SPECIAL TOPIC: NATURAL RESOURCES

I. Introduction

A. All creation is the backdrop or stage for God's love affair with mankind.

B. It shares in the fall (cf. Gen. 3:17; 6:1ff; Isa. 24:3-8; Rom. 8:18-20).  Also, it will share in eschatological redemption (cf. Isa. 11:6-9; Rom. 8:20-22; Revelation 21-22).

C. Sinful, fallen mankind has raped the natural environment with selfish abandon.  Following is a quote from The Canon of Westminster by Edward Carpenter.

". . .man's relentless assault, in a global context, upon the universe around him—that is on God's creation—an attack on the air which he pollutes; the natural waterways which he befouls; the soil which he poisons; the forests which he hews down, heedless of the long-term affects of this wanton destruction. This attack is piecemeal and uncoordinated. Scant regard is paid to any balance of nature and consequently little sense of responsibility for what one generation owes to another."

 D. Not only are we reaping the result of pollution and exploitation of our planet, but our posterity will reap even more severe, non-reversible consequences.

II. Biblical Material

A. Old Testament

1. Genesis 1-3

a. Creation is a special place created by God for fellowship with mankind (cf. Gen. 1:1-25).

b. Creation is good (cf. Gen. 1:4,10,12,18,21,25), yea, very good (cf. Gen. 1:31).  It is meant to be a witness to God (cf. Ps. 19:1-14).

c. Humanity is the crowning purpose of creation (cf Gen. 1:26-27).

d. Humanity was meant to exercise dominion (Hebrew, "to tread") as a steward to God (cf. Gen. 1:28-30; Psalm 8:3-8; Hebrews 2:6-8).  God is and remains the Creator/Sustainer/Redeemer/Lord of creation (cf. Exod. 19:5; Job 37-41; Psalm 24:1-2; 95:3-5; 102:25; 115:15; 121:2; 124:8; 134:3; 146:6; Isa. 37:16).

e. Mankind's stewardship of creation can be seen in Gen. 2:15, "to cultivate it and preserve and protect it" (cf. Lev. 25:23; 1 Chr. 29:14).

2. God loves creation, especially animals.

a. Mosaic laws for proper treatment of animals

b. YHWH playing with Leviathan (cf. Ps. 104:26)

c. God cares for animals (cf. Jonah 4:11)

d. Eschatological presence of nature (cf. Isa. 11:6-9; Revelation 21-22)

3. Nature, to some extent, glorifies God.

a. Psalm 19:1-6

b. Psalm 29:1-9

c. Job 37-41

4. Nature is one means by which God shows His love and loyalty to the covenant.

a. Deut. 27-28; 1 Kings 17

b. Throughout the prophets

B. New Testament

1. God is seen as creator.  There is only one Creator, the Triune God (Elohim, Gen. 1:1; the Spirit, Gen. 1:2; and Jesus, the NT).  All else is created. 

a. Acts 17:24

b. Hebrews 11:3

c. Revelation 4:11

2. Jesus is God's agent of creation

a. John 1:3,10

b. 1 Corinthians 8:6

c. Colossians 1:16

d. Hebrews 1:2

3. Jesus speaks of God's care for nature in an indirect way in His sermons

a. Matthew 6:26,28-30, birds of the air and lilies of the field

b. Matthew 10:29, sparrows

4. Paul asserts that all humans are responsible for their knowledge of God in creation (i.e., natural revelation, cf. Rom. 1:19-20; Revelation 21-22).

III. Conclusion

A. We are bound to this natural order!

B. Sinful mankind has abused God's gift of nature as they have all the other good gifts of God.

C. This natural order is temporal.  It is going to pass away (2 Pet. 3:7,10).  God is moving our world to a historical nexus.  Sin will run its course, but God has determined its bounds.  Creation will be redeemed (cf. Rom. 8:18-25).

 

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