The Beauty of the Earth and All that is in It

I spent Sunday afternoon thinking about water. First my family watched part of Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week”, specifically a show about strange looking sharks. Then we all packed up for a late afternoon drift down the river in kayaks. I could not help reflecting on the Goodness of God’s creation. And experiencing these two events back-to-back helps me to appreciate how complex God’s design (and God) is.

As we sat together watching the show, I was continually struck by how strange creation seems at times. The radical adaptions of life on this planet never cease to amaze me. It was fascinating to see the various types of shark that populate our oceans. And then to travel into the environment of my backyard and see the glories of the commonplace. As we floated down the river we encountered fish, crawdads, and even an eagle. I routinely witness these creatures in their environment, but on trips like this one I can take time to watch them as they live their lives. We watched as an eagle dropped into the river to fish, and we watched as crawdads darted through the water, hoping to avoid detection.

I recently saw the statistics on the explosive population growth on eagles in Ohio and shortly after an article on a new species of crawdad found. So these sightings help me to think about how fragile and precious our natural world is. Watching a show on alien sharks also reinforced the lesson, because among the issues it intended to educate viewers on was how rare some of these sharks actually are. Just before writing this article I listened to a podcast about fishing. The guest reminded me of the pollution levels on Lake Erie in the 60’s and 70’s. He talked about how hard those times were on the Lake and the creatures which call it home. Now I sit and think of my Dad’s stories of boating on the Ohio River in the same time and how polluted it was. How when he was a kid he hardly ever saw a deer or turkey.

I have been blessed deer & turkey have been common company for me in my life. And though eagles were rare when I was a child, now we see them often (and it never gets old). I have been gifted with a life surrounded by creation and this week reminded me of that fact. But even as I am reminded of the glorious creation around me, I cannot help thinking about Genesis 1:28

Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”

So often I hear people talk about this in reference to “be fruitful” or conquer the earth, but when I hear these words I focus on govern and rule. We are charged with governing creation. This week I am reminded that we so often fail to govern creation and we simply dominate it. We often fail to consider our impact on the land, water, & animals around us. As we fail to consider our actions in this world we fail to live up to the standard of Genesis 1:28. This is a failure to live up to our purpose and potential. I am so thankful that individuals a generation or two ahead of me thought to clean the waterways so I can canoe them and see crawdads. I am thankful they thought to protect deer, turkeys, & eagles. But I would be failing if I assumed that somehow the work of protecting and governing creation was done. This work is never done. This work is not for isolated individuals, it is the work of humanity. We must all commit to the care of creation and the protection of the Garden God has left to us.

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