The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Genesis 2:15
A magazine article states why measures have to be taken in behalf of the bighorn sheep in the mountains of British Columbia: “They have to be protected from disruption and disease brought on by the encroachments of man.” Human enterprises, especially of thoughtless greed, tend to pollute land, water, and air, thus endangering many species of animals and plants.
The plaintive voices heard in nature, if combined into a chorus, would add a very distressing stanza to Gustav Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde” (“The Song of the Earth”). Saint Paul has given us the substance of it: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth” (Romans 8:22). It groans because man’s sin has placed it under bondage and added many burdens.
The beginning of nature’s distress goes back to man’s fall into sin. To Adam God said: “Cursed is the ground because of you; … It will produce thorns and thistles for you” (Genesis 3:17-18). The once beautiful Garden of Eden is gone. Instead we have an earth whose spontaneous fruitfulness is greatly reduced. Sinful man aggravates the curse resting on it. To the existing Sahara Desert man adds new deserts by his mismanagement of soil and water. Devastating floods result from this. Flora and fauna suffer because of it, making conservation efforts necessary.
The great conservationist is God Himself – the Creator who wants to enlist our help for the preservation and restoration of what He made. He starts with the sinner, seeking to regain him for his role as the crown of creation, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come,” we sing in a well-known song. God’s own Son came in the person of Jesus Christ to break the power of sin and to bring the blessings of redemption, as the refrain has it, “far as the curse is found.” Through His death and rising again He effected freedom for sinners and enabled them to become the children of God. Those who believe in the Son as the total Liberator are freed for every God-pleasing service, including the care of nature’s environment. Now hope begins, even for God’s creation.
PRAYER: O Lord God, help me to protect and restore Your created world. Amen.
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