Wednesday, January 16, 2008

God Made the Birds

For the first two or three decades after pollution became a concern, Christianity and environmentalism were generally seen as antagonists. Christians charged that environmentalism bordered on pantheism by promoting the idea that all species were created equal; environmentalists claimed that Christianity, drawing on the Genesis 1:28 command to "subdue" the earth, considered it a God-given right to destroy the natural world at will.

Fortunately (though it is probably unfortunate that so many waited until the problems were too big to deny), most Christians now realize that the natural world, like all God's gifts, comes with great responsibilities attached. (I recommend Tony Campolo's 1992 book, How to Rescue the Earth without Worshiping Nature, for a readable early view of Christian environmentalism.) God never intended for us to "beat nature into shape" by crushing everything that stood in the way of our desires. He calls us to use the world's resources frugally so enough will be left for future generations' needs, and to realize that those needs (take it from a dedicated birder) include the enjoyment of nature for its own sake.

God made nothing without a purpose. He reserved the highest purposes for humanity: since the first days of Adam (Gen. 2:15), it has been our duty to take care of the rest of the world.

God made the birds to fly and sing;
God made the flowers to bloom in spring;
God made the trees to give us shade--
And us to care for all else He made.

God made all things to have their part:
The dragonfly to swoop and dart,
The wolf to howl and bats for flight--
And us to help His whole world run right.

We stewards are of all God gives,
Protectors we of all that lives,
All ours to use, but not destroy:
Only that used right brings lasting joy.

May all the lessons of our past
Purge us of greed, until, at last,
We find the beauty of Creation
Brought into balance with civilization.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps a poet is more adroit
Who doesn't rhyme "points" with the woid "exploit."

Anonymous said...

And perhaps a critic sounds less bizarre
Who remembers "word" is spelled with an "r."