This sermon is part one of the ‘Creation Matters’ series, and looks particularly at the world as it was originally created by God and drawing out some of the implications of this for our attitude towards the planet. It is based on chapter 1 of ‘Planetwise’ by Dave Bookless. In particular, it highlights three key questions:
God: What can we learn about God from creation?
Three points are emphasised here about God’s relationship with creation. First, God is beyond creation. He is the transcendent creator who is eternal and who spoke the whole universe into being from utter nothingness. Nothing in creation even comes close to God.
Second, God is revealed through creation. In Romans 1:20 we are told there are thing as about God that should be clear to us from his creation. Psalm 19:1 teaches that the heavens declare the glory of God.
Third, God is committed to creation. God sustains and cares for the things he has made (see for example Psalm 36:6) and he is holding it all together in Christ (Col. 1:17).
Creation: What can we learn about creation itself, in particular about its relationship to God and humanity?
Again, there are three points to consider. First, creation is good. It can be easy to jump straight to what is wrong with the world, but we must remember that before the fall God declared the creation he had made to be good.
Second, creation speaks of God. This links in to the second point about God. The created world brings forth testimony to God’s praise. Of course, there is a limit to where this natural revelation can take us and we do need the special revelation of scripture, but we should not overlook what the created world is saying to us about God.
Third, creation belongs to God. This is clear from Psalm 24:1 and is a corrective to some of our human-centred perspectives on the planet being a resource that we can do what we want with. Whatever we do to this earth, we must remember that we are doing it to God’s earth.
People: What can we learn about being human and our place within creation?
This time there are two aspects to think about First, people are part of creation. We are on the creature side of the creator/creature distinction and have more in common with the other creatures on this planet than we do with our creator. We were made from the dust of the earth and have been created to have interdependent relationships with other parts of creation.
Second, people are called apart within creation. In Genesis 1:27, humans are shown to be distinct from the rest of creation as God’s image-bearers and given a responsibility to steward and rule the earth as God’s ambassadors. Psalm 8 wrestles with this amazing truth and dignity that God has bestowed on creatures such as us.