NYG—New Orleans II

noah2While at the National Youth Gathering in New Orleans, a gentleman from Southern Illinois approached me after my presentation and asked, “why hasn’t the church taken the lead on issues regarding our responsibility for creation?” It is not the first time that someone has asked me that question. Their questions implied that the church should be at the forefront of advocating for the responsible care of creation.

The instincts of these questioners are sound. Joel Lehenbauer and I were recently chatting about the connections between the commissions that God gave us in Genesis 1:28 (as well as Genesis 2:15) and Matthew 28:18-20. At first blush, we might think that the first commission was given to every human creature and that the second one was given to the church. He reminded me, however, that Adam and Eve represented not only humanity but also the church. I think Luther talks that way as well. The same applies to Noah. God gives him the task of saving two of every kind of creatures. But Noah is not just anybody. He was a God-fearing man. In a sense, he and his family were pretty much the whole “church.” And when God calls Israel into existence, he warns against cutting down orchards when laying siege to a city and gives them instructions gives them instructions on how to care for His land and his animals.

So it would not be to far afield to say that God’s people (i.e., his church) did take the lead in caring for God’s creation throughout the Scriptures. Other examples can be found periodically throughout Christian history (I’ll give some examples at a later date) although they might not be as frequent we might wish. What about the church today?

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