I came across this wonderful paragraph while reading Surprised By Hope, which has become one of my most-recommended books. This quote makes a lot more sense in the context of the whole book, but I love the way it captures the sense that nature is God’s good creation, here to be lovingly stewarded like a gardener, not exploited. Because when you operate out of a convinced belief that one day God will destroy it all, it’s hard to care about ecology or climate or extinction. I’m so grateful for theologians like NT Wright who critique that kind of belief.
“What we do in the Lord is ‘not in vain’; and that is the mandate we need for every act of justice and mercy, every programme of ecology, every effort to reflect God’s wise stewardly image into his creation. In the new creation the ancient human mandate to look after the garden is dramatically reaffirmed, as John hints in his resurrection story, where Mary supposes Jesus is the gardener. The resurrection of Jesus is the reaffirmation of the goodness of creation, and the gift of the Spirit is there to make us the fully human beings we were supposed to be, precisely so that we can fulfil that mandate at last.”
– NT Wright
Reference: Tom Wright (2007). Surprised By Hope. London: SPCK. Pp. 221-222.