desert spirit's fire! is a theology blog and typically I assume readers have at least a smidgen of biblical knowledge and theological vocabulary. However, with more than 9,363 bloggers registered worldwide to participate [update: 31,000 blog posts, and a few people probably will blog later] in this special Blog Action Day for climate change, I'm trying to be a little more explicit than usual about some theological concepts. And here I'll comment the way some Christians and many assorted others have tended to concentrate on human creatures almost to the exclusion of the rest of God's creation has been infinitely sad and highly unbiblical.
Church and synagogue consider the biblical scriptures an ancient witness to the Presence of God in world and creation and to God's saving acts in history, yet despite its antiquity, the bible is very clear about the interwoven interrelatedness and interdependence of all creation and about God's call to humanity for responsible caretaking and stewardship of the earth. In the creation stories in the Hebrew bible book of Genesis, God's forms, "births" the proto human A-dam from the dust of the earth; in the New Testament scriptures, gospel-writer Luke concludes his genealogy with, "A-dam, son of God." Humanity created in the image of the Creator God, a reflection of Divinity shaped out of the dirt of the ground? Indeed, yes!
As lifestyle and worldview, although they acknowledge the essential integrity of spirit and body, the biblical religions are Spirit-filled yet earthbound, for the most part lived out amidst the world. In fact, Christianity's central proclamation is God's incarnation in the human Jesus of Nazareth, the Divine enfleshed in a finite human body entering history in a most conventional manner, "born of a woman, born under the law" [Galatians 4:4b], then marking days, seasons and years whilst requiring sustaining food and drink, protective shelter, and like all of creation - animal and plant - producing waste matter and ultimately returning to the ground of its origin. God in Christ Jesus needed a sustainable earth and environment in balance with itself and so does every single facet and molecule of creation.
In the New Testament book of Acts, probably authored by the same Dr. Luke as the gospel, as people were gathered in Jerusalem, at that time considered the center of the world, on the Day of Pentecost (a Jewish feast commemorating the Sinai Covenant, "The Law" or Ten Commandments), rushing wind and blazes of fire physically signified the Spirit of Life indwelling all creation with a new, more universal pervasiveness, yet in continuity with the Wind that breathed upon and ordered the chaos at creation's dawn. Martin Luther, the magisterial Reformer (try "meta-Reformer") spoke of the ubiquity of the Risen and Ascended Jesus Christ. What is more, in the Church's sacraments God Self-reveals in creation's commonest stuff, in water, grain and grape, grown, nurtured, sprung and harvested from the heart of the earth.
From the UK, here's an excellent article on rainforests and climate change.
Almost daily we hear about the devastating effects of climate change on polar bears; you can follow World Wildlife Fund's Canon Polar Bear tracker.
The Holy One we know as God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, God of the Prophets, God and Father of Jesus the Christ has experienced the same need for clean water, plentiful produce, fresh air and stable climate as the rainforests and the polar bears.
On my blog for Earth Day 2006 I said a lot I could repeat here for Climate Change Day, including paraphrasing Walter Brueggemann, who says essentially, "Of course the trees clap their hands--no more clear-cutting! Why wouldn't the seas and everything in them roar? No more pollution!"
During early September 2008 for Musical Musings on RevGalBlogPals, I celebrated the relatively recent liturgical Season of Creation emphasis.
The Genesis 9 account of God covenanting not only with human creatures but with all creation describes how God disarms, hanging a bow high in the sky as a recurrent symbol of the covenant of grace and provision.
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, "As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark."Genesis 9:12-13
God said, "This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth."Job 12:7-10
But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being.check out Job 39
and Jeremiah 8
Psalm 104 as well...and concluding Blog Action Day 2009 with a hopeful reminder, a portion of Psalm 104:10-19
You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills,
giving drink to every wild animal; the wild asses quench their thirst.
By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation; they sing among the branches.
From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.
You cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for people to use, to bring forth food from the earth,
and wine to gladden the human heart, oil to make the face shine, and bread to strengthen the human heart.
The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
In them the birds build their nests; the stork has its home in the fir trees.
The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the coneys.
You have made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting.