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Redeeming Nature

Stephanie Ria L. Colinco | A Pinch of Salt

While some students enjoyed the suspension of classes for two days in the university, thousands of Filipinos around the country scurried to evacuate from their residences because of rising floodwaters. The heavy rains that fell last week claimed seven lives in the southern part of the Philippines and affected thousands of Filipinos who lost their loved ones, homes, and material possessions. The city most affected by the recent storm was Cagayan de Oro. Two weeks’ worth of rain poured down in a span of six hours. Heavy rain water, unable to pass through their drains because of garbage, left people stranded inside malls and schools. In Dumaguete, knee-high floods and blocked roads and bridges became an inconvenience to people living near bodies of water. It was not even a typhoon that hit this part of the country but a low pressure area and a tail-end of a cold front.

These natural calamities are reminders that even little actions have consequences, especially in the care of the environment. For instance, a single cigarette butt thrown into the gutter can accumulate with other garbage and can eventually cause health problems, if not, cost lives. Nature is God’s way of providing food, air, and other necessities. When He put humans in charge of the rest of His creation, He meant for them to be stewards and not treat the animals, forests, and oceans in whatever way they please. They were put in dominion of other creation not to ruthlessly exploit it for their lavish lifestyles, but to be caretakers of something that they do not own.

It is true that nature needs to be valued, but not to the extent, however, that it is the object of worship; Someone greater is due the honor. That Someone is God who commanded humankind to “save” the earth from abuse and who sustains everything on earth. The environment is the humans’ accountability. The Creator only lent the environment to humans so it is not right to present it back to Him as corrupted, filthy, and untended. Francis Schaeffer, a Christian apologist, puts the Christian’s stewardship duty on nature clearly: “The Christian is called upon to exhibit this dominion, but exhibit it rightly; treating the thing as having value in itself, exercising dominion without being destructive.”

As the only creature made after God’s image, it is a human’s duty to reflect this image through caring for the environment. However, the image of God was marred in humans when sin entered the perfect picture of creation. This resulted in a broken relationship with God, people, and nature. Thankfully, God created a way to redeem humans from their sins by sending His Son to die on the cross. With a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, humans can now be reconciled to God, people, and nature. Therefore, those who follow Christ need to be more caring of the environment than those who profess otherwise, and make it a way to show Jesus’ love for nature, and His even greater love for humans.

Nature, like humankind, was created, but lost God’s original design when the latter fell into sin. As Christ has redeemed humans, so will He also redeem the rest of creation. In His time, nature and its harmony with God and people will undergo complete restoration. In the meantime, it is the redeemed human’s duty to be image-bearers by honoring God through actions consistent with His plan of redeeming nature.

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