31st July 2012 | Dave Bookless | 9 comments

Why didn’t Jesus talk about creation care?

“If creation care is so important, why didn’t Jesus speak about it?” The question wrong-footed me at first: after all, when Jesus summed up the Law and the Prophets he said, ‘Love God and love your neighbour’, not ‘Go hug a tree’!

Sand Partridge (Ammoperdix heyi) © Marcel Holyoak

“Look at the birds…” like this Sand Partridge Ammoperdix heyi © Marcel Holyoak

However, the deeper I look at the Gospels, the more convinced I’ve become that it’s the question that is wrong-footed. Here are four rapid reasons:

— ‘Look at the birds; look at the flowers.’ Earnestly study nature to discover your place in God’s world. Just as Adam took each species and named it, so the second Adam urges us to learn from God’s book of works.

 ‘God so loved the…?’ Whilst theologians argue about the exact meaning of ‘world’ in John 3:16, there’s no argument that God’s love encompasses all creation and Jesus died and rose so that all things in heaven and earth might be reconciled to God.

‘On earth as in heaven.’ The Lord’s prayer teaches that God’s Kingdom rule is to be earthed in the realities of this physical world.

 ‘Preach the Good News to all creation.’ Mark 16:15’s version of the Great Commission couldn’t be clearer. Our mission is to proclaim and demonstrate Jesus’ Lordship so that all creation points to him as Creator and Saviour.

Following Jesus is about letting him be Lord of all. His birth means all material creation is blessed. His death and resurrection defeat the laws of entropy and decay, and inaugurate the new creation. Creation care is essential to following Jesus.

See also by Dave Bookless: How big is your Jesus?

Categories: Questions
About Dave Bookless

Dave has worked with A Rocha since 1997, first as an International Trustee, then from 2001 with A Rocha UK as co-founder (with his wife Anne), National Director, and then Director for Theology, Churches & Sustainable Communities. He joined the A Rocha International team in September 2011. His role as Advisor for Theology and Churches includes providing advice and resources for ARI’s Trustees, Team and national A Rocha organisations, and coordinating liaison with international theological and mission networks and organisations. He is also studying for a part-time PhD at Cambridge University on biblical theology and biodiversity conservation.

View all posts by Dave Bookless

9 responses to “Why didn’t Jesus talk about creation care?”

  1. Don Ruhl says:

    I would say that Jesus did not need to address it, because God already had, recorded in Genesis 1.26, 28 and 2.15 when He first created man.

    He repeated the same idea to Noah, and the Law of Moses spoke of proper treatment of creation, such as the land Sabbath, and the Book of Proverbs says, “A righteous man regards the life of his animal” (Pro 12.10).

    And there are other passages.

    So perhaps God had already said enough that Jesus did not have to say much, other than what you have already mentioned.

    Thanks for your article.

  2. Great article. I have wondered why Jesus didn’t speak directly about creation care (nature examples aside), but as Jesus treated the OT as God’s word, those creation care commands must be enough for his followers.

    The fact that loving God and loving our neighbour cannot be separated from caring for the world on which we depend and which God loves and left under our stewardship, is probably the most powerful reason for me.

    Thanks for the work you have been doing in this area of ministry – it is truly an encouragement. There is a sore need for similar efforts in the Western Cape of South Africa where I live; something I’d like to help change.

    • Júlio Reis says:

      Feel free to link here, or repost with proper attribution (a pingback).

      About what’s explicitly said in the Bible and not, when I think of what God likes, I think first: what’s God like? 🙂 I focus on mood and character and not just in actual words (same as in any other relationship). God created the universe and he clearly loves it. That’s as much communication as I need! I do not need an explicit command to take care of what he made—I’m loving it already just because God loves it.

      About W Cape, have you visited Vuya Endaweni?

  3. Andy says:

    Interesting article. Surely Jesus regarded people as his sheep (animals), in the living spirit there is no difference; life transcends everything.

  4. Darren Evans says:

    Let us not forget either that 2000 years on we live in unprecedented times – a burgeoning global population (currently 7 billion – 9 billion by 2050), the detrimental impacts of industrialisation and over-consumption and a reluctance (by some) to accept the growing scientific evidence for our ecological crisis. All environmental issues are social issues and I seem to recall Jesus said a lot about the latter.

  5. Matteo Masiello says:

    I don’t think Jesus was God. He didn’t know about what would happen over the next two thousand years because he believed the world would be ending soon.

  6. David Clegg says:

    Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man became part of the material Creation He created. There could be no greater commendation of creation than that.

  7. Don Ruhl says:

    I also wonder if Jesus did not address the environment as we might think He should have, because He came to reveal what we could not discover on our own, and He was silent on what we could discover on our own.

    We eventually figure out what we need to do to make our home Earth a better place. We have that capability of figuring those things out, although we are sometimes slow at figuring it out.

    Think of all that Jesus knows as the Creator, such as the cure for cancer, but He did not reveal those things. He revealed very little in comparison to what He knows. The cure for cancer and other problems of life on earth, we will eventually discover, but we never could have discovered the way to heaven, unless He came down and revealed it.

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