What motivates us for creation care and how does this relate to a biblical view of mission?
In ch. 12 of The Mission of God, Chris Wright gives a missional framework for creation care under the heading, Mission and God’s Earth. The subheadings do a good job of telling the story:
The Earth is the Lord’s
– The goodness of creation (A good creation can only be the work of a good God; Creation is intrinsically good);
– The sanctity (but not divinity) of creation;
– The whole earth as the field of God’s mission and ours;
– God’s glory as the goal of creation;
– God’s redemption of the whole creation
Care of Creation and Christian Mission
– Creation care is an urgent issue in today’s world;
– Creation care flows from love and obedience to God;
– Creation care exercises our priestly and kingly role in relation to the earth;
– Creation care tests our motivation for mission
– Creation care is a prophetic opportunity for the church
– Creation care embodies a biblical balance of compassion and justice
Often our care of creation comes from a sense of responsibility and stewardship, which is both biblical and necessary. But might joy be a spur to action as well?
Texts like the following have a kind of infectious joy about them:
There go the ships, and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it. (Ps. 104:26)
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy,
before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. (Ps. 96:11-13)
Even Yahweh’s speeches in Job depict something of the joy God has in his creation, almost like a parent who never tires of showing pictures of their child.
My point is this: our responsibility towards God’s good creation should motivate us to care for creation, but so should our enjoyment of creation. Or, to put it another way, not just our enjoyment of creation but our joining with creation with its own enjoyment, both in the wonderful ways God has created it/us, but also in the way creation ‘enjoys’ and praises God.
(for more on these ideas of joy and creation see such writers as William Brown, Gordon McConville, and Terence Fretheim).
(This is ‘Green Week’ at Redcliffe. We are giving the care of creation a special emphasis as we consider what we could do more of and less of).