Ecology and Animal Rights continued....
GOD AS CREATOR
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. The New Testament
expands on this teaching by examining the place of Christ in creation. Paul
teaches 'by Him all things were created';whereas the
prologue to John's Gospel is even more explicit: 'Apart from Him nothing came
into being that has come into being'.
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', and'The Spirit of
God hovered over the face of the waters',
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. The morning stars also sang for joy when God laid the
foundations of the earth. 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'.This means that our environment in itself is a revelation of God's
character. Surely then, we should care for it!