I am on vacation this week in the Minnesota north woods. My parents have had a place on a lake since I was 3 (early 1960’s) and I’ve been spending time here ever since. When I was young (i.e. until I left the state for graduate school) bald eagles and loons were unheard of on the lake (about due west of Duluth), although I did see loons further north in or near the Boundary Waters. Today loons are ubiquitous here (apparently an indication of improved water quality) and there are frequent eagle sightings. I was out on the lake this week and an eagle flew to a tree nearby looking for prey. The great outdoors really is great!
Douglas and Jonathon Moo have a new book and DVD set exploring Creation Care: A Biblical Theology of the Natural World. The video lectures are fascinating and well done, I watched the first 12 of 14 episodes on our drive to Minnesota for vacation. Unfortunately a warning should be present in large print wherever it is sold. I purchased the DVD hoping to use it for an adult education class at church next year (at full price from Amazon rather than the cheaper price now advertised at Zondervan). Unlike many DVD’s sold by Zondervan, public use in a church is explicitly prohibited for Creation Care – although I had no intimation of this when it was purchased and only realized it because I usually do read the fine print. It turns out that these lectures are part of Zondervan Academic’s online or self-paced study courses and are for individual use only. This is unfortunate because we need to good resources to explore the topic in our churches and this set would be a great option. Suggestions anyone?
Now to the book and videos. The book is titled “Creation Care” rather than “Nurture of Nature” or “Upkeep of Environment” for a reason. Using the word creation rather than nature or environment keeps the focus on theology rather than anthropology, on God rather than on humans (or plants and animals). The word nature “is sometimes used to refer to a semi-deified “mother nature,” with any idea of a personal God left to the side. … On the other hand, “nature” is often thought of in a purely mechanistic way, as something separate from God and open to manipulation at human whim. Both of these views depart rather significantly from the biblical view of the world as God’s creation.” (p. 25)
Environmentalism and environmentalist can conjure up images of radical movements and political positions. Daek green “religion” that view a world without human participation as very good. But Doug and Jonathan suggest that this is only a minor concern. “The biggest downside for the word is that it tends to make human beings the focus of attention.” (p. 25) While the earth is a good environment for humans it is also valuable in its own right.
Our cosmos is not merely the accidental by-product of chemical and physical processes. It is something our God called into being, something he created for a purpose, which is nothing less than to bring glory to the One who created it. Speaking of “creation care” – rather than for example environmentalism or “nurture of nature” – rightly anchors our topic in a Christian worldview, appropriately privileging theo – logy over anthro-pology. (p. 26)