“For through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:3)
I believe that the world is God’s creation. The idea of “creation” – the act of making something or bringing into existence – resonates with me because I enjoy making things. I always had a craft box and spent time cutting construction paper or making friendship bracelets. As much as I love the process of crafting jewellery or art, I love even more seeing the joy in people around. Seeing someone smile when a ring fits her well or hearing someone say he still has the card I designed for him makes my day. However, I am also protective when it comes to my creations. I want to bring joy to people but I also want my work to be appreciated for what it is worth. I will be honest, there is probably a lot of pride in that statement (something I’ll have to address) but I cannot deny that I feel strongly about my creations. I make things to be enjoyed and I am sad when it seems like my gift and the time I put into that gift are not appreciated.
I think this is how God feels about his gifts and the earth is one of his greatest gifts to us. This is at the heart of why I care about the environment and enjoy studying it. When I learn that biologists are confused about whether certain ecological processes are ordered or not, it points me towards how awesome God is. No one fully understands how the earth functions but it does so beautifully. Just think about New England seasons or coral reefs in the tropics or something as simple (or as complicated) as an insect searching for food in a flower. God put all these things in place as a part of his creation.
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or let the fish of the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”
Going back to me giving gifts to my friends – God wants us to use the natural resources he has blessed us with. He made them for us to survive, to enjoy, to use to help others. Just like it gives me joy to see someone wear my jewellery, we bring God joy when we make use of his gift of the earth. This is why I’m not a proponent of the idea of keeping landscapes “pure” at the expense of humans. There are very serious problems in this world – unequal distribution of resources, lack of access to basic needs, exploitation of people in general and I’d be a fool to say that we should place the needs of people second to the needs of the environment. But here’s the catch – I do not think there should be a hierarchy. I wish we would not put humans against the environment because we cannot pretend that we do not rely on the earth’s natural resources and processes. We shouldn’t have to improve quality of life for everyone at the expense of the environment or vice versa. I believe they can and should be done simultaneously.
I do not expect everyone to drop what they are doing and start studying environmental science or go picketing for a fossil-free world or even switch to reusable to-go containers at the dining hall. I do think that Christians who doubt that God has anything to say about how we interact with the world need to rethink that stance. Our planet is one of God’s greatest gifts to us – I challenge you to think about how good our existence would be without it. If we mistreat this gift, what does that say about our regard for God and how he blesses us?
Keren Alfred is a sophomore concentrating in Environmental Science.