We’re all part of God’s story, part of His masterpiece of Creation. In Ephesians 2:10, He calls us His poema, His poem, so we’re a written work as well as a work of art. “We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” He’s so far ahead of us in working out His story that even the good works we are to do for Him have already been prepared.
He is the arche – the beginning, the cause, and the source, the Author of His fabulous tale of humankind and our relationship with Him. The ESV Study Bible sums it up like this: “God’s ultimate purpose in redemptive history is to create a people to dwell in his presence, glorifying him through numerous varied activities and enjoying him forever. The story begins with God in eternal glory, and it ends with God and his people in eternal glory. At the center stands the cross, where God revealed his glory through his Son.”
As the Creator of this glorious story, the earth, its purpose, and its inhabitants, God can establish the rules. This is the right of the creator of anything. He holds the copyright, so to speak, so He lays down the rules. As an author, I understand how this works. The story is mine. I plan it. I alter it if I wish. I own it.
Not surprisingly, God established His rules at the beginning of His story. Other than one rule about not eating fruit from one tree in the midst of thousands, which didn’t go so well on our end, most of God’s instructions were about how we are to treat His creation. We tend to forget these or only choose to apply the parts we like, usually the “have dominion over” parts.
It’s Earth Day. So, here’s a reminder of God’s rules for His Creation.
The Purpose and The Warning: “The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the Lord God warned him, ‘You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.’” (Genesis 2:15-17).
The Other Instructions: “Then God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground’” (Genesis 1:28).
These instructions were given before sin entered the picture. Part of working, tending, and guarding the earth and its resources was and has always been subduing, harnessing, working the land, and utilizing its resources. Adam and Eve had work to do. But they were to care for the earth, not only use the earth.
Then the curse affected our relationship with the earth. It no longer cooperates. We no longer naturally tend and watch over it. And now it finally conquers us, turning us to dust. Sin made the tending and watching difficult. The rest of the rules we seem to have no problem with: We multiply, we’re filling the earth, and we absolutely love to govern, reign, and subdue the earth and its resources.
The Curse on the Earth because of Us: “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:17-19).
Food and resources no longer sit right before us, naturally produced. We must work to produce food. Most of the world exists on subsistence farming and/or minimal wage earning, barely eking out a living. This produces constant obsession with our next meal, how we’ll get it, and fear that we might not be able to produce it. Still, we neglect to care for the earth we live on.
It’s like we know too much. God is sovereign, and the earth will be remade into something brand new, the heavens also. So, we get sloppy. We take liberties and forget part of God’s initial instruction for the use of His created artistry.
We take too much and tend too little. We hoard resources, rather than share. We don’t nurture the earth. We poison it. We figure it will run dry when God wants it to run dry, so we don’t worry about it. We forget part of the instruction.
Today, let’s pause to evaluate whether we’re individually caring for what God has given. Are we tending His environment? Are we recycling His resources? Are we guarding and carefully watching over what God has entrusted to us?
It’s our responsibility, part of the “good works” He created for us to do. The Author told us.
Read a story that brings this home: Fallen! Get it HERE.