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Creation Care Checkup

• Greg Boyd
Guest Panelists: George Johnson

This sermon provides a brief report card on how well humans are doing at caring for God’s creation, specifically as it relates to Earth’s climate.

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In this sermon, Greg provides an introductory overview of how humans are doing in our commission to love the earth and the animal kingdom. He does this in two ways. First, he speaks to five climate realities that have been experienced over the last year. These are drought, fires, flood, the heating up of the Arctic, and refugees that are being displaced because of climate change. Over the last year, we have been faced with historical events in all five.

In the second part of this sermon, Greg invited Dr. George Johnson, a scientist who specializes in the study of climate change, to explain various aspects of the science of climate change. A large part of this conversation focused on how the melting of the Arctic ice is impacting the global temperatures and why this is such a huge issue.

After the conversation with George, Greg concluded with a brief word of challenge and encouragement. He spoke about the pride of man and how the pursuit of power has caused damage to the earth and how scientists like George are now encouraging us to be good stewards of the earth, just as the Bible commanded us to do in the first place. In addition, Greg established the fact that our hope does not lie in the absence of struggle, but in the fact that the glory of God will reign in the end and will outweigh any and all struggles that we face in this life. Our hope lies in God establishment of his Kingdom of love.

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Topics: Creation Care, Judgment

Sermon Series: Sermon on the Mount, Cross Examination


Downloads & Resources

Audio File
Study guide
Group Study Guide
The MuseCast: September 20


Focus Scripture:

  • Romans 8:18-21

    I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

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9 thoughts on “Creation Care Checkup

  1. Mike says:

    Hi. Does Woodland Hills currently have small groups? When during the week are the addiction/recovery groups ?

  2. Vigya says:

    It’s probably been coming brewing for a while but I think this is the point where I step away from Greg and Woodland Hills after well over a decade of feeling like I had steadfast refuge here. I was so invigorated by the boldness of the counter-cultural take against the war-state when so few would call it out ~15 years ago but have become increasingly unable to understand the messaging that seems to fall in line with whatever the state regime proclaims the last half decade in particular.

    I’ll refrain from a diatribe, but sermons like this seem religious but not in a Godly sense of striving for the best while being self-forgiving of missteps but rather simultaneous self-worship of human authority in the form of scientists and self-flagellation to be broadcast across all of humankind.

    Climate mastery, particularly in the last few centuries has enabled the greatest human flourishing in history. In the last century alone, deaths from climate (exposure) are down 98%! Almost exclusively in the poorest regions of the world. And the majority of this decrease is from deaths from extreme cold – via expanded access to heating.

    What even is the optimal temperature for the planet? Why is there a presupposition that the optimal climate was that of a few hundred years ago? I wouldn’t suggest the inferable hubris of attempted exhaustive climate engineering, but the obvious take away from my research seems that an increased temperature of at least several degrees Celsius would optimize useable land and climates suitable to animal life.

    In addition to animal life, what is the ideal for plant life? Research shows around 1,500ppm carbon is around optimal for vegetation (exploited currently in high-tech greenhouses) – so even an anti-human take would, itself, prefer much higher than the 300-400ppm spectrum we’ve seen over the most recent era.

    Lastly, who are we in western countries to deny the same growth in prosperity via low cost power that created the entire modern western world to the bulk of the world living on the cusp of graduating beyond subsistence living? We’ve even learned from our centuries past, fossil fuels don’t have to mean pollution with modern processing facilities.

    I’ll admit my bias as a former resident of a communist state, but this recent trend of latching on to every proclamation by the next iteration of the all-encompassing state regime is bewildering to me – even, as I alluded to initially, it’s from the mouthpieces of the same leaders who pushed the same wars places like WH revolted again years ago but who remain in seats of power with little vocalized, or at least legitimized, opposition.

  3. Jerry says:

    Yigya

    I really appreiciated your thoughts!

    I wrote numerous comments on Dan Kent’s sermon A DIFFERENT KIND OF FIRE with one [#comment-248075], which I believe, aligns well with your thinking.

    Please don’t step away but engage in the creation care conversation.

    Serenity

    “the One who need not be appeased yet requires our conscious contact (with the friendship Jesus modeled) if we’re to receive and give true love and spiritual comfort during earthly life. When we’ve experienced this love and comfort, faith becomes part of the air we breathe. Existential fear then drops away in the space we occupy, our Creator’s heart”

    Such succinct simple eloquence in statement.

