Question: Is nature sacred?
Answer: Yes, the earth was created to be God’s dwelling place with us.
In Genesis 2:8, God planted a garden and placed Adam and Eve in it. Then He entrusted stewardship over the whole earth to them (Gen. 1:28). The Garden of Eden was meant to be a model for what human stewardship of the whole earth should be as humans multiplied and filled the earth. All of creation was made by God to be a place where He could enjoy fellowship with humankind (Col. 1:16).
However, human sin brought corruption to the whole world, including nature. Now nature “groans” under sin (Rom. 8:22) and has, in one sense, become an enemy of mankind through death (1 Cor. 15:26). God’s curse upon the ground makes our work with the environment more difficult (Gen. 3:17-19). Nonetheless, God has not allowed the testimony of nature to be completely obscured by sin, and still claims the world and its inhabitants as his property (Deut. 10:14; Psa. 24:1; 1 Cor. 10:26). Nature continues to praise its Creator (Psalm 19), to witness to His character (Rom. 1:18-20), and to testify of God’s provision (Acts 14:17).
Finally, God will purge the earth of all corruption so that it may flourish in ways yet unknown (2 Peter 3:11-13). The curse of Adam (Gen 3:17-19) will be reversed (Rev. 21:4), and this world will be freed from corruption (Rom. 8:21). The “new heavens and earth” are the renewal of this world, the very place where God’s dwelling will be with man (Rev. 21:3). Heaven (God’s dwelling place) will be wedded to earth (our dwelling place); that is, God’s glory will be over all the earth (Psalm 57).
This is my Father’s world,
O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world:
the battle is not done:
Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.
For more information, see the resources linked below or search “creation care” at holyjoys.org.
- [Article] “Christian Creation Care.”
- [Podcast] “Earth Day, Creation Care, and the Resurrection of Jesus.”
- Basil of Caesarea, Hexameron.
- Douglas Moo and Jonathan Moo, Creation Care: A Biblical Theology of the Natural World (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2018).