Session Four: The Abuse of Creation

            Do you realize how wise God is? Look at creation around you, look at how it all works together, and realize that God designed it that way. God is a wise creator.

If you found a watch and looked inside it, at all the little cogs and springs that fit together perfectly so that the watch worked properly, you would conclude that the watch did not come together by accident, but that the watch was made by an intelligent and wise maker. In the same way, the amazing ways that the various parts of creation work together as a whole ought to compel you to recognize the truth of an intelligent and wise maker behind it all.

This is why I love science. Christians should never be afraid of or against science. Science is an exploration of creation, a close look at what it is that God made. The closer we look, the more amazed we should be. Science reveals to us more and more how wise our creator is.

Just consider carbon.

Carbon is the 15th most abundant element on earth. It is an atom with 6 protons and 6 neutrons. It is essential. Carbon is the building block of life. Everything alive on Earth relies on carbon.

Carbon is paired with lots of other elements, but it is found in basically four separate areas: the ground and sea, inside of plants, inside of animals, and in the air. But the carbon doesn’t stay in one place. Carbon is constantly moving from place to place in what we call the Carbon Cycle.

Trees and other plants are full of carbon, so let’s start with an apple tree. The apple tree grows an apple and an animal eats that apple. Now there is carbon in both the tree and the animal. When both the tree and animal die, that carbon is returned to the ground as the formerly living creature decomposes. But, while still alive, the animal is releasing carbon into the air with every breath. Every exhale by every animal puts carbon into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide.

Animals need oxygen, and too much carbon dioxide is lethal to us. But plants take carbon dioxide out of the air, extract the carbon from those molecules, release the oxygen and hold onto the carbon. Animals cannot do that. Plants are keeping us alive.

God’s wise, creative mind came up with a life-sustaining system for this whole planet that utilizes every living creature to keep every other living creature alive, and even makes use of our death and decay to return our carbon to the soil, ashes to ashes and dust to dust, so that more life can grow.

What a wise creator our God is.

And what foolish creatures we are.

Ever since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, humanity has been trying to put ourselves on God’s throne. We are fools to think we can, but we try anyway. We have sought domination of this world. Our attempts are destructive. We are destroying one another and we are destroying this creation in an effort to gain more for ourselves; more power, more wealth, more domination.

We have learned that we can extract vast reserves of carbon from the ground in the form of fossil fuels. We burn these fuels, releasing more carbon dioxide into the air. We animals cannot breathe carbon dioxide, but plants can.

Except we wipe out forests and prairies in the name of human progress, simultaneously releasing more carbon into the air and destroying the very things needed to get the carbon out of the air. Wetlands are designed by God to clean our water cycle and trap carbon from the air, yet we drain them to make way for golf courses and waterfront condos. With more carbon blanketing our planet, the temperatures are rising. Ocean waters, now warmer than ever, are absorbing more carbon than they were created to do, and are becoming acidic. Oceans are losing the ability to sustain life.

God made this planet for abundant life. But we are very quickly, very alarmingly, making this planet uninhabitable.

I look to the work of human hands and I see selfishness and destruction. I see foolishness.

But when I look to the work of God’s hands, I see wisdom. I see love. I see work that is done not to benefit the one doing the work, but to benefit others.

We were not created to be fools, and we were not created to be self-destructive, yet we tend towards those things anyway.

What does God say to us? At the beginning of the book of Proverbs, we are told, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7). Throughout the rest of that book, God calls to us over and over to give up our foolishness and learn wisdom from the wise (and there is none wiser than God).

In Isaiah 1:16 and 17, God commands us, “Cease to do evil, learn to do good.” Becoming wise is a process. It begins with stopping the foolish thing, and is carried on in learning to do the wise thing.

I love electricity. I love technology. I am sitting in a comfortable, 72 degree room, with a ceiling fan moving the air around, typing this on a computer no bigger than a notebook that gives me nearly instantaneous access to all the information of the world. Meanwhile, it is over 90 degrees outside my window, with a humidity level over 60% and climbing. Y’all, I love electricity and technology.

It would be foolish of us to get rid of these things. But it would also be foolish of us to continue down a path known to lead to death because we’re too engrained in our ways to come up with solutions.

God did not make us to be fools.

When it comes to the abuses we heap on this creation, it is time for us to stop causing more damage, and repair the destruction we have caused.