'Let all creation rejoice before the LORD, for he comes.' Psalm 96:13
The Bible is bathed with images of God caring for his creation in all its complexity. Yet in the face of climate change and other environmental trends, philosophers, filmmakers, environmentalists, politicians and senior scientists increasingly resort to apocalyptic rhetoric to warn us that a so-called perfect storm of factors threatens the future of life on earth. Jonathan Moo and Robert White ask, 'Do these dire predictions amount to nothing more than ideological scaremongering, perhaps hyped-up for political or personal ends? Or are there good reasons for thinking that we may indeed be facing a crisis unprecedented in its scale and in the severity of its effects?'
The authors encourage us to assess the evidence for ourselves. Their own conclusion is that there is in fact plenty of cause for concern. Climate change, they suggest, is potentially the most far-reaching threat that our planet faces in the coming decades, and also the most publicized. But there is a wide range of much more obvious, interrelated and damaging effects that a growing number of people, consuming more and more, are having on the planet upon which we all depend.
Yet if the Christian gospel fundamentally reorients us in our relationship to God and his world, then there ought to be something radically distinctive about our attitude and approach to such threats. In short, there ought to be a place for hope. And there ought to be a place for Christians to participate in that hope. Moo and White therefore reflect on the difference the Bible's vision of the future of all of creation makes.
Why should creation rejoice? Because God loves and cares the world he made.