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Interesting Implications of the Christian doctrine of Creation (Pt. 3)
October 19, 2014 richardstevenpark

Interesting Implications of the Christian doctrine of Creation (Pt. 3)

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In this third post (of three) on the Christian doctrine of Creation, I shall look at two final implications of this important teaching: (1) that activities which primarily involve the mind are no more “spiritual” than activities which involve the body; and (2) that creation care counts.

 

Before doing so, however, I shall make a final point about the previous blog. It is important to note, even if briefly, that not all differences are differences of value; and this truth applies also to sexual differences. For example, while it may be the responsibility of the mother to play a dominant role in rearing in the child during its earliest months of existence (including those in the womb!), we wouldn’t conclude that therefore women are sexually more (or less) valuable than men. Or, take the somewhat more controversial example of Biblical male headship: even if (!) one were convinced that the injunction according to which men in marriage are accountable to God as heads-of-the-household is biblically justified, one would not be within his rights to conclude that therefore he is more valuable to God than women are. A difference in role does not necessitate a difference in value.[1]

 

Regarding the, the implication that activities of the mind are no more sacred than activities of the body, the words of the great Reformer Martin Luther come ringing to mind:

 

“It is pure invention that pope, bishop, priests and monks are called the ‘spiritual estate’ while princes, lords, artisans, and farmers are called the ‘temporal [secular] estate’. . . . All Christians are truly of the spiritual estate, and there is no difference between them.”[2]

 

So bodily exercise, baking, and business matter just as much as mental exercise, mentoring, and ministry. That material matters matter as much as (for example) ministry has become an increasingly well-established truism within Evangelicalism today. What is less well received is how this truth applies to the rest of creation – which brings me to the final implication: the creation care counts.

 

As important insight regarding the Christian’s responsibility for creation care comes from a renown Biblical commentator, Gordon J. Wenham, whose widely referenced commentary on the book of Genesis makes this point: The author of Genesis would have been familiar with the “[a]ncient [Egyptian and Assyrian] kings [who at their best] were . . . devoted to the welfare of their subjects,” ruling them with great “benevolent royalty” (cf. Wenham, p. 33). Therefore, the message in Genesis chapter one is that, in the same way human persons, being made imago Dei, are to rule or more accurately care for creation, doing so as “benevolent royalty” – i.e., as deputies of God. In other words, the ancient kings ruled with great care those whom they ruled; likewise, all of creation is to be given divine-like benevolent care by us who are the vice-regents, sub-rulers, of our own Benevolent Royalty.

 

I hope that these posts on the Christian doctrine of Creation and its implications have been insightful and helpful to you in your journey. There is so much depth to plumb in the wonderful world of Christian theology, a world which I hope to you now is much more than mere intellectual theorizing: thinking theologically is crucial to living worshipfully. Let us continue to learn of the Lord and his way, as we seek to live with and for him who is the Way.


[1] For more on this point, see Peter Kreeft, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Heaven (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1990).

[2] [5] Martin Luther, “An Open Letter to the Christian Nobility (1520)” (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Library, 2001), http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/modeng/modengL.browse.html (accessed on 24 October 2010).

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