Caring about our world and creation...
Creation Care is a new ministry focus at South Church. As Christians, we are called to increase our appreciation for God’s presence in creation and to recognize the interdependent relationship between humanity and nature, especially as concern for global climate change grows.
We will be working to develop programs and projects that highlight our call to care for creation. The brief article below provides some details on our mandate:
The fundamental mandate for creation care comes from Genesis 2:15, where God places Adam in the garden to "till it and keep it" (NRSV). A better translation from the Hebrew is "to serve it and to preserve it." In Genesis 1:26-28, God blesses humankind with dominion over the earth. This acknowledgement that humanity is the most powerful species on earth does not, however, give license to dominate and exploit the planet. Indeed, the following verses affirm the right of animals to share in the bounty of the earth's produce (Gen 1:29-30)
Human "dominion" as intended in Genesis is best practiced in care for creation, in stewardship, which according to Genesis Noah fulfills best by implementing God's first endangered species act. Moreover, the great creation psalm of the Psalter views humanity as one species among many animal species, all meant to flourish together (Psalm 104:14-23). The psalmist exclaims, “O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures” (v. 24).
Scripture affirms that God created the world in wisdom and out of love, and it is also out of love for the world that God gave Christ to redeem it (John 3:16). In Christ “all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17), and “every creature under heaven” is to receive God’s good news (v. 23). According to Revelation, God’s work in the world is “make all things new” (21:5), to bring about a new creation that does not destroy the old but transforms it, renews it. If the church is the sign of the new creation, then the church must lead the way in caring for creation.
- William P. Brown, William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary