Posts belonging to Category Creation

Rulership and Responsibility for Creation

Today is Earth Day with an emphasis on the environment. I prefer to think of environmental concerns as care for creation. God gave human beings both rulership over creation and responsibility for creation. Both are necessary to keep a proper perspective on “green” living and stewardship of the planet.

Here is an excerpt from a sermon on Psalm 8 that discusses these issues more fully. You can read the full text of the message here: Our Place in Creation.


God made man ruler over all creation. As David writes in Psalm 8: “You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.” (Psalm 8:6-8) God made man the ruler over all creation – over all the animals on the ground, over all the birds in the air, over all the fish of the sea.

Does that mean that man can do whatever he wants with creation? The answer is no, because as image bearers of God, our rule over the created world should reflect God’s wise rule over his creation.

We read in Genesis 2:15: “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” The verbs here are very significant. The word translated “work” is the Hebrew word for “serve.” The word translated “take care” is a word that means “to keep, to guard, to watch over and protect.” In other words, man is not to be a tyrant ruler over creation, but a servant leader over creation. God gave man the stewardship of the earth, to serve the land and take care of it under God’s care. God gave man both rulership and responsibility.

This is where so many groups get it wrong concerning the environment today. When it comes to the creation, God gave man both rulership and responsibility. If you leave out one or the other, you are going to be out of balance. If you leave out responsibility, you get the view that the world is ours to do with as we please and so it is okay if we trash it. That is not a biblical view of the environment. If you leave out rulership, then you get the view that man is on the same level as the rest of creation. This is not a biblical view of the environment either. This view gives just as much importance to a spotted frog as to a new-born baby. And that’s just not right.

An even more extreme version of this view would be the type of environmentalism that worships the planet instead of God who created the planet. In this extreme, the planet actually rules over man, instead of man ruling over the planet. Notice we are not to worship the earth but to take care of it. The Christian cares for the earth because God created it, and because God gave us the responsibility to take care of it. And that is where Christian environmentalism is so radically different from much environmentalism today

It is important to note that these final verses in Psalm 8 are applied specifically to Jesus in the New Testament. (see 1 Corinthians 15:24-27; Hebrews 2:5-9) We have been crippled in our attempts to fulfill our rightful place in the world because of sin. But Jesus came as the perfect Son of God and perfect son of man to deliver us from sin and to lead us one day to our rightful place as rulers over all creation. Jesus came to restore the creation to its original glory and then give it all back to us. This time we will do it right. This time we will be faithful stewards of God’s creation, rejoicing in the gifts of creation and returning those gifts in thanksgiving and praise back to God. That in fact is your individual place in this world – using the gifts that God has given you to serve God in this world and to bring him glory.

Related posts:
    • The Size of the Earth Compared to Other Objects in Space
    • God’s Good Creation Series

A Timely Reminder for Earth Day


A timely reminder for earth day today:

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters. (Psalm 24:1-2)

Note: Click here for more pictures of our beautiful planet from the Big Picture.

Related post: Knowing God through His Creation

Where did people come from?

A little girl asked her father, “Daddy, where did people come from?”

He answered, “God created the first man and woman, then they had children, and that’s where we came from.”

“Okay,” she said, and went off to find her mother. “Mommy,” she asked, “where did people come from?”

Her mother answered, “Well, there were these monkeys, and over time they changed into people, and that’s where we came from.”

The little girl went back to her father. “Daddy, I’m confused. You say God created us, and Mommy says we came from monkeys. I don’t understand.”

Her father replied, “Honey, it’s simple. Let me explain it to you. Your mother was telling you about her side of the family.”

(heard at a conference last weekend)

Autumn Colors

So, how are the fall colors where you live?

Autumn Leaves in Quebec
                      (Click on the picture for the “big” version.)

Autumn forest in the region of Charlevoix, Quebec, Canada. The hills of the Charlevoix region along the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec province are dominated by a mixed forest of deciduous trees and conifers. (© Yann Arthus-Bertrand; From The Big Picture: Earth From Above)

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Related post: Some Gerard Manley Hopkins Poems for Fall

Francis Turretin on Beauty and Order in the Universe

17th century theologian Francis Turretin wrote eloquently about the beauty and order of the universe long before the Intelligent Design movement:

[He] is blind who does not see the most beautiful order everywhere and most wicked who does not acknowledge it. There is a suitable disposition of parts, so constant a concord of things so discordant, so harmonious an agreement and consent of creatures the most diverse, so swift and at the same time equable motion of the heavenly bodies and so immutable a stability and constancy of the order once established. So not only do the heavens declare the glory of God, but every blade of grass and flower in the field, every pebble on the shore and every shell in the ocean proclaim not only his power and goodness, but also his manifold wisdom, so near each one that even by feeling, God can be found.

Source: Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, vol. 1, trans. George Musgrave Geiger, ed. James T. Dennison, Jr. (Philipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1994), 171-172. (HT: Kairos Journal)

The Bible is to Theology as Creation is to Science

I found the following diagram helpful in understanding the tensions that sometimes exist between science and Biblical faith.

                            Bible:theology :: Creation:science
              (The Bible is to theology as creation is to science)

The diagram distinguishes between: 1) Scripture and theology, and 2) creation and science. Scripture is God’s Word and therefore free from error. The physical creation is God’s work and therefore will never be in conflict with God’s word. However, theology is man’s study of Scripture, just as science is man’s study of creation. As such, theology and science are both susceptible to error and can be in conflict with each other.

Thus when science and theology conflict, we should not rush to judgment about which side is wrong. Rather we should continue to test our theology against the evidence of Scripture and our science against the evidence of the physical world. When we get our theology and science correct, there will be no conflict between the two.

I like this model because it affirms:
    1) the truth of God’s word,
    2) the order of God’s world, and
    3) the value of both theological and scientific endeavor.

Note: The diagram comes from David Heddle, associate professor of physics at Christopher Newport University. Heddle is currently teaching a Sunday School class on science and faith at Grace Baptist Chapel in Hampton, VA. He is posting his weekly notes online at GBC Sunday School. You can find an outline of the series here.

Related post: God’s Providence and Scientific Investigation

Intelligent Design 3-DVD Set

Interested in learning more about intelligent design? Campus Crusade is offering the following three DVDs exploring intelligent design as a set for $29.95 (sale ends June 30th). I ordered these last week and received them in the mail yesterday. I was going to wait to post until I had viewed them, but the sale ends this month and I don’t know when I will get to them. Here are video clip previews for each of the DVDs.

Unlocking the Mystery of Life

Unlocking the Mystery of Life transports you into the interior of the living cell to explore systems and machines that bear the unmistakable hallmarks of design. Discover the intricacy of a microscopic bacterial rotary motor, which spins at 100,000 rpm. Within the nucleus explore the wonder of DNA, a thread-like molecule that stores instructions to build the essential components of every living organism. It is part of a biological information processing system more complex and more powerful than any computer network.

The Privileged Planet

We now know that a rare and finely tuned array of factors makes Earth suitable for complex life. We depend on our planet’s oxygen-rich atmosphere, its large moon, its planetary neighbors, and its precise location within the solar system and Milky Way galaxy. But the story does not end here. For the same factors that make a planet like Earth hospitable to life also provide the best conditions for scientific discovery.

The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel

In The Case for a Creator DVD, Strobel re-examines the theories that once led him away from God. Highlighted by spectacular computer animation, The Case for a Creator DVD is a remarkable film in which you’ll encounter the mind-stretching discoveries from cosmology, cellular biology, DNA research, astronomy, physics, and human consciousness.

HT: Between Two Worlds

God’s Good Creation Series

I just recently finished preaching through a series of messages on God’s Good Creation.   Here are some of the questions we addressed in the series:

    1) What does it mean that God created all things good?
    2) What is our place in this world?
    3) How do the fall and mankind’s sin affect creation?
    4) As Christians, how should we view environmental concerns?
    5) How can we know God better though his creation?
    6) How can we use our creative gifts for God’s glory?

These are all questions relating to creational theology, which is an important part of God’s teaching to us in the Bible. Here are the links to the messages if you would like to explore any of these questions further.

