EDITED: John Stott
PUBLISHER: Elsfield Way, Oxford: Bible Reading Fellowship, 2005.
We need to be reminded of our calling to take care of the earth, not exploit and abuse it. We need to repent from wasteful and careless ways in depleting earth resources. For believers and all, we need to be reinforced in biblical and theological understanding that caring for creation is a God-given responsibility. With climate changes and global warming fears, companies like A Rocha are seeking to counter the trend by advocating responsibility in conservation.
Why this book?
The news media has been pretty successful in telling us about global warming and the fears of a day where earth resources will be fully depleted. Unfortunately, other than the scientific approach, it fails to offer something more substantial apart from fear mongering, and worrying the public at large.
"Caring for Creation" offers more. It weaves together the biblical teachings about redemption, hope, and how man can be more responsible. Based on five core commitments of A Rocha (Christian, Conservation, Community, Cross-Cultural, Cooperation), more than 20 committed Christians offer inputs with regards to creation, time, God, caring for animals, God's earth convenant, Sabbath, land, wisdom, Incarnation of Christ, hope of the Resurrection, mission, community, and many more. The end result is a collection of diverse views about similar concerns.
This book fills a void in the Christian literature pertaining to caring for creation. There are three ways in which the book can be beneficial for the reader. Firstly, it is a book that describes God's teachings with regards to the need to care for creation. It is our duty to be good stewards of the land and resources. We need to learn to resist exploiting finite land for infinite purposes. We need to learn to see the world from God's perspective rather than from personal greed. In caring for creation, we learn to see God, and His purposes for creating the land as they are.
Secondly, it is a book that tells us the opportunities open to us in the present. We cannot turn a blind eye to endemic species, or to watch them die from a distance without any emotion. We need wisdom to see creation for what it is, not what we want. We need to let nature speak its natural voice, rather than to force it to become what it is not.
Thirdly, it is a book that points readers toward an eschatological hope. There is a bright future ahead. It is possible to care for the land, because there is hope. Just as we have been redeemed in Jesus, we can be agents to help redeem the earth.
I like the holistic aspect of this book. Caring for creation is also a community endeavour. Alone, we can only travel so much. Together, we can journey farther.
"If God commands us to care for the earth and its creatures responsibly (as every chapter in this book argues), we should do so from obedience, whether or not God should later choose to destroy them." (123)
The best way to benefit from this book is read the book individually, and then to work through the discussion questions with a small group.