Groaning Pains (Lent 22-2013)

heart-earthOK, I’ll admit it: I struggle with “the environmentalist movement.” On one hand, I try to be a good steward of the environment, have been a frugal consumer and was a cautious recycler long before it was fashionable. I am a trained horticulturist and have a deep and abiding love of nature. On the other hand, I don’t want to lead people to believe that we can “save the planet.” Heck, we can’t even save ourselves!

Creation got the bad end of the deal, frankly. Adam and Eve were made rulers over and then boom! Sin. Fall. Mortality. Decay.  You take a nice little planet and put it under the control of generations of sinners and the motto stands true: Life stinks and then you die. Poor planet Earth!

In today’s passage Romans 8:18-23, we see that mortality didn’t just happen for mankind where the planet will endure for eternity and only men will come and go. Nope! The whole planet is struggling under the weight of death. Earth is groaning—it too is unable to be liberated until Jesus returns.

We’re all stuck in the middle zone of the “already” but “not yet” of salvation history. Act 2 has come and gone– our Redeemer Jesus came, lived, DIED, and conquered death. We await Act 3 when Jesus returns with a new heaven and a new earth and there will be no more death (Revelation 21:4) and the old order of mortality is gone forever!

This is where “the environmentalists” have it wrong. There is no human way around mortality.

I love the Chicago Botanic Garden, but sadly, they’re wrong in saying, “Plant Science Will Save the Planet.” No, it won’t. The planet persists in a state of groaning and struggle until the glorious freedom of redemption. Freedom from death. Freedom from decay. Freedom from abuse. Freedom from pollution. Freedom from sin’s self-interests reigning poorly over a sad, abused, and subjected creation. When mankind is finally liberated beyond the Great White Throne of Judgment; when death and Hades are destroyed, only then will creation, too, be liberated from the same specter of death that has haunted mankind since the curse upon the ground.

Jesus’ return will save the planet. Until that time, we’re all in the throes of groaning pains.

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Give it up for Lent: Belief that sinful human stewards can save the planet

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For further study:

  1. Read Jonah 4:11. What does God think about creatures? Do they have value in His eyes?
  2. Read Genesis 1, noting the blessings and goodness of what God created.
  3. Read Job chapters 38-41 and meditate on the majesty of God’s creation and His investment in it.

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on March 9, 2013

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