God is Creator
From the very first verse of the Bible, Genesis 1:1, God is affirmed as Creator:
“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth…”
The creation story is classified in literature as an “origin myth.” But the deeper spiritual truth in the story is profoundly important in Judeo-Christian theology of the environment. God created the earth, who are we to destroy it? God, the Creator, declared the creation good:
God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good… (Genesis 1:31)
Embedded in the story of creation is the notion of the sabbath, the seventh day, as a day of rest. Not only did God rest, but all of creation rested too. Allowing the earth to rest, whether through crop rotation, preservation of public lands, or other environmental restraints connects profoundly with the concept of the sabbath in the creation story. This resting and restraint is not simply practical but deeply spiritual, a part of God’s blessing and consecration of the created world.
“For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.” (Exodus 20:11).
In poetry and praise, God’s role as Creator of the earth and heavens is lifted up. As Christians, we define God’s existence through the act of divine creation. God is viewed metaphorically as holding creation in his hands. God profoundly loves creation, making our world and environment sacred as well.
In Psalm 95, the psalmist declares:
3 For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and the dry land, which his hands have formed.
The Hebrew Scriptures are filled with similar references and praise for God’s creative works in the universe. The majesty and awe that humanity feels towards God is inspired by the majesty and awe of the creation itself.
New Testament writings, coming as they did from authors well versed in these Hebrew traditions, reflected the same worldview of God as creator of sacred creation. “And, ‘In the beginning, Lord, you founded the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands;” (Hebrews 1:10).
Embedded in the belief that God created the heavens and the earth is the conception that all things belong to God. God is owner and the earth is also a part of the divine dominion. This was in part fueled by a view of history that saw that land owners and even kings changed over the passage of time, but that God’s dominion was constant: “The Lord is king for ever and ever; the nations shall perish from his land.” (Psalm 10:16).
God’s title deed, if you will, is the very act of creation. God is seen as possessing everything and everyone. “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it; for he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers.” (Psalm 24:1-2).
Some New Testament texts incorporate Christology into creation ideology. It is conceived that Christ is firstborn of creation, created in the image of God, but also that all things were created in him, through him and for him. Surely this is a mystery:
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16for in* him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 17He himself is before all things, and in* him all things hold together. 18He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:15-20)
This notion of Christ as reconciler of Creation and Creator if accepted makes care for the environment a profoundly Christian concern.
The love and salvific power of God was seen by the psalmist as extending to heaven and earth, humans and animals – all of creation:
“Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgements are like the great deep; you save humans and animals alike, O Lord.” (Psalm 36:5-6)
Spiritual Practices for Today
As you breathe, choose a prayer word or phrase such as “Creator God” that puts you in relationship to God as creator.
How is God calling you to greater appreciation of Creation? What can you do today to be in awe of God’s creation?
Pray: Creator God, divine force that creates the elements, the waters, the earth and all stars, bless us with an appreciation and awe of your magnificent works. Instill wonder within us for your towering mountains, sprawling deserts, flowering valleys, flowing plains, freezing tundra and raging seas. You are the source of every river, the pattern of every flower, the essence of every breath. Forgive us when we abuse our stewardship of creation. Help us to live in harmony with the land, to preserve the purity of the waters, to respect the quality of the air, and to treasure the life in all earth’s creatures. Continue to create in us clean hearts for living in community with your sacred creation we pray in Jesus name. Amen.
Read Colossians 1:15-20: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in* him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.”
What word or phrase caught your attention in this passage?
Read the passage again. How is this passage speaking to you today?
Download or open the Community of Christ app on your smartphone or visit www.cofchrist.org to read today’s Daily Bread and Prayer for Peace. After reading the Daily Bread, consider these questions:
What frees you from anxiety and worry? How does the mantra “God holds you close” speak to you?
Pray the Mission Prayer: God, where will your Spirit lead today? Help me be fully awake and ready to respond. Grant me the courage to risk something new and become a blessing of your love and peace. Amen.