In keeping with evangelical tradition, we will start by looking in the Bible for scripture that addresses this topic. One of my favorite scriptures which addresses this topic is Jonah 4:11, which says, “Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?” Evidently God does care about the life of non-human creation –specifically animals. Other examples of this can be found in scripture, but we find a particularly interesting pronouncement in Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” So, evidently God does care for humans in a way that is qualitatively different from non-humans.

This is an important lesson to be learned. In addition, we see in Matthew 6:26 that God provides for the needs of the animals as well as for the needs of humans. Animals are dependant upon God for provision, and need Him to meet their needs.

The reason that this question, “Does God care for non-human creation in the same way that he cares for humanity?” is important is because the way in which one answers it will logically affect their understanding of the Doctrine of God as creator, and therefore ecology.

If God cares about human creation more than the non-human creation, then human creation occupies a position of more importance in God’s eyes than non-human creation. If humanity is the most important creation then our view of ecology should reflect that. According to scripture, God as creator has placed a higher degree of importance upon his creation in humanity than that of non-humans. At the same time, scripture is clear that God does care about non-human creation, albeit in a different way.

Therefore, an evangelical view of ecology should allow for humanity to occupy the place of most importance upon the earth. HOWEVER, this does not imply that humanity is free to rape and pillage the land as some have concluded. Genesis 2:15 depicts God as placing humanity in the Garden of Eden “to cultivate it and to keep it.” It may be concluded from this text that God had created humanity with this purpose in mind. Humans are the most valued creation, and fulfill God’s purpose of taking care of the rest of creation. Creation has a purpose of feeding humanity. Genesis 2:16 depicts God giving all the trees and plants to humans as food. We know that this was later extended to all of the clean animals after the fall, as evidenced in Leviticus. One might say that human creation and non-human creation were created to exist in a beneficial symbiotic relationship.

This has massive implications for evangelical Christians. We humans need to make sure that we are living in a way that does not negatively impact the beneficial symbiotic relationship that was intended. This can encompass both the realm of cleaner energy and standards for pesticides and fertilizers in farming. The gigantic ecosystem that is planet earth has been intended to support humanity’s needs for food and living. If humanity’s quest to fulfill its own dream of a “better lifestyle” negatively impacts the mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship that was intended, then humanity may be in danger of losing out on all of the benefits that were intended by God.

2 comments on “Does God care for non-human creation the same way that he cares for human creation?

  • Justin, Although my primary excitement in getting your email tonight was of course the link to Rachel’s baby blog (!), I am SO glad that this link appeared, too, because I had no idea that this was the topic you were researching & writing on! The issue of ecology has recently become of great interest to me (in fact, just yesterday, I wrote a post on my new blog on a very related issue!) so I’ve loved reading what you’ve had to say here! Looking forward to more! 🙂 -Allison

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