God’s Good Creation Series

  1. God’s Good Creation – Genesis 1
        (or click here for a summary)
  2. Our Place in God’s Creation – Psalm 8
        (or click here for a summary)
  3. Knowing God through His Creation – Psalm 19
        (or click here for a summary)
  4. God’s Good Gift of Creativity – Exodus 31
        (or click here for a summary)

Sunday Morning SoundBytes – 1/20/2008

Yesterday’s message in the God’s Good Creation Series was called Knowing God through His Creation, taken from Psalm 19:1-6.

Psalm 19:1-6: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat. (NIV)

The main idea of the message was that all of creation testifies to God’s goodness and glory. Here is the outline of the message:

I. God’s creation declares his glory. (1-2)
    A. The heavens speak forth the praises of God.
    B. The heavens reveal knowledge of God to man.
    C. God’s testimony to himself in creation is unmistakable.
        1) It is continuous.
        2) It is abundant.
        3) It is universal.

II. God’s creation speaks to all people everywhere. (3-4)
    A. There is no language barrier – it is understood by all.
    B. There is no volume barrier – it is heard by all.
    C. There is no distance barrier – it is given to all.

III. The sun is an example of God’s revelation in creation. (5-6)
    A. The sun is seen by all on earth.
        1) The sun is like a groom coming out of his chamber.
        2) The sun is like a champion running his race.

    B. The sun serves all who live on earth.
        1) It provides light and heat for everyone.
        2) It testifies to a good and powerful and gracious God.

Two warnings, one reminder, one action point:
    1) Do not mistake nature for God.
    2) Do not mistake nature for Christ.
    3) Remember that the present creation is distorted by sin.
    4) Learn to know and enjoy God through his creation.

Note: To read the complete message, go to the Sermons tab at the top of the blog.

Albert Einstein on the Evidence of a Creator

Albert Einstein’s response when asked by an interviewer if he was an atheist:

Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)“I’m not an atheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws.” (First published as “What Life Means to Einstein,” Saturday Evening Post, October 26, 1929. Quoted in Walter Isaacson, Einstein: His Life and Universe; New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007, p. 386.)

Source: Kairos Journal (subscription required)

The Size of the Earth Compared to Other Objects in Space

Here are some great pictures showing the size of the earth in comparison to other objects in space. I shared these in church yesterday as part of a sermon on Psalm 8. You can click on the pictures to see a larger version.

“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 you care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4)

1. Earth compared to the smaller planets (Venus, Mars, Mercury and Pluto):

Earth compared to smaller planets (Venus, Mars, Mercury and Pluto)

2. Earth compared to the larger planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune):

Earth compared to larger planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune)

3. The larger planets compared to the Sun:

The larger planets compared to the Sun

4. Our Sun compared to Sirius, Pollux and Arcturus:

Our Sun compared to Sirius, Pollux and Arcturus

5. Sirius, Pollux and Arcturus compared to Rigel, Aldebaran, Antares
    and Betelgeuse:

Sirius, Pollux and Arcturus compared to Rigel, Aldebaran, Antares, and Betelgeuse

                     Recommended Books on Astronomy


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Sunday Morning SoundBytes – 1/6/2008

Yesterday we began a new message series called God’s Good Creation. Yesterday’s message was called God’s Good Creation and was taken from Genesis 1:1, 31; 2:1-3.

Genesis 1:1, 31; 2:1-3 – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth …

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning — the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

The main idea of the message was that we must understand our beginnings if we are to rightly understand how we are to live today. Here is the outline of the message:

I. It all starts with God (Genesis 1:1a)
    A. Three philosophical choices
        1) God has always existed
        2) The universe has always existed
        3) Something came from nothing

    B. One biblical choice

II. God created all things (Genesis 1:1b)
    A. God is prior to creation
    B. God is separate from creation
    C. God is over all creation

III. God created all things good (Genesis 1:31-2:3)
    A. God brought order in creation
    B. God approved his work of creation
    C. God completed his work of creation

Note: To read the complete message, go to the Sermons tab at the top of the blog.