[“SHARE” OCT – DEC 2019 ] BACK TO THE BIBLE
Written by: Raymond Kwong (Chief Executive)
Mankind is unique in God’s creation because we have been made in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26). We are living beings (Genesis 2:7) and we have been granted stewardship to take care of all other forms of creation (Genesis 1:28-29; 2:15). These are mankind’s intended identities. Unfortunately, when sin enters the world, these identities are distorted. Our stewardship has been altered beyond recognition. Mankind’s role has morphed from stewards of God’s creation into owners, or even exploiters. God’s creation should have received mankind’s love and care, but now it has become an instrument for personal gain. This simply goes against God’s intention in Creation!
Jesus Christ’s salvation is to enable mankind to rebuild their relationship with God, as well as to reconcile to Himself all things, (Colossians 1:20), so that the harmony and order at the beginning of Creation can be restored to the world. For over three years, Jesus’ work on Earth mostly served mankind, but He never separated Himself from the environment when He was serving His people. He withdrew to the wilderness to pray and to be close to the Father; He used natural phenomena to teach the disciples (the parable of the mustard seed, the parable of the sower); He also demonstrated that He sustains all things by His lordship (He calmed the wind and the waves; He made the fig tree wither). The Lord’s care towards His creation is plainly indicated in the Great Commission in Mark:
“He said to them, ‘…[G]o into all the world, proclaim the gospel to everyone.’” (Mark 16:15, ISV)
The expression “everyone” here means “all creation” in Greek scriptures. Therefore, the meaning of this Bible verse is that the blessings in God’s gospel are not only meant for people of different nations, but also for non-human creation. When Jesus announced the Great Commission, He was not only asking His followers to spread the gospel among mankind, but also to remind His believers of their duties of caring for all that He has created.
In recent years, many local and overseas churches have started to promote discipleship training with great effort. When choosing among the many forms of training, courses and tools, the churches must be clear on the objective of discipleship training, which is to achieve the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 – “teaching them to obey everything I (the Lord) have commanded you.” God has instructed us clearly to cherish all of His creation and be His stewards on earth. Therefore, “caring for God’s creation” must be included in discipleship training. Indeed, it is the disciples’ mission to help all creation to be reconciled to God.
In fact, the more we care about the world God created, the more we will experience His greatness. This is because when we see the smallness and weakness of mankind, we will focus our lives more on God.
(The article was originally published in Chinese in Issue 2862 of Christian Weekly.)