Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Gift Of Creation

There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places. --Wendell Berry

Eden. So, there’s this tree in the Garden with fruit that the guys are told not to eat. It’s the only thing in the Garden that doesn’t have God’s blessing. Being like me—or am I like them?—and seeing a line in the sand as something begging you to step over, they chow down. “I know what’s best for me, I am my own man, the serpent is only wanting my best, for me to be free, blah, blah, you’re not the boss of me, blah.” Bad News, guys. Before you stepped over that line all of creation, except that one tree, was given to you as life and blessing and a means for communing with God. Now? All you get to eat is death.

Think of it this way. God gives us the gift of the world. Everything in the world but the fruit of this one tree was blessed of God for our good. So what do we do? We go to the one tree that is off limits, telling God that we now choose to see the world as an end in and of itself: it is not a means for communing with him, not something we transform into life. Consequently, the world is no longer a gift from God for us but a possession of man to use for his own end. Tragically, in doing this we cut the world off from it’s Creator and Sustainer so that it is no longer a means for communing with the light, life, and love of God, for us, no longer something we are to steward for his sake. But nothing has life in and of itself. Everything depends upon the life of God. Cut off from its Source, it may still appear to be alive, but it is disintegrating and dying, along with all of the breathing corpses running around behaving as if there is any meaning to existence apart from God.

Reoriented to the World
And then God came into the world as the Person, Jesus Christ, and offered us His life and love, so that for all who trust in Him for forgiveness and salvation life is restored. However, this is not simply a restoration of life with God but a restoration that also reorients us to His creation. Now, receiving these gifts as intended, with gratitude and dependence upon him for all things, the world is once again a means of communing with the God of Life.

Sadly, many Christians still behave as if the world was not affected by Christ’s death and resurrection. For these people the world and all of its beauty, glory, and wonders are, at best, pleasantries to distract us on our way to heaven, or, worse, things to be shunned. Where God says (Genesis 1. 26-29) go out and make the world more beautiful, manage its resources for his sake and for the good of others, and do your best to see to it that it increasingly reflects the very glory of its Creator, these people say, “Nonsense, all that matters is getting ready for heaven.”  

When we treat the gift of his creation as irrelevancies, aren’t we then saying that creation is not to be received with gratitude and stewarded for its owner? Explain to me exactly how such ingratitude honors God.

When we eat to survive rather than as a communal act with loved ones and God himself, what is it we are saying? That food and the world are still divorced from God and ... what, an end to itself? I thought we were to be imitators of Christ, not of Adam.

If we insist that God’s gift in Christ has nothing to do with our relationship to creation, what are we saying? That we aren’t to see God’s creation as a reflection of his beauty, glory, and life, no longer see it as a means for communing with him, no longer have any calling to be responsible stewards of his creation. Again, exactly how does this honor the Creator?

Somewhere along the line, many religious people decided that there was the spiritual world and then there was the material world, and we all know what really counts, eh? The spiritual banquet prepared by religion is more sacred than the dinner that was prepared for you last night, right? Wrong.

Part of our calling in the world, for the world, is to see and handle creation as the gift it is, to take it into our hands and, through our gratitude and praise to God, we are to transform it into life. In doing this, creation, once again, is reoriented to its God ordained purpose: a means for seeing and communing with our Creator and Father.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2014

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