The Earth And All Things In It

Lindsey Jodts, Groups Pastor, South Barrington | May 22, 2024

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.
Romans 8:20-23

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
Genesis 1:26

From the beginning, humans were created to live and thrive in nature. Adam and Eve were birthed in a garden, charged with its care and tending and given safety and provision in return. When the Israelites designed the Tabernacle, images of trees and plants were woven into the tapestries and hammered into the golden lampstands. When describing the kingdom of heaven, Jesus often described harvested grain, flourishing mustard seeds, or delicate lilies. In the words of Revelation, the holy city of God is firmly planted in the center of a garden. 

But in our brokenness, creation suffers. 

Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden and forced to work grueling land. The Israelites lacked faith, and an entire generation died in the wilderness. Jesus died nailed to a tree. Our cities have become food deserts and heat islands. Forests are razed to create farmland, yet deforestation causes drought and erosion, rendering the soil infertile. 

And yet there is hope to be found in God’s plan for our world. Throughout scripture, God is moving, authoring the relationship between humanity and creation. In Eden, Adam and Eve were told to subdue the earth and help it flourish. The embellished tabernacle was the place where God could dwell among the people in the midst of the wilderness. Jesus promised that the kingdom of heaven had come and all things were being made new. 

Jesus told his followers that the kingdom of heaven was here, and invited those who called him Lord to go out and share the good news to the ends of the earth. What if that charge wasn’t just about the people but about the earth and everything in it, just like God said to Adam and Eve in the beginning? 

Our role as kingdom-bringers doesn’t stop at the people we share the gospel with—it extends to everything under the authority of Jesus…which is all of creation—from the environment to animals. Our role as stewards of the garden didn’t end with Eden—it was renewed in Jesus. 

Next Steps

Spend time in creation with God. What do you notice? Where do you see God at work?  While there, read Romans 8:16—that God’s Holy Spirit connects with our spirit to remind us that we are His children. Note what you sense in your spirit amidst His creation.  Take time to pray and listen.