Session one looks at the goodness of creation and our vocation to care for it.
This Classroom episode is on Creation Care, a critically important aspect for the global church and mission. Stewardship of God’s creation (creation care) is a clear biblical command and an integral part of what it means to follow Jesus as Lord. “If Jesus is Lord of all the earth, we cannot separate our relationship to Christ from how we act in relation to the earth. For to proclaim the gospel that says ‘Jesus is Lord’ is to proclaim the gospel that includes the earth, since Christ’s Lordship is over all creation. Creation care is thus a gospel issue within the Lordship of Christ.” (The Cape Town Commitment I-7-A). But that’s not all: God’s creation is in the midst of a crisis that is ‘pressing, urgent, and that must be resolved in our generation’ (Jamaica Call to Action). This crisis, of which climate change and massive biodiversity loss are just a part, represents an existential threat to the future of human society. This Global Classroom helps fulfil the goal of engaging the church in various aspects of creation care, and seeks to inspire young leaders, established leaders, churches, organizations, and movements to understand the importance of creation care in all their ventures.
Take a moment to pause. Write down or share your reasons for wanting to watch these videos, and what you are hoping to learn.
‘The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.’
Genesis affirms the goodness of creation.
God is communal and relational and He creates a communal and relational creation. The Earth is part of a community to which we belong and into which we were created.
In keeping with this, as Rachel Mash says in the video, God’s first command to people is to care for all He has made. People are given a vocation of care-taking, of cultivation.
However, the Christian tradition has not always been known for having this understanding. Rather than people being a part of creation, the emphasis of the Christian tradition has been on a people set apart from creation.
The stereotypical picture of the Genesis creation story sets up Adam and Eve in the hierarchical position of rulers. The emphasis of this picture is human domination, not cultivation.
In 1988 the scientist James Hansen testified about climate change in a US congressional hearing. That year Time magazine awarded ‘Man of the Year’ to ‘Endangered Earth’. The accompanying essay by Thomas Sancton explicitly mentioned the impact of the Judeo-Christian tradition’s interpretation of Genesis as permitting human domination over the earth, and acting, ‘as an invitation to use nature as a convenience.’
Ask God to teach you to love and care for creation as He does. Thank God for His beautiful creation.