    “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    Thanks so much+++!!

    Adding to your “Really appreciated that, and hope so.” consider Revelation 22 as echoed from Ezekiel 47 8-12 .

    The lake of fire is a loaded historical reference to the Dead Sea, the scene of Sodom and Gomorrah’s fire and brimstone destruction.

    Also: Ezekiel 16:53-55 – Consider the reference to fishers in Ezekiel 47 might be a backdrop to Jesus’ “fishers of men” (Matt 4:19; Mark 1:17). Imagine symbolically fishers of people on the banks of what had been the lake of fire.

  4. Andy says:

    I’m curious to know if Greg’s opinion on the one-sidedness of the climate change debate has changed? He wrote a bit in this 2009 blog post:

    https://reknew.org/2009/12/the-scandle-over-global-warming/

  5. Matthew says:

    I sincerely believe that we are living with serious environmental problems because, in short, we have not been good stewards of the earth and its resources. That said, should the church be using its resources to usher in a new environmentally friendly morality? Jesus Christ established the church for the primary and main purpose of professing and proclaiming Him as the crucified and resurrected Lord of all. As someone who leans Eastern Orthodox, I would also add that the church was created to sacramentally offer Christ´s grace — especially in the eucharistic Real Presence. Apparently the church for centuries thought that sacramental spiritual transformation in Jesus Christ was the heatbeat of church life and that it´s Sunday liturgy was to be used for that purpose. Part of me thinks that the apostles would be scratching their head if they went to a local church on Sunday and the centerpiece of the liturgy was a scientist talking about climate change.

    1. Cercatore says:

      Very astute observations Matthew. Remember though, that the world’s population around the time of Jesus’s earthly ministry was around 170 million or possibly up to 300 million (being a generous estimate by some). By mid-November of this year however, we will reach over 8 Billion and counting – Craziness! That’s nearly 27 times as many people to feed and clothe. There potentially just isn’t enough arable land available on the planet to continue to support that kind of population trend. So possibly making it more of an essential part of the overall Gospel message is necessary in this day and age (?) I believe that the ‘Metousiosis’ can and should occur through the ‘Transignification’ of the elements where “The reality of the bread and wine is changed during the mass not in any physical way, but in a way which is nonetheless real, for as soon as they signify the body and blood of Christ, they become sacramental, embodying and revealing Christ’s presence in a way which is experientially real. In other words, when the meaning of the elements changes, their reality changes for those who have faith in Christ and accept the new meaning that he gave them, whereas for those without faith and who are unaware of their divinely given meaning, they appear to remain bread and wine.” – Joseph Martos

  6. Matthew says:

    Hello Cercatore. One can consider any social problem, danger, or cause that might have been centerpiece during the first century, but I still contend the church would not have brought a speaker in to discuss these things during its most holy liturgical time. The early church was certainly socially aware and that same church through its social outreach brought many a man and woman to faith, but it didn´t discuss these things during its Acts 2:42 fellowship time I don´t think.

    I find the Eastern Orthodox understanding of the Eucharistic mystery to be very helpful. It´s really Jesus in body and blood, but we don´t have to argue about the details about how all that comes to pass.

  7. Matthew says:

    Also Cercatore, I am not intimately familiar with Joseph Martos´ work, but it seems he wants to argue that the Fathers of the Church were often wrong in how they dealt with and interpreted Scripture. He opts for a deconstruction and a reconstruction of sorts, especially in the area of sacramental understanding. Sounds very Protestant to me 🙂 🙂

    1. Cercatore says:

      Matteo,
      I think I quoted Martos because I found the way in which he described ‘Transignification’ to be very intriguing in that, in essence, it is the ‘phenomenology of faith’ that we bring to the Eucharist, that determines its ‘Transubstantiation’(a present sentient flesh & blood reality), rather than any single biomorphic physical process debated between Eucharistic theories, i.e.- Consubstantiation, Impanation, etc… “Impanation” always gets me sidetracked and my mouth watering because it’s too close to the word ‘impanato’- which means ‘breaded’ in Italian. I think one way to possibly reforge the Stewardship of the Earth link, is to embrace and to potentially expand upon the ‘Recapitalization view of Atonement’ where not only does Christ undo the wrong that Adam did, but that he reverses the polarity of Creation itself in the Resurrection and beyond. Natural disasters and human evils continue, but His Family constantly grows with each successive generation whether we want to believe it or not.
      Ciao Fratello Mio

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