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Redeem, Reuse, Recycle

Catherine Durant Catherine Durant
4 min

With COP26, climate change and environmental concerns in the news continuously, as Christians we may ask ourselves how far up our priority list these issues should be. We’re familiar with what God says all the way back in Genesis about creation, that we’re to ‘take care of it’ (Genesis 2:15), but does this have the same importance it once did back in the Garden of Eden? How broadly should we be thinking when we consider how to steward what we have been given?

The Bible shows there is far less separation between the physical world and the spiritual world than we might think. We’ll look at three aspects of God’s overwhelming love towards his creation that help us to consider our stewardship of the wider world.

God has given us an abundantly beautiful world

God not only provides for our basic needs in creation but he has generously made a physical world that is intricate and beautiful and something for us to enjoy as well as to steward. The heavens really do declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1) – every moment there is a uniquely patterned sky for us to see. The vast variety of species, plants, flowers and stars show God’s lavish love and creativity. His creation was ‘very good’ and it is our sin that has caused the destruction of the world around us.

James 1:16 tells us: ‘Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above’. When a loved one gives us a precious gift, we want to keep it safe, to maintain it and to treasure it. One way that we can express our gratitude for all of the natural beauty that God has given us is to look after it carefully.

God is currently caring for and sustaining our physical world

The Bible is full of verses that show that God is still actively involved in the functioning of the world for our benefit. He ‘gives autumn and spring rains in season’ and ‘assures us of the regular weeks of harvest’ (Jeremiah 5:24). He ‘spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing. He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. He covers the face of the full moon, spreading his clouds over it.’ (Job 26:7-9). These verses and many like them are written in the present tense – he didn’t set creation in motion and leave it, he is committed to it.

When describing God’s care for us, Jesus explains, ‘Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.’ (Matthew 10:29). God has an infinite knowledge of his creation, even for the smallest parts that we might consider insignificant. If God himself continues to maintain the world, it seems all the more outrageous for us to neglect looking after it ourselves.

God doesn’t discard – he redeems

In Genesis we see God speak everything into being from nothing, but after this we’re more likely to see God transforming what is already in creation. In the Old Testament, we see God supernaturally provide for his people through ‘a piece of wood’ that Moses throws into water for it to become drinkable (Exodus 15:25) and manna for food which came from ‘a layer of dew’ (Exodus 16:13).

In the New Testament too, Jesus’ miracles redeem what is present. He transforms six stone jars filled with water into the finest of wines (John 2), he takes two fish and five loaves and multiplies them enough to feed thousands (Matthew 14), he heals and restores the bodies of the sick.

Even after death and the decay of our physical form, the Bible tells us we will be ‘raised’ physically (1 Corinthians 15). Just like Jesus was raised in body as well as spirit, our bodies will be transformed to be like ‘his glorious body’ (Philippians 3:21) which was recognisable, despite having new supernatural qualities.

In light of all this, the words ‘reuse’ and ‘recycle’ take on a different weight.

The most famous verse in the Bible tells us that God ‘so loved the world’ – he did not decide to condemn the world but to save and redeem it. Our physical world is his and he cares deeply for it.

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For more resources, information and charity suggestions about this subject, visit our Creation Care Cause page.

Explore Creation Care Cause

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