The ‘Reflections of the Lausanne Theology Working Group 2010’ provide an excellent foundation for thinking biblically about our responsibility to care for God’s Creation:
’God has reconciled all things in heaven and earth to himself through the blood of his cross (Col. 1:15-23). The gospel is good news for all creation, for the reason that the gospel is the good news of what God has done in Christ to undo all the effects of human sin and satanic evil and to redeem his whole creation.’
Despite decades of discussion around climate science, international justice and sustainable development, evangelical leaders particularly in the developed world have not distinguished themselves in their commitment to stewarding God’s creation. The Lausanne Congress provides an opportunity to challenge evangelicals on their own territory, and to ground our thinking and practice on the clear biblical narrative. We might emphasise The 10 Convictions that I find helpful to underline from that key phrase about Christ and the Gospel in the letter to the Ephesians, namely ’all things’:
‘He purposed..to bring all things in Heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ’ Eph 1:10.
All things in Heaven and on earth:
- 1. created by God: ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ Gn 1:1; ‘By [Jesus] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.’ Col 1:16
- 2. belong to God: ‘The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it’ Ps 24:1
- 3. very pleasing to God: ‘God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.’ Gn 1:31 incl light, sky, land, sea, vegetation, stars, living creatures, man
- 4. teem with biodiversity from the Lord: ‘How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number.’ Ps 104:24, 25
- 5. sustained by God: ‘The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.’ Heb 1:3
- mankind is co-Regent/gardening partner: ‘The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.’ Gn 2:15
- 6. reveal God’s glory: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” Isa 6:3; ‘The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.’ Ps 19:1
Gear change: blessing~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~>curse
- 7. cursed by God because of man’s sin: “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.” Gn 3:17
- 8. degraded by mankind’s violations: ‘The LORD has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: “There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Because of this [moral, social, economic] the land mourns, and all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the fish of the sea are dying [environmental].”’ Hos 4:1-3
- 9. groan awaiting God’s liberation: ‘For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.’ Rom 8:20 – 21
Gear change: decay ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~>renewal
10. will be renewed by God: ‘Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making all things new!”’ Rev 21:1-5
- covenant with Noah embraces all living creatures: ‘I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth.’ Gn 9:9 – 17
- destroyed by fire to create a new Heaven and Earth: ‘The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare… That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.’ 2 Pet 3:13.
‘All things’ means all things because Christ is Lord of all!