Sep 1 2010

Blasphemy and Creation Care

spring-cardinal-588“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”  Psalm 150:6

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow; praise Him all creatures here below.” (from  The Doxology)

In the book I wrote about on Sunday, Tending to Eden, the author allowed several leading voices in Creation Care to write small essays.  One of these was written by Tony Campolo and is called “Creation Care and Worship.”  In this brief essay Campolo argues that “we humans are not the only ones called to worship God.” He believes that the Bible teaches that all of God’s Creation was created to offer its Creator worship and praise.  There are certainly numerous biblical passages that back this claim.  Psalm 148, for example, says “Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds…”

calling-pika-196If we understand that all things were created to worship God it will help us see Creation in a new light.  Perhaps it will even come to help us appreciate more our fellow worshippers and create within us a desire to learn more about them.  Recognizing that everything on earth was made to worship God will also affect how we treat the earth and its creatures.  We will do all we can to help preserve all species for, as Campolo says, whenever another species is made extinct “we have silenced a special voice of praise to the Almighty.”

In the final paragraph of his essay Campolo says, “To interfere with worship is blasphemy.  Thus, the obliteration of the environment has blasphemous dimensions to it.  Considering what we have done to nature, we need to repent, because we have hindered nature’s glorification of the God who created all things in heaven and on earth to praise his name.”

We can and should avoid blasphemy by being good stewards of God’s Creation and by making sure that we add our own voice in offering praise to God.  When all of Creation offers its praise to God what a beautiful song it must be!


(This cardinal and pika I photographed are just two examples of  those who join us in praising God.)

Aug 29 2010

Tending to Eden

charcoalI have just finished reading a new book by Scott Sabin called Tending to Eden: Environmental Stewardship for God’s People.  I have lots of books on Christianity and the environment but this one is different in that it highlights how environmental degradation both contributes to poverty and effects the poor disproportionately.

Sabin is executive director of Plant with Purpose, a nonprofit Christian environmental organization with operations in seven countries.  One of the primary goals of his organization is planting trees and promoting sustainable farming practices.  To some this may not seem like much of a Christian mission but Sabin argues convincingly that it truly is.  By addressing environmental issues in poor countries Plant with Purpose offers hope for the future and love for those in need now.

One of the places the book talks a lot about is Haiti.  I have seen firsthand the deforestation that has taken place in this Caribbean country due to cutting trees for fire wood or the production of charcoal.  Ninety six percent of the Haitian forests have been denuded.  I have also seen firsthand the devastation caused by the flooding deforestation contributes to.  Without a doubt, one of the best things we can do for places like Haiti is assist them in reforestation projects.  As Sabin notes, “When the land is impoverished, its people will remain in poverty.”

In the study guide that is included in the back of the book Sabin says, “The hardships faced by these communities are linked to environmental health. Deforestation, pollution, famine, unsanitary water sources, and events such as drought, flooding, and mudslides are environmental issues.  For Christians, who have been charged with caring for the poor, a response to poverty must include responding to the environmental issues in which poverty is rooted.”

Haitian street scene 6In the book’s conclusion there is this wonderful summary: “When we see creation through God’s eyes, we see that God is revealed in and glorified by this wondrous symphony playing all around us.  The good steward knows that humans have a special part to play in this symphony.  Made in God’s image, humans have a responsibility to care for creation, and thus the good steward seeks to exercise dominion with the same compassion with which God rules.  The good steward’s attitude is best described as one of humility.  With humility, the good steward works to serve and protect creation, acknowledging human dependence on habitat.  Because humans are so dependent on habitat, the good steward responds to Christ’s call to care for ‘the least of these’ by responding to the ecological degradation that characterizes the habitats of our world’s poorest communities.”

Reading Tending to Eden has opened my eyes to seeing Creation and Creation Care to a new level.   I commend the book to you and encourage you to pay a visit to


(The top image shows charcoal being produced in Haiti.  Note the lack of trees on the mountains in the background.  The bottom image is a street scene near Port au Prince.)