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Grand Rapids, MI

Embarking Blog

...on the journey towards restoration of all things

Stewardship of Creation


creationSo, a guy I know asked me to comment on my thoughts on creation, stewardship, and Christians on facebook.  I did, a little, but here are some good thoughts from Wendell Berry:

The certified Christian seems just as likely as anyone else to join the military-industrial conspiracy to murder creation…The discrepencies I see are between biblical instruction and alledgedly respectable Christian behavior.

If we read the Bible, keeping in mind the desirability of those two survivals - of Christianity and the Creation - we are apt to discover several things…

1) …that we humans do not own the world or any part of it… the landowner is the guest and steward of God.

2) …that God made not only the parts of Creation that we humans understand and approve but all of it…

3) …that God found the world, as He made it, to be good, that He made if for His pleasure, and that He continues to love it and to find it worthy, despite its reduction and corruption by us…

4) …that the Creation is not in any sense independent of the Creator, the result of a primal creative act long over and done with, but is the continuous, constant participation of all creatures in the being of God…

5) …that for these reasons our destruction of nature is not just bad stewardship, or stupid economics, or a betrayal of family responsibility; it is the most horrid blasphemy.  It is flinging God’s gifts into his face… a violence against God.

How can modern Christianity have so solemnly folded its hands while so much of the work of God was and is being destroyed?

I do worry a little about Berry’s language, particularly in point #4 and some things I didn’t quote that he comes quite close to the deification of nature, or a kind of indwelling of God into the natural that can’t be supported very well biblically.  However, I do think that we have pushed the value of creation so low as Christians as to have committed a similary sin - that of not valuing God’s artistic creation as a precious treasure and gift and have instead used, abused, and ruined her.  I do agree with point #5 and think that a holistic understanding of the Scripture (Berry makes apoint I didn’t quote about Gods’ love the world in John 3:16, and interprets that as being wider than humanity) requires a holistic approach to creation, fall, and redemption that includes the created order.

The interesting thing to me about the denegration or devaluing of the importance of the created world by so many of us Christians is that when we do so, and when we raise a personal spirituality devoid of an earthiness and connection to Creation (Eugene Peterson has helped me here) we are more like gnostic dualists that followers of a God who is wide, deep, long, rich, wonderful, diverse, and unified.

(Quotes from Wendell Berry, Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community, “Christianity and the Survival of Creation, “1992-1992, Pantheon books, pp. 94-99)

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