In the beginning, God called his creation good. And it still is, but sin led it into serious disrepair...
When humans rebelled against God’s sovereignty and providence in Genesis 3, they didn’t just break their relationship with God and with each other; they broke their connection to creation. They were tasked with protecting and maintaining order on the earth, but instead they invited chaos in.
Today, our relationship with creation is still broken, and as a result we’re living with the environmental consequences: scripture and science converge as we see that humans are capable of influencing nature on the planetary scale - and are mismanaging it in disastrous ways.
But God is working to reconcile this.
He sent his son, Jesus, to undo the sin of Adam and to involve his descendants in making things whole. Through Jesus, God began unraveling the curse that has held all of creation, people and their planet, in bondage. Because of Jesus’ work on the cross, God is reconciling “all things” to himself, things in heaven and on earth (Colossians 1:20).
While nature is not what it was meant to be in the beginning, it is still glorious!
Creation still points people to God’s awesome power and divinity (Romans 1:20). Nature still provides us with gifts (food, fiber, clean air and clean water) and demonstrates God’s love to everyone on earth. Even our understanding of how creation works is a gift: Science and technology are results of the gifts of rationality, curiosity, and creativity. They show that God’s common grace extends not just to those who follow Jesus, but to everyone (Matthew 5:43-48).
He offers forgiveness to all people, despite our betrayal and negligence of him and his creation. And not only does he forgive us, but he offers us our old job back! God’s sense of justice - the way he puts things right - is to put humans back in their place caring for and tending the very things they broke.
In 2 Corinthians, the apostle Paul wrote that God has now given us the task of spreading that reconciliation: we are called to reconcile, transform, and restore.
That is very good news.
Without this hope, the struggle against the climate crisis seems impossible. We wonder if our actions now can make a difference. Is it possible to reverse the changes that have already been set in motion by past pollution? How long will we experience the climate disruptions caused by industry, going back generations? How many more will suffer the costs of global warming? From a political, social, and economic perspective, the reality of the situation is overwhelming.
But thankfully, Christians have an overwhelming hope - our savior is still in the rescue business. Just like in the miracle of feeding the five thousand, Jesus will take what we bring to the problem and magnify its effect.
We are assured that when Christians join together in caring for creation, they can do so from a very Biblical foundation. God’s people in churches all over the world recognize this problem and are responding, not as passive victims but as reconciled reconcilers: changing their lifestyles, serving those in need, calling for justice, praying vigorously, and giving generously.
Jesus is not a distant observer sitting in judgment, hoping we get what we deserve. On the contrary, Jesus is on the move - and he is on our side in the climate crisis. We just need to follow him.