Posts belonging to Category Environment

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

Loving God’s World: Christian Faith and the Environment

Nicole at 168 Hours has posted an excellent series on Christian faith and the environment:

I think the answer to how we should view God’s world as Christians can be found in looking at two ways that the Bible teaches us to love the world, and two ways that we are not to love the world (depending on what you mean by ‘world’ and what you mean by ‘love’).

You can read the four articles in the series at the links below.

Two ways we are not to love the world:

  1. The Idolatry of Nature Worship
  2. The Idolatry of Greed

Two ways we are to love the world:

  1. Sharing God’s Delight in the Creation
  2. Loving the People Who Share the Earth with Us


Related posts: God’s Good Creation Series

Animals around the World

The Big Picture celebrates World Animal Day (October 4, 2008) with stunning pictures of animals from all around the world. Here are my two favorites. (You can click on the pictures for larger versions.)

        Polar Bear and Cub | Stuttgart Zoo
Polar Bear and Cub | Stuttgart Zoo

        Common Kingfisher | Bird of the Year 2009
Common Kingfisher | Bird of the Year 2009

Started in Florence Italy in 1931 at a convention of ecologists, World Animal Day has since expanded its focus from its original intent, which was to bring attention to endangered or threatened species. The day is now set aside as a time to reflect on all of the animals we share this world with, and our involvement with them – and to spur action to commemorate that respectful relationship.

Animal Rights, Plant Rights

First there were human rights, then came animal rights, and now there are plant rights. I guess rocks are next.

The most tragic dimension of all this is that a culture increasingly ready to euthanize the old, infanticize the young, and adamant about a “right” to abort unborn human beings, will now contend for the inherent dignity of plants. Can any culture recover from this?

Climate Change Bias at Wikipedia?

Lawrence Solomon at the Financial Post:

As I’m writing this column for the Financial Post, I am simultaneously editing a page on Wikipedia. I am confident that just about everything I write for my column will be available for you to read. I am equally confident that you will be able to read just about nothing that I write for the page on Wikipedia.

Solomon goes on to explain how every time he corrects certain information relating to climate change in Wikipedia, another editor immediately undoes his changes. It is not only a fascinating look at possible climate change bias at Wikipedia, but also a good reminder why Wikipedia is not always a reliable source of information. (HT: Instapundit)

Click here for more posts on the Environment.

Sunday Morning SoundBytes – 1/13/2008

Yesterday’s message in the God’s Good Creation Series was called Our Place in God’s Creation, taken from Psalm 8.

Psalm 8:1-8 – “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.

From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.

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?

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: 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.

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (NIV)

The main idea of the message was that we must first understand man’s place in the universe before we can understand our own individual place in the world. Here is the outline of the message:

What does Palm 8 teach us about our place in God’s creation?

I. God is greater than all (1-2)

    A. God’s name is majestic in all the earth.

    B. God has set his glory above the heavens.

    C. God can silence his enemies even through the praises of little children.

II. The universe is big; we are small (3-4)

    A. The beauty of God’s creation should cause us to worship the Creator.

    B. The vastness of God’s creation should cause us to consider our
        place in the universe.

    C. God’s gracious concern for tiny man in the universe should humble
        and amaze us.

III. God gave us a special place of honor in creation (5-9)

    A. God made man a little lower than the heavenly beings.

    B. God crowned man with glory and honor.

    C. God made man ruler over all creation.

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

Related post: The Size of the Earth Compared to Other Objects in Space

News and Notes – 6/26/2007

Elwood - The World’s Ugliest Dog
World’s ugliest dog. Meet Elwood, the world’s ugliest dog. The 2-year-old Chinese Crested and Chihuahua mix, who placed second in last year’s contest, was crowned the world’s ugliest dog on Friday, June 22. Elwood is also known for his uncanny resemblance to aliens Yoda and ET. “I think he’s the cutest thing that ever lived,” said Elwood’s owner, Karen Quigley. Really? Then why did you enter him in the world’s ugliest dog contest?

Global cooling. From the Canadian Financial Post: “Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth. Beginning to plan for adaptation to such a cool period, one which may continue well beyond one 11-year cycle, as did the Little Ice Age, should be a priority for governments.” Maybe it’s supposed to get hotter before it gets colder? (HT: Instapundit)

Pastor-comedian wanted. A newly forming church in Edmond, OK is looking for a pastor-comedian. “The idea is to use humor and comedy to bring people to Christ. With the right Pastor we plan on becoming a rapidly growing mega church soon. We are thinking the church will be called Comedy Hour and be open Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday mornings.” The only qualification listed under job requirements is “must be very funny.” No, I am not applying.

Time to Go Outside and Play

Today’s Washington Post has an article discussing the lack of outdoor play for many of today’s children:

“Kids don’t think about going outside like they used to, and unless there is some scheduled activity, I don’t think they know what to do outdoors anymore,” Pelzman said.

