I thought I had a big essay due in today, but I got my dates totally mixed up and in fact I had a smaller assessment due in. The assessment was to write a ‘Personal Theology of Care of Creation’ in 500 words. I actually enjoyed doing this, I liked thinking it through and deciphering what I considered essential enough to be apart of a statement of my personal theology. Because I had only limited time to do this in (my fault) it feels a little bit like a work in progress, but I think all theology (or understanding thereof) is a work in progress to some degree or another. So this is it…
We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.
He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.
(Colossians 1: 15-20, The Message)
Personal Theology of Care of Creation
I recognise and acknowledge God as the Creator. God has a constant and intimate involvement with the earth (Psalm 104). God has concern for all creation and has made a lasting covenant with the whole earth (Gen. 9:9-17). God loves the world (John 3:16-17).
All living creatures have inherent value for they have been created by God.
My concern for the environment is founded on my relationship with God the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of the earth and His mandate to humanity to care for creation (Gen 2:15; Psalm 24:1-2).
I believe that a biblical understanding of care of creation leads to an active involvement regarding environmental concerns.
Sin has damaged not only the relationship between humanity and non-human creation, but has injured creation itself (Romans 8:19-23).
The bible describes God’s plan of salvation to include the whole of creation, not humanity alone. Christ will return to restore the whole of creation to God (Col 1:20). Salvation includes the social, political, economic and ecological state of the earth.
Through the Holy Spirit we are ambassadors of Christ’s redemption to all of creation.
Care of creation has its foundation in soteriology, which clearly proclaims Christs cosmic salvation work on the cross.
Considering the Scriptures, I believe that Christ’s universal work of redemption affirms that any care of creation activity has salvation consequences.
I believe humanity is the imago Dei and therefore God’s ‘vice-regents’ on earth to care and nurture the earth as God does (Gen. 1:27).
I believe stewardship is the responsibility to care for the world wisely and conscientiously (Gen 1:26-30). Stewardship is a response to the biblical mandate to care for, cultivate and govern the earth on behalf of God.
Humanity is not the pivotal focus of creation: God the Creator is. All creation, including humanity, is called to worship the Creator (Psalm 148).
The current environmental crisis suggests that Christianity has neglected their stewardship role, partly due to an anthropocentric reading of the Scriptures and understanding of salvation. We have wrongfully assumed that creation exists for our own consumption rather than for God’s glory.
I believe Christians must repent of neglecting our biblical mandate to care for the earth.
I believe that Christian mission must declare and acknowledge God’s cosmic salvation purposes.
We must care about environmental issues because we are called to love our neighbours and to protect and care for the poor and oppressed (Matt. 7:12, Matt. 22:34-40, Matt. 25:31-46).
I believe in proactively supporting fair-trade and environmental sustainable products and resources.
I believe in using my ‘vote’ to influence governing bodies to address poverty and injustice, and to implement environmentally sustainable policies.
I believe that reconciliation is central to the call of the church and this must include the relationship of humanity with the non-human creation.
Care of creation must become central to Christian identity and experience, and ecclesial practise.
The current environmental crisis may require local church’s to change the manner and content of their salvation stories to include the biblical mandate to care for the earth. Christians have a mission to the earth.
The church must move away from consumerism and be an example of sustainability and environmental concern.