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Friday, March 19, 2010

When Enough is Enough: Some notes I took while reading

When Enough is Enough: A Christian Framework for Environmental Sustainability, Edited by R.J. Berry, Published by Inter-Varsity Press, 2007, Nottingham

2 Peter 3:6 says “the first world was destroyed by the water, the water of the flood”. But obviously the world is still here, so if, at the end of the world, the world is purged with fire that will make it a ‘new world’ without actually destroying it. Heaven will come down to earth rather than us going up to heaven.

In Calvin’s comment on Genesis 2:15 he said:

“Let him who possesses a field so partake of its yearly fruits that he may not suffer the ground to be injured by his negligence; but let him endeavour to hand it down to posterity as he received it, or even better cultivated… Let every one regard himself as the steward of God in all things he possesses. Then he will neither conduct himself dissolutely nor corrupt by abuse those things which God requires to be preserved.” P17

It talks about having two books –one of words and one of works.

Oliver O’Donnovan (1986:55) says:

“the redemption of the world and of mankind does not serve merely to put us back in the Garden of Eden where we began. It leads us on to that futher destiny to which, even in the Garden of Eden, we were already directed. For the creation was given to us with its own goal and purpose, so that the outcome of the world’s story cannot be a cyclical return to the beginnings, but must fulfil that purpose in the freeing of creation from its ‘futility’ (Rom. 8:20)… The eschatological transformation of the world is neither the mere repetition of the created world nor its negation. It is its fulfilment, its telos or end.” P33

Triple bottom line – environmental, social, economic. “In practice, the economic dominates, because it provides the easiest way of measuring value; how else does one measure the value of a rainforest, or the value of a contented community? A Biblical understanding of sustainability turns this on its head. Economics can never be equated with the social or environmental aspects of sustainability; it is merely a servant of the other two. Wealth and money are only tools for the service of society, and should have no value independent of the greater good they create. In the context of environmental sustainability, money and the human economy should be set within the wider context of the earth. True value lies not in measurable monetary wealth, nor i9n usefulness to human beings, but is intrinsic to being created by God. Thus every object and every creature must be respected, not simply as resources, but as unique repositories of God’s wisdom.” P42-43

There are five pillars of a Christian Theology of Sustainability: God is creator and sustainer, covenantal stewardship, the creation-fall-redemption paradigm (God made a good world, human failure broke the relationships between god, man and creation, Christ provides hope for all creation), bodily resurrection(we will rise with bodies) and new creation(earthing of heaven). P43 on.

“According to Scripture only human beings were made in the divine image (Gen. 1:26-27). This has sometimes been taken to mean that we are superior and are thus free to lord it over all other creatures. What it should have been taken to mean is that we resemble God in some unique ways, such as our rational, moral, relational, and creative capacity. It also points to our unique ability to imagine God’s loving care for the world and to relate intimately to God. And it certainly points to our unique planetary responsibility. The same pattern holds true in all positions of high status or relationships of power…. Unique capacity and unique power and unique access create unique responsibility. Being made in God’s image is primarily a mandate to serve the rest of creation (Mk 10:42-45).” P63

Isaiah 55 promises the new earth will mean having harmony with all creation, we have to trust in God to bring this about.

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Important Lessons from the Bible

Why Jesus came:
"that the world might be saved through him"
John 3:17

Who Jesus is going to use to save the world:
"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God."
Romans 8:19

Our role on earth:
"The LORD God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it."
Genesis 2:15

The Five Pillars of A Christian Theology of Sustainability

1. God is the creator, sustainer and redeemer of creation.

2. Covenantal Stewardship (we have a covenant with God as stewards of the earth).

3. The creation-fall-redemption paradigm (God made a good world; human failure broke the relationships between god, man and creation; Christ provides hope for all creation).

4.Bodily resurrection(we will rise with bodies, not as spirits)

5.New Creation (a new Heaven and new Earth refers to a renewal and an earthing of heaven, not starting over).

Adapted from When Enough is Enough: A Christian Framework for Environmental Sustainability, Edited by R.J. Berry, Published by Inter-Varsity Press, 2007, Nottingham p43+