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Ecology and Animal Rights continued....


One of the central doctrines of the Old Testament is that God created our environment out of nothing but himself. 'The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it' as the Psalmist reminds us.(1) The New Testament expands on this teaching by examining the place of Christ in creation. Paul teaches 'by Him all things were created';(2) whereas the prologue to John's Gospel is even more explicit: 'Apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being'.(3)

There are further Scriptures indicating that the formation and sustenance of the universe was an act of the whole Trinity together. 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth',(4) and'The Spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters',(5)

Why did God create us? We were made for God's own pleasure and greater glory, so that we might have communion with Him. 'The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him for ever' as the Westminster Shorter Catechism has it.

But the created order has its own purpose too. It is not only there for the benefit of human beings. That much is evident from the fact that there are plants and animals which serve no apparent purpose for human beings, and from God's command for Noah to preserve the unclean as well as the clean animals from the flood.

Also, there is a sense in which the Universe itself worships God. Jesus told the Pharisees at his triumphal entry into Jerusalem that, were it not for the praise of his followers, the stones would feel the need to applaud his presence.(6) The morning stars also sang for joy when God laid the foundations of the earth.(7) Although we should probably take neither text totally literally, the underlying thought of creation worshipping is quite clear and must not be disregarded.

More radically, the Apostle Paul points out that the creation of a visible world has made it possible for us to 'clearly see' God's divine nature, even going so far as to say that he can be 'understood through what is made'.(8) This means that our environment in itself is a revelation of God's character. Surely then, we should care for it!

Index to the Topic
Ecology and Animal Rights
God as Creator
The place of humans in creation

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