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.