The psalmist wrote “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1). Yet any honest reader of the newspaper or thoughtful observer of current events must acknowledge that all is not well with this earth that belongs to our God. As the earth’s population grows and humanity’s ability to impact the created order increases, we face an increasing and intensifying cluster of environmental concerns.
The Wesleyan Church believes that creation care is an important social issue of our day and that the time has come for us to take energetic, intentional steps toward more effective environmental stewardship. Our concern for the environment is not driven by any political agenda, but rather by what the Bible clearly teaches about God and His creation.
The very first thing the Bible teaches us about God is that He created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). The opening chapter of Genesis is a cosmic call to worship this God who is so amazing, majestic and powerful that simply by speaking He brings the world into existence. Speaking of Christ’s work in creation, the New Testament affirms God as the Creator: “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:3). Fundamental to the Christian understanding of God is that He is not a part of nature, but that He stands over and above it as its all-powerful Creator. This world in which we live is His handiwork. The Bible reveals, however, that God’s interest in creation did not stop when the work of creation was completed. To the contrary, the Scriptures show us a God who has an ongoing interest in and care for His creation:
- God delights in His creation. At the close of each day of creation, God looks at what He has made and sees that it is good (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31).
- When God first makes a covenant with His children, that covenant also includes “every living creature on earth” (Genesis 9:10). The covenant was not just with Noah and his offspring, but also with the broader created order.
- God speaks to human beings through His creation: “the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1; see also Romans 1:20, Psalm 8:3-8). Creation is a rich testimony to the goodness and power of God.
- God cares for His creation (Psalm 104:10-30; Job 38:25-28).
- God provides for His creation, even the smallest sparrow (Matthew 6:26).
- God calls all of His creation to worship (Isa. 55:12-13).
- God is actively involved in sustaining His creation – “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col. 1:17).
- The final redemption of all things will include the redemption of God’s creation. The Apostle Paul says: “…in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21). God’s purpose in Christ is to bring healing and reconciliation not just to humans, but to everything in the created order.
The Wesleyan Church believes it is time for Christians to take the lead in ensuring that the beauty and majesty of God’s creation are sustained. We believe that these efforts will help ensure the protection and health of future generations, will be a blessing to peoples all around the world (especially the poor), will improve our witness to a watching world, and most of all, will express our love and worship for our Creator, Redeemer and Friend.
We encourage Wesleyans to work vigorously for the protection and care of God’s creation in ways that honor the dignity and welfare of human beings. We suggest the following practical steps:
Become informed about environmental issues and needs-locally, nationally, and globally.
- Take intentional measures to reduce the harm we personally do to the environment.
- Encourage our local churches to adopt policies and practices that minimize environmental damage and reflect good environmental stewardship.
- Include environmental stewardship as a topic for teaching and discussion in our churches, so that Wesleyans might be equipped to take action appropriate to their setting and context.
- Advocate for reasonable public and governmental policies which will protect and preserve the environment.
- Lovingly communicate that all of these efforts are motivated by our love for our Creator and our desire to steward what He has entrusted to our care.
Whereas, The Wesleyan Church recognizes the responsibility of all people to be good stewards of God’s resources entrusted to our care, which includes our natural environment;
Resolved, That the position statement on creation care be adopted by the North American General Conference and be recommended for implementation in each of our local congregations.
Ronald D. Kelly, Secretary | Nov. 25, 2008