"The nations were angry
And your wrath has come.
The time has come
- for judging the dead
- and for rewarding your servants the prophets, and the saints and those who reverence your name - both small and great -
- and for destroying those who destroy the earth."
Why so? All things are to be Christ's inheritance (Heb. 1:2). All things are to be summed up in Christ, and come together in him (Eph. 1:10, Col. 1:20). If we destroy Christ's inheritance - or allow it to be destroyed while we enjoy ourselves - then we are not truly loving the one we claim to love.
John 3:16 tells us what God so loved that he gave his only begotten Son. It was not human souls. It was not even human beings alone. It was "the world".
And what is God's plan? Romans 8 tells us clearly that those who are in Christ Jesus are no longer under condemnation and they receive the Holy Spirit, because of whom we can have a very intimate relationship with the Living God. It goes on to explain God's purposes. Woven into these purposes is a strong thread of future hope and resurrection and salvation for the whole of Creation, not for human beings along. Indeed, in the light of v.19, 21, etc. we who taste the first fruits of salvation are meant to be the mature 'sons' who, because they are like God in attitude of heart and in what they value (the real meaning of the Greek word for 'son' in v.19), will bring God's blessing and joy back to the very Creation itself. And the heart of God is to bless rather than ignore his Creation.
After all, the very purpose for which he created humankind in the first place was, according to Genesis 1:26-28, to steward Creation (the real meaning of 'radah') on behalf of God. We should rule it for its own good rather than for our own convenience and enjoyment.
This is clear from the fact that 'radah' is used in only a few places, and notably in Ezekiel 34, where God says,
"Woe to the shepherds of Israel
who only take care of themselves.
Should not the shepherds take care of the flock?
You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool,
and slaughter the choice animals
but you do not take care of the flock.
You have not strengthened the weak
or healed the sick or bound up the injured.
You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost.
You have ruled them harshly and brutally."
It is clear that the type of rulership that God requires from those whom he depends on to represent him should be that of a shepherd for his sheep: the shepherd rules the sheep not for his own sake or convenience, but for the sake of the sheep which he has authority over.
In the same way, according to Genesis 1:26-28, we have a mandate to rule the Creation not for our own sake or convenience, but for the sake to the Creation itself. Because God loves it.
But rule the Creation today just as the shepherds of Ezekiel 34 did: we "only take care of ourselves". We "eat the [food it provides], clothe ourselves with the [fabrics we make from it], and slaughter [any parts that suit us]". We "do not take care of the [Creation]". We do not "strengthen the weak". We do not "heal the sick [in Creation] nor bound up the injured [parts of Creation]". We do not bring back the [species nearing extinction] or search for the lost". We "rule [the Creation] harshly and brutally".
God's judgement starts with the household of God. That is a time-long spiritual truth. God's people should show forth God's character. We Christians are among the worst offenders against the Creation, by our focus on our personal satisfaction, personal salvation, personal fulfilment, personal growth. God will judge us as he judged the shepherds of Israel.
On the other hand, if we truly let the Holy Spirit rule every part of our lives, including letting the Holy Spirit transform our 'ways of seeing things' (which is what Romans 12:2 means), will have the fruit of the Spirit grow in us. This fruit, which we normally assume is to be felt by other human beings around us, is actually to be felt by the whole of God's Creation around us. Gal. 5:22,23 applied to the Creation goes like this:
"The fruit of the Spirit is:
- love - for God's Creation
- joy - in God's Creation
- peace - with God's Creation
- patience - with the speed at which God's Creation operates
- kindness - towards each animal or plant in God's Creation
- goodness - in our attitude towards God's Creation
- faithfulness - in our dealings with God's Creation, keeping covenant with it just as God keeps covenant with us
- gentleness - in our dealings with all God's Creation
- self-control - in our use of the resources afforded us by God's Creation"
Those who truly show this attitude towards God's Creation will be those whom the Creation looks forward with eager longing to see (and experience and feel the effects of) (Rom. 8:18). And so we will most beautify and prepare our Saviour's inheritance, and all things will end up related to Christ as head (Eph. 1:10), with great joy.
Copyright (c) Andrew Basden 2009. But you may use this material subject to certain conditions.
Part of his www.abxn.org pages, that open up discussion and exploration from a Christian ('xn') perspective. Written on the Amiga with Protext. Number of visitors to these pages: .
Created: 2001. Last updated: 11 March 2001 link to creation.html. 20 January 2002. 1 January 2009 new .end, nav.