10 Green Commandments for Earth Day (part 2)


Part 1 looked at God’s commandments that establish the right place of animals and plants in the creation. Here we continue into the built environment and the place of creation in redemption.

Our Responsibilities in the Built Environment

We are only beginning to re-learn the principles of “green” building that were instinctive to our ancestors: place the house above the pond, not below it; give it the shelter of deciduous trees so it receives summer shade and winter sun; orient it and align the windows to capture summer breezes. God commanded “building codes” in Scripture to help us care for each other and our surroundings.

6. “Designate a place outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself. … For the Lord your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you.” (Deuteronomy 23:12-14)

Before the Romans built the first Western aqueducts and sewers, God told Israel to keep waste out of the camp. Waste management is part of how we keep the land holy for God’s presence.

7. “When you build a new house, make a parapet around your roof so that you may not bring the guilt of bloodshed on your house if someone falls from the roof.” (Deuteronomy 22:8)

At a time when flat roofs were as commonly used for living space as they are in cities today, God told people to make sure a wall around the edges kept families and guests safe.

The Place of Creation in Redemption

From what has already been written, we can perhaps see that creation itself plays a larger role in this drama of redemption than we have typically considered. Let’s watch creation as interacts with God and us in the story of redemption.

8. “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God … the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” (Romans 8:20-21)

This scripture says nature is waiting on you and me. What we do determines the future of creation, and creation knows it. Creation depends on us and creation trusts us.

9. “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar and all it contains; Let the field exult, and all that is within it.” (Psalm 97: 11-12)

We are in the habit of treating Psalm 97 and many verses like it as mere poetry. But in light of Romans 8, how can we? If creation as we see it is creation in chains, what would creation look like once liberated into “the freedom of the glory of the children of God”? In this verse, God commands what we consider inanimate creation to celebrate God. Who am I to argue with God? Perhaps Christians from earlier times were closer to the truth when their morning worship included such lyrics as these, taken from Psalm 150 and the book of Daniel:

O all ye Works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord;
praise him, and magnify him forever. …
O ye Waters that be above the Firmament, bless ye the Lord;
praise him, and magnify him forever. …
O ye Sun and Moon, bless ye the Lord;
praise him, and magnify him forever. …
O all ye Green Things upon the Earth, bless ye the Lord;
praise him, and magnify him forever. …
O all ye Beasts and Cattle, bless ye the Lord;
praise him, and magnify him forever.
O ye Servants of the Lord, bless ye the Lord;
praise him, and magnify him forever.

The Place of Creation in Our Testimony

When we speak with those who believe the earth is a living being to be worshipped, we know they are not correct. But their incorrect worship is wrapped around a core of truth, and we can speak to that truth. God has placed great value in all of the creation, not just people.  And God commands creation itself to testify with us to God’s glory, God’s salvation, God’s wonderful deeds, and God’s powerful rule:

10.   “Sing to the Lord, all the earth;
   proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous deeds among all peoples. …
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;

    let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
Let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
    let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them!
 Let the trees of the forest sing,
    let them sing for joy before the Lord …”
(1 Chronicles 16: 23-24, 31-33)

We are called to give our testimony to God, not alone, but with all creation among all the nations. Together with all of God’s creation, let us bless the Lord. Praise him and magnify him forever!

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About Carlene Hill Byron

The former editor of New England Church Life and The New England Christian, Carlene Hill Byron is enjoying being home in Maine after 20 years in North Carolina. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild. Find her at christianpurposeblog.wordpress.com, churchandmentalillness.wordpress.com and on Facebook at MyHouseHasHistory.
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