Tuesday, March 20, 2018

TTT #8 God Loves All of Creation

Everyone has heard much about God’s love. But do we sufficiently comprehend the extent of that love? Probably not. This article about God’s love is adapted from the first section of the eighth chapter of Thirty True Things Everyone Needs To Know Now (TTT), available in its entirety by clicking this link.
God’s Love Is Not Just for Humans
To begin with, it is important for us to realize that God’s love is not just for human beings. Perhaps Christianity through the centuries has been the most anthropocentric of all of the world’s religions.
There are, however, many references to God’s concern for nature in the Hebrew Bible that Christians call the Old Testament, and Christian environmentalists have increasingly called attention to those passages. For example, Psalm 145:9 declares, “The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.” But have we really thought what it means for God to love all creation? Probably not sufficiently. 
Emphasis on God’s Beloved Creation
To address the lack of adequate concern for the natural world, back in 1983 at the Vancouver Assembly, the World Council of Churches (WCC) encouraged member churches to commit publicly to addressing environmental concerns as part of a common effort to promote Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation. That became known as the JPIC process. (The image below was the logo of that Assembly.) 
Then in 1990, the WCC sponsored the World Convocation on Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation in Seoul, Korea. One study unit in this program was called “Creation as Beloved of God.”
Creation, the physical universe in its entirety and not just human beings, is loved by God. That was the important emphasis of the WCC in the 1980s and 1990s.
There has been a similar emphasis in the Catholic Church: Pope John Paul II’s message for New Year’s Day 1990 was titled “Peace With God the Creator, Peace With All of Creation.” Reflecting upon that important message, Elisabeth A. Johnson, a noted Catholic theologian, wrote in 2001 about “God’s Beloved Creation.”
God’s Love and Our Love for Creation
Most people seem to have long thought that the purpose of the natural world—the purpose of all the plants, animals, and minerals in the world of nature—is primarily to supply the needs of human beings.
The creation story found in the first chapter of Genesis certainly does sound as if humans are the “crown of creation.” When the first human couple was created, “God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion . . .” (1:28).
The English words subdue and have dominion, however, may not be the best to convey what the Biblical writer really had in mind. To grasp that maybe we need to consider more fully the implication of these words: “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them” (1:27).
The idea of humans created in the image of God has nothing to do with how we look; it has everything to do with our capacity to be loving and caring as God is. If God loves the physical world—and certainly God does—then we humans created in the image of God must love and care for the world also.
Since God loves all of creation—which includes the physical world, the world of sticks and stones, of plants and animals, the whole world of nature—it is incumbent on us human creatures to love/care for the natural world also.
My fear is that we are failing in that sacred task.


  1. Insightful. There is so much to learn of the Creator in creation. However, that is a general statement. From the beginning there seemed to be an expectation of sacrifice, including blood of animal sacrifice using both rocks and sticks. Indeed, even God sacrifices an animal to provide covering for the humans. Extra-biblical texts also indicate sacrifices presented to the Creator by the first family.

    I do like your final statement, not only for what is says (we probably view the specific tasks somewhat differently) but because we have also lost a fear of Almighty God in His magnitude and holiness.

  2. Eye-Opening!
    Thank you so much Brother Leroy for Better educating me on GOD`s Love and All it encompasses!
    This Gives me a much Better understanding of how total GOD`s Love really is.
    Your Blogs are so helpful for someone like me who needs this knowledge, so I can Better Serve our LORD.
    In His and your Service,
    John(Tim) Carr

  3. Thinking Friend Glenn Hinson in Kentucky sent the following brief comments in response to closing sentence of my article:

    "We are. Americans need more exposure to the rest of the world. It would awaken us."

  4. Thinking Friend John Tim Carr in Arkansas, who posted comments above, also read the chapter and left the following comments there:

    "Excellent chapter and could you please send me an autographed copy of your book?
    It will be displayed in a `Special` place in my bookcase with my other autographed books."

    Here is part of response to John, whom I knew as Tim back in the 1950s when we were boys in Grant City, Mo.: "John Tim, I am sorry to say that at this point the book has not been published, so I don't have anything that can be autographed. When I finish revising all 30 chapters--and I am gently revising each chapter before posting each article about them--I will think about trying to get the whole book in print.

  5. I was pleased that local Thinking Friend Milton Horne read the linked-to chapter (and not just this article) and posted the following comment there:

    "Thanks, Leroy. Just briefly, I’m gratefully reminded of Genesis 1: 20, 24, 30 and 2:7 where both humans and creatures are “nephish hayyah,” “living beings/creatures,” and thus could easily be construed as possessing the “breath of God.” I always wondered whether the prophet Hosea were thinking of such a tradition as he speaks of God’s establishing a “covenant” between people and animals (Hos. 2:18)."

    I also posted the following brief response there: "Thanks for reading this chapter and for commenting, Milton. Yes, as you point out there seems to be an important similarity among all living beings, but I had not remembered the verse in Hosea 2:18 and am not sure what the 'covenant' there means. Thanks, though, for calling that to my attention and consideration."

  6. The fall, however one interprets it, disrupted not only the relationship of humanity with God and with one another, but also the relationship of humanity to all of creation. But the vision of prophets and evangelists is that those relationships shall be restored in God's peaceable kindom. I think of the prophetic vision in Isaiah 11:6-9 and of Red Foley(?)'s take on that vision in his song, "Peace in the Valley." (Charles Kiker)

  7. Thanks for posting your comments, Charles. I am listening to Johnny Cash sing "Peace in the Valley" as I write this--and here is what I found about the song in Wikipedia:

    "'Peace in the Valley' is a 1937 song written by Thomas A. Dorsey, originally for Mahalia Jackson. The song became a hit in 1951 for Red Foley and the Sunshine Boys."

    More than the song, though, I think I like the wood-block print of "The Peaceable Kingdom" (1950) by Fritz Eichenberg better. It is based on the same passage in Isaiah. I mention it, and have an image of it, in my Nov. 30, 2013, blog article found at https://theviewfromthisseat.blogspot.com/2013/11/works-of-mercy.html.