September 07, 2012

The Big Picture

Revelation 21:1-8

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
—Genesis 1:31


Even before Rachel Carson’s 1962 bestseller Silent Spring helped to put ecology on the map, I was an ecologist at heart, reading Henry David Thoreau, John Burroughs, and John Muir; loving the forests, the mountains, and the sea—and all their rich life. But it wasn’t until I heard the message of salvation through Christ that I began to see the bigger picture, of which the world of nature is a part.

Unless we recognize nature as God’s creation, the beauty we see in it will be no more than a freakish accident in a chance-ruled universe, and we will paradoxically idolize nature. Unless we recognize our own sinfulness, we will become enraged about the pollution of nature and self-righteously blame it on others. Unless we understand how much the Creator loves the world he made, sending Christ to bear God’s totally justified wrath against evil, our frantic efforts to purify the world will be fatally flawed by our own unredeemed corruption.

But once people turn to Christ and are saved, they grow to love the creation all the more, gain a clearer picture of how the fall of humankind has polluted our own hearts as well as our environment, and want to work for the redemption of human hearts, human society, and the creation that is groaning all around us (Romans 8).

Glory be to your name, Lord, for the beauty of all you have made. We are ashamed to have trashed it. Through Christ, help us restore what we have ruined. Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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