The Bare Soul - April 24, 2011
Saving the Planet

Romans 8:19 - For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.

For over 30 years, Earth Day has been a rite of passage as the earth morphs into its springtime luster. Each year, it seems to gain in popularity regarding its importance to environmental stewardship. While I believe earth's citizenry must be careful not to exploit the earth and its natural resources, I sometimes feel a bit incredulous toward many so-called saviors of "Mother Earth" who believe that human beings are these late-comers that have somehow upset the entire balance of nature. Many of these seem to feel like it is their responsibility to return the earth to its prior state (or as close as possible) by minimizing man's "footprint" from further so-called imbalances. Don't get me wrong! I believe in taking care of our environment, not polluting and recycling when possible. We do our share around my household, making regular trips to the newspaper and can recycling drop-off locations. Additionally, I drive a nearly 20 year old Toyota pickup truck that continues to rust away no matter what I seem to do. (Everything from the motor to the transmission has been replaced since I've owned it!) I am one to recycle and to reuse as much as possible, partly because I don't like waste and also because I am frugal. While I believe in being a good steward regarding what God has entrusted to me, I also believe that eventually things wear out and NEED replaced. The earth is not the exception.

I have traveled this globe enough to be awe-inspired by its beauty on numerous occasions. My desire is to continue to be struck by God's beauty of this planet, because He truly created a wondrous world in which we live. However, the scripture is clear that one day this earth will be replaced by a new world that is once again perfect in all respects. All of the beauty that we behold is merely a shadow of Paradise lost, and also of Paradise when it will be regained. Paul tells us in our lead verse that creation longs for Christ's return, when redeemed mankind will once again be restored to his rightful place as head over creation. Like Adam, we were created to rule and to reign over this earth. And, this terrestrial ball longs for that day, the scripture tells us. Paul continues with his explanation in verses 20 and 21 regarding the earth's subjection to Christ while it is at the same time subjugated to the result of man's sin:

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. (Romans 8:20-22)

These scriptures imply that the earth patiently waits to be delivered from the curse of sin and all its effects. It is pregnant with the hope that someday, in the not too distant future, that it will be delivered into its once lost perfection. No matter what we try to do to "save the planet", the earth will continue to travail until God's creation is once again restored in to its perfect state. This promise is spoken numerous times in scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation (see Isaiah 66:22 and II Peter 3:13 for two instances). Indeed, John the Revelator spoke of that glorious day when both the heavens and the earth would become holy and perfect (Revelation 21:1). The hope that he relates is the very hope that both mankind and creation cling to in hope of our final redemption.

I find it a bit ironic that Earth Day falls on Good Friday this year. We have a juxtaposition of two radically different viewpoints regarding how this earth should be saved. While many who believe in restoring the earth through man-made efforts are furiously striving toward this end, others who believe in the Risen Savior understand that Jesus came to this earth to cause things to once again be perfect in all regards. The resurrection on that Resurrection Day long ago was only the beginning, the very catalyst that  granted humankind salvation. Through mankind's redemption, the earth will once again experience a state of Paradise regained. Since the momentous event of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection nearly 2,000 years ago, the earth itself has been looking on with eager expectation toward the culmination of time. If indeed this globe on which we dwell could speak, it would undoubtedly tell us of its own desire for that final redemption -- when it will be changed into the incorruptible as it once experienced before the Fall of Man. Is there somehow residual guilt in the hearts of those who believe that salvation lies with mankind in order to somehow save the earth? Believe me, my friends, while the earth may appreciate the "band-aid" treatment we desire to give it through our humanistic efforts, it knows that its plight is incurable in its present state. It longs for that final redemption, along with all of the redeemed of humankind, when we will be changed and glorified into God's perfect creation once again.

As previously stated, it's not a bad thing to treat the earth with respect, guarding our natural resources and desiring to live on a clean planet. However, the earth itself knows that this not the end-all. Mankind betrayed it once, long ago, and it knows that redemption can only come through its Creator. May we all understand that the Risen Savior who gives life to all who would accept Him, know that the globe which we desire to save has long entrusted its salvation to the One who created it. On this Resurrection Day, may we understand that He alone can truly redeem this planet, both mankind and creation alike.

Heavenly Father, thank you for Your redemption. Thank you for this Resurrection Day when Your Son gave His life to redeem not only us, but all of creation. May we save the planet by praying for Your return when You present a glorified creation to Your spotless Bride. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

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