failure to take a management function in defending the earth has turn into, for some, a stumbling block to figuring out God. This downside is exacerbated when political pundits reasonably than scripture turns into our supply of knowledge.

In follow, creation care opens new doorways for sharing Christs love. My husband and I’ve been invited to speak about Jesus in sudden locations, together with Nationwide Public Radio applications, school auditoriums, and environmental conferences. At any time when potential, we give away free Bibles to those that dont personal one, enabling seekers to be taught extra in regards to the scriptural name to take care of the earth.

Actually, we discover that its counterproductive to show this into an both/or equation. We will and ought to be involved with telling others about Christ whereas additionally caring for his creation.  Each callings are based mostly on the identical motivation: loving God and loving our world neighbors, together with future generations.

Shouldnt we be anxious about saving souls? Completely! However we must also work to guard Gods creation, or we might lose the chance to avoid wasting any souls. 

Now, our query for you

As soon as we reply to queries like these above, we regularly prefer to ask a query of our personal, which my husband first posed to a skeptical viewers: If you happen to imagine in an omnipotent God, as we do, and the one goal of life is to get into heaven, then why didnt God simply have us born in heaven?  Why have been we born on earth?

The reply, in fact, is that life on earth issues.  What we do on earth issues.  God created the earth and cares for it.  He referred to as it good and gave us the accountability to take care of it.  After we take care of the earth, we’re collaborating within the work of God.

Life just isn’t merely preparation for heaven; it’s also a chance for us to place heavenly rules into follow right here on earth. God likes to redeem, restore, and renew, and he longs to contain us within the course of. God created us on earth as a result of it is a place the place we are able to actively take part in his work of redemption.

A centerpiece of our religion is the resurrection of Christ. Jesus lives, right here and now, and we’re already collaborating within the first fruits of the brand new creation. 

Again on the mountaintop

Again on the retreat middle, the solar was getting hotter and the children have been starting to get stressed, so my husband and his new good friend wrapped up their dialog with heat needs on each side. As the kids gathered up the picnic utensils, their father requested the place Matthew was preaching the following daya certain signal that the dialogue had remained not solely civil however gratifying on each side. Although our beginning factors might have appeared fairly completely different on the floor, our shared perception in Jesus and the first function of scripture in our day by day lives allowed every to hear, to be taught, andultimatelyto love each other.

Till we meet once more, brother, Matthew stated in parting.

The person prolonged his hand. Sure, we shall meet once more.

Matthew and I headed again to our cabin. Earlier than we settled in for a scrumptious afternoon nap, my final waking thought was on earth as it’s in heaven. Sooner or later, God will use fireplace to purify the earth, and all of the nations shall be healed within the shade of the Tree of Life, watered by an unpolluted river. And it will likely be very, excellent

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