Pelzman’s view is shared by a growing number of children’s advocates, environmentalists, business executives and political leaders who fear that this might be the first generation of “indoor children,” largely disconnected from nature.

Concerns about long-term consequences — affecting emotional well-being, physical health, learning abilities, environmental consciousness — have spawned a national movement to “leave no child inside.” In recent months, it has been the focus of Capitol Hill hearings, state legislative action, grass-roots projects, a U.S. Forest Service initiative to get more children into the woods and a national effort to promote a “green hour” in each day.

I have seen a number of articles in recent weeks expressing concern about this trend. For example, last week’s Daily Mail had an interesting article tracing the loss of children’s ability to roam over four generations in Sheffield, England. Here is a map showing the difference in “childhood roaming territory” for a great-grandfather, a grandfather, a mother, and her son.

Childhood Roaming Territory for Four Generations

When I was a kid I remember being outside a lot – playing basketball, running around in the woods, riding my bike all over town, fishing, etc. My mother often kicked us out of the house for the whole afternoon until supper time. And then there were many nights playing tag or kick-the-can outdoors after supper.

Why do you think kids today are “getting lost in the great indoors?” Is this a problem? What do kids miss by not spending more time outside?

HT: Instapundit

News and Notes – 5/29/2007

Monster PigBig pig. Talk about bringing home the bacon! 11-year old Jamison Stone shot and killed what may be the biggest pig on record. The Alabama boy was hunting in the woods with his father on May 3 when he came upon the wild pig. The giant boar measured 9 feet 4 inches in length and weighed in at 1,051 pounds. That is even bigger than the famous 800-pound Hogzilla killed in Georgia back in 2004.

Found bees. Remember the vanishing bees story from last month? Well, it looks like they found some of them: in an attic, in a jet engine, and at a fundraiser.

Space trip. Do you want to take a trip into space? Virgin Galactic hopes to start testing it’s space passenger ship in 2008 and begin passenger flights in 2010. Can’t afford the $200,000 price tag? Not to worry. Virgin Galactic’s chief operating officer, Alex Tai, said the costs should drop to $100,000 or even lower in later years.

News and Notes – 5/8/2007

Man throws pie at preacher. Last week it was peanuts – this week it’s a pie. A man was arrested in Colorado Springs on Sunday for disrupting a worship service by throwing a pie at the pastor while he was preaching. The pastor was preaching on the subject of loving your enemies.

Extreme population control. Paul Watson, founder and president of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, calls human beings a virus and recommends dropping the planet’s human population to fewer than one billion. Says Watson, “A virus kills its host and that is exactly what we are doing … We are killing our host the planet Earth.” So, who gets to stay, and who has to go? This is nuts.

Friendship fries. Remember the campaign back in 2003 to start calling French Fries, “Freedom Fries,” in protest of France’s refusal to help with the war against Iraq? Now that France has elected pro-American president, Nicolas Sarkozy, a new campaign has started to rename French Fries, “Friendship Fries.” I’ll just have a burger and fries with that please.

Children – Pollutants, Products or a Blessing?

I ran across a couple of articles discussing children over the weekend. First up, an article from The Australian reporting on a paper from the Optimum Population Trust arguing that children are bad for the environment. The OPT paper suggests that “having large families should be frowned upon as an environmental misdemeanour in the same way as frequent long-haul flights, driving a big car and failing to reuse plastic bags.” According to John Guillebaud, co-chairman of OPT and emeritus professor of family planning at University College London,

The effect on the planet of having one child less is an order of magnitude greater than all these other things we might do, such as switching off lights. The greatest thing anyone in Britain could do to help the future of the planet would be to have one less child.

Meanwhile, Josh Sowin at Fire and Knowledge excerpts some paragraphs from Bill McKibben’s book, Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age. McKibben warns that genetic engineering in the future could cause some parents to begin viewing their children as products rather than people.

[Genetically engineered] children will, in effect, be assigned a goal by their programmers: “intelligence,” “even temper,” “athleticism.”

… Now two possibilities arise. Perhaps the programming doesn’t work very well, and your kid spells poorly, or turns moody, or can’t hit the inside fastball. In the present world, you just tell yourself that’s who he is. But in the coming world, he’ll be, in essence, a defective product. Do you still accept him unconditionally? …

The other outcome—that the genetic engineering works just as you had hoped—seems at least as bad. Now your child is a product … And what can she take pride in? Her good grades? She may have worked hard, but she’ll always know that she was specced for good grades. Her kindness to others? Well, yes, it’s good to be kind—but perhaps it’s not much of an accomplishment once the various genes with some link to sociability have been catalogued and manipulated.

I like God’s perspective on all this so much better. According to the Bible, children are neither pollutants to be controlled nor products to be evaluated; rather, children are a blessing from the Lord to be loved, cared for and raised to know God.

Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. (Psalm 127:3,5)

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)