Sep 16 2009

“The Earth is the Lord’s”

General Butler SP fog on lakeOne of the things that makes me proud to be a Kentuckian is that Wendell Berry lives here too.  He is an incredible and prolific writer.  From his pen comes marvelous novels, moving poems, and insightful essays.  I especially like his Sabbath poems.  All of Berry’s writings are rooted in the earth.  I commend his works to you.

In one of his essays Berry writes, “The ecological teaching of the Bible is simply inescapable: God made the world because He wanted it made.  He thinks the world is good, and He loves it.  It is His world; He has never relinquished title to it.  And He has never revoked the conditions, bearing on His gift to us of the use of it, that oblige us to take excellent care of it.  If God loves the world, then how might any person of faith be excused for not loving it or justified in destroying it?”

Behind these words is the Psalmist’s declaration, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.”  (Ps. 24:1-2)

Why is it that we have so much trouble comprehending that this world does not belong to us?  That we are not free to do with it as we please?  Why can’t we grasp that because God made the world and loves it that we too must love it and care for it?   I agree with Berry; I think the ecological teaching of the Bible really is “inescapable.”  Even the casual reader of the Scriptures should recognize that we all have a responsibility to preserve and protect God’s property.

If any group should be in the forefront of the environmental movement it is the church,  those who know from the Scriptures that “this is our Father’s world” and that what belongs to the God of love should be loved and treasured.  Thankfully there seems to be a growing interest in the Christian community for this cause.  May our tribe increase!


(General Butler State Park, pictured above, is not far from Wendell Berry’s home.)