Servant of a Chicken or Servant of God?

Yesterday’s lecture at the King’s University on “Being Human” dealt with how we as Christians can live in the creation as creatures. In that lecture several statements were made that challenged orthodox Christianity. It ultimately came down to the question: do we worship God or do we worship the creation? Although the lecturer, Dr. Norman Wirzba, never said outright that we worship the creation, by many of his comments that is what it boiled down to.

It was argued that God’s goal is to come down and dwell with us on this earth. It was argued that that is the meaning of the name Immanuel – God with us. We are not going to be brought to heaven, but God is going to come down to earth and establish His kingdom with us. That is because God’s love is in everything on this earth. But Revelations 21:1 describes a different idea: the creation of a new heaven and a new earth, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” Also the parable of the rich man and Lazarus describes for us both the conditions of heaven and hell. There is going to be an eternal life, and it is not going to be on this earth. A holy God cannot come down to this earth and dwell among a sinful people and on a cursed earth. Therefore, to satisfy God’s justice it is absolutely necessary that He destroy and punish the wicked and create a new perfect heaven and earth.

Further, Dr. Wirzba stated that God is not interested in blowing up the earth or in destroying the earth. Yet 2 Peter 3:10 says, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” So Dr. Wirzba is wrong. God is going to destroy the earth.

Also, Dr. Wirzba stated that the purpose of the Christian is to make the creation acceptable for God. This is done through protecting, preserving, and becoming servants of the creation. It is absolutely necessary that we become servants to chickens, cows, plants, etc, to fulfill a Christlike attitude. Yet, there is no reference in the Bible that tells us to become servants of the creation. No, we are to become the servants of God! Paul calls himself the servant of God (Romans 1:1) and over and over again in the Bible the Christian is called to be a servant of the Lord (Romans 6:22; Psalm 116:16; 2 Corinthians 6:4). To become a servant of creation is to subject yourself before the creation: to make it your lord and head, for every servant must have a lord. That is idolatry.

Yet, that is what many environmentalist do. The earth is their god. Their passion is to protect this earth; this cursed earth that will ultimately be destroyed with fire. An idol does not have to be something that is made with hands, it is anything that plays a more important role in our lives than God. School, work, hobbies, music can all be idols. The environmentalist make this life, this world, this environment, their chief purpose and goal in life. That is not what the Bible teaches us. Christ tells us in Matthew 6: 19 – 21, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Our focus in this life is not to be on a corruptible earth, or the things that the earth contains, but on God and the heavenly kingdom.

That is the goal of a Christian in the creation. Yes, we must be stewards on this earth, for that is the Biblical mandate. But to be a steward is not to be a servant of a chicken, it is to be a servant and a steward to the Lord. That is the Christian’s Biblical calling toward the creation and Jehovah.

The Loss of the Doctrine of Sin and the Fall

Yesterday and today I attended a series of lectures that were being given at the largely Christian Reformed university that I attend. These lectures dealt with various ideas of being a creature in a creation. Questions such as: what does it mean to be a creature? what is a creation? what is humanities’ duty in this creation? were all dealt with. All these lectures were a real eye opener to how far the Christian Reformed Church and the church world in general has strayed from a correct interpretation of God’s word. This was seen in that no mention was made to God’s curse upon creation and God’s judgment of sin.

This has largely to do with the increasing tendency to treat Genesis 1 not as history but as myth. Genesis 1 (according to many contemporary theologians) is simply one of many creation stories found in the Bible and in the annals of human history. It is not necessarily true, it is not necessarily false. It simply presents how one group of people (i.e. the Jews) explained how the world came to be. Yet, this has dire consequences on theology and a correct interpretation of the Bible. When Genesis 1 is not considered to be historically accurate the next item to attack is Genesis 2 – 3. The story of the fall is simply an allegory about humanities’ violation and abuse of the creation. It has nothing to do with man disobeying God and God’s punishment (and also promise of salvation) for that sin.

Rather than the Biblical idea that God hates sin and the wicked (Psalm 5:4) God instead loves the world. He does not hate man or woman. He loves everybody and your greatest obligation in this world is to become loving and accepting. To become like Christ is to respect everyone and to respect the creation.

So that leaves us with a world without sin. When the question of why physical catastrophes such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, volcanoes, etc. occur, came up during the lecture, the answer that was given was simply that humans were in the wrong place at the wrong time; that God created man as a rational being to work around these catastrophes and create a better world. So God created a world (through evolution) that is good, but also dangerous. Yet this is in a direct contradiction of much of the Bible. Physical catastrophes are the result of man’s sin. They are the judgement of God upon sin. One needs simply to read Isaiah 45:7, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” Amos 3:6, speaks of God’s direct judgment upon cities, “Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?”

Further without sin there can be no explanation for death. We read in Genesis that the consequences of eating of the forbidden tree is death. This death embodies two important ideas: physical death and spiritual death. These were both the punishments that God inflicted upon man for disobeying him. Mankind would not only experience physical death and disease, but he would also experience spiritual death. He could no longer do any good apart from the grace of God. He became a totally depraved creature. If God created a world where death occurred as a natural process, how could He call it very good, which is repeated many times throughout Genesis 1? A good and perfect creation does not contain death. Death is the judgment of God upon sin.