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Because creation matters to God, it should matter to us, authors write

Christians often are reluctant to talk about climate change, even as we are reminded daily of the groaning of creation.

Scripture, however, is clear about our accountability. Whether or not we believe global warming is real, it is vital for us to be aware of the effect we have on this earth.

John Mark Hicks, Bobby Valentine and Mark Wilson. “Embracing Creation: God’s Forgotten Mission.” Abilene, Texas. ACU Press, 2016. 216 pages.

“God created the world as a temple in which to dwell, a place where God and humanity would enjoy each other, delight in the wonder of the cosmos, care for it, and rest within it,” write the authors of Embracing Creation: God’s Forgotten Mission.”

Each of the three authors — John Mark Hicks, Bobby Valentine and Mark Wilson — has training in theology, and Wilson has 36 years of experience in conservation, retiring from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2012. Hicks teaches theology at Lipscomb University, and Valentine is a former minister for the Palo Verde Church of Christ in Tucson, Ariz.

The authors have a deep love for God and his Word — and want us to take seriously our task of caring for creation as God intended.

Our mission is more than saving souls, the authors write, and our goal is more than getting to heaven. Human beings have an important role in the vast order of creation — one that dates back to the Bible’s first words in the book of Genesis.

Though creation is broken, it is still good, they remind us. We find beauty and experience God in sunsets and majestic views. As part of creation ourselves, we also yearn for redemption. The authors encourage us with reminders of how “God communes with us and confirms our hope” through baptism, the Lord’s Supper and the worship assembly.

The book is written in two parts: “The Biblical Narrative” and “Living the Narrative.” At the end of each chapter are a helpful conclusion, bullet points and questions for further discussion, making this book a good candidate for small-group Bible studies.

“Our mission is more than saving souls. And our goal is more than getting to heaven.”

The authors walk us through Genesis 1, creation care and redemption in Israel and then to the promises of Abraham, ultimately fulfilled in the new creation found through Jesus.

One of the main premises is that “creation is the object of God’s redemption through the resurrection of Jesus,” they write. God is creating the new heaven and earth as “an inheritance for redeemed humanity.” The authors remind us that God’s promise to “make all things new” in Revelation 21 means restoration and renewal — when God will once again dwell with humanity.

What does this mean for us now?

The authors drive home that creation belongs to God. We are invited to participate as partners and stewards. Because creation matters to God, it should matter to us, and that is displayed in how we take care of it. As the authors write, “Partnering with God toward the fulfillment of the mission of God is ministry in the Kingdom of God.”

Katherine Gould | In Print

The authors tell us that cultural and religious misconceptions about the changing climate often keep us from speaking up about it. At the end of the book, they offer suggestions and resources on how we may more actively care for creation.

As we partner with God in these efforts, we can “advocate for proper care of God’s creation, help where we can, and in so doing serve as witnesses to good stewardship for the earth God loves,” they claim.

I am thankful for this book and its charge to remember our responsibility for creation.

I believe that many of us think we care, but this book challenged me to step further into loving God’s good work the way he has called us to. I highly recommend “Embracing Creation” for all believers. Read and be spurred to action as we wait for healing and renewal.

Katherine Gould is an educator who works with English as a Second Language students in Lewisville, Texas. A graduate of Lubbock Christian University and Abilene Christian University’s Graduate School of Theology, she has served as a missionary in China and is involved in youth and worship ministry with the Garden Ridge Church of Christ in Lewisville.

Filed under: Bobby Valentine book review creation Embracing Creation God's Forgotten Mission John Mark Hicks Mark Wilson Reviews

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