Tuesday, January 08, 2008

bearing God's image

Last night, as I was preparing for our interactive "devotions" time, on Psalm 8, I was reading most helpful insights on us humans bearing the image of God. Almost everything stood out to me, but among them is the fact that we exercise authority from God, as God's co-regents (or, co-rulers), for God. And we don't exercise dominion over, in the sense of simply doing as we please in ruling over the earth. We are responsible to God in this authority given to us and are to seek to carry out God's will and bidding.

This distinction is important, and there is disagreement among us Christians on this. Some hold to the idea that the earth is under our dominion for us to use as we wish. But I found Dean Ohlman's take in his excellent little booklet, Celebrating the Wonder of the Wilderness (from RBC Ministries) helpful: every species (example: "over 350,000 variants" of beetles) is created by God, and therefore important. So we should be concerned that each should be preserved. Scientists don't know why certain species exist, what helpful function those species might have, but God created them, and so they each have their place, and we as God's co-regents are to exercise God's loving care over them. I think this alone counters well the notion that we can do as we please, plundering the earth for ourselves. Surely, instead, we have to exercise prudent care and use of earth and its resources.

There is much more involved in being God's image bearers, and the book I was reading on Psalm 8 is a good place to start.

What thought might you have on this?

11 comments:

preacherman said...

"When I consider the heavens, the work of your fingers the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him,, the son man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heeavely beings and crowned him with glory and honor."

Ted,
I believe that God is talking about us. We are "sons of man". God made us a little low than the heavenly beings and have crowned us with glory and honor. It is a wonderful thing to think about isn't it brother. One day you brother are going to wear a crown. Paul tells us "I have finished the race, I have kept the faith, now there is in store for me a "crown". We are heirs and co-heir's with Christ Jesus. God he has given us a great resposibility to watch over this earth. The beast of the feild, the cattle, birds of the air, fish of the sea. I believe as Christians we have a responsibiity to take care what God has created. We are to give Him praise, "O Lord our Lord how majestic is your name in all the earth! Give God credit for what he has done. You have set your glory in the heavens. From the lip of children and infants you have ordained praise! Children are able to trust and praise God without doubts or reservations. Watch closely as they sing. How they pray and what they pray for. Ted I know that I have written alot brother. I am sorry but I want to give you my perspective on Psalm 8. I love it. The song is one of my favorites. I will praise Him today from Psalm 8! Thanks brother and God bless.

Kim said...

Very thought provoking, Ted. Glen and I always try to be mindful of how we affect our environment, but Psalm 8 goes a bit deeper into our responsibilities as "co-heirs" with Christ. As with any passage of scripture, however, I believe it can be taken to extremes. Might me being a carnivore and you being a vegan easily be an example of that? ;-)

NaNcY said...

i have sorrow for all that is lost that God had created, for all that must die instead of live, for all that must be in pain instead of good, for all that is in decay that we can stop from decay, for all those that are lost in this, instead of found and brought through. there is joy in Jesus, there is light and hope. God wants us. God wants for us come throuth this place with Him to another place that is being made for us. We must walk in this place with the knowledge that it is not as it was ment to be, and that we can not make it that way. I think that the best we can do is to bring Jesus to others by loving God and loving one another.

Allan R. Bevere said...

Ted:

Yes, thanks for the post.

I am a big fan of the holistic stewardship approach; and we should be good stewards of ALL of life.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Preacherman,
Thanks for that. It didn't seem long to me at all! And yes, I so much agree that we're called to exercise God's loving care over his creation.

Ted M. Gossard said...

haha, Kim. Actually I'm not a full vegan, and Deb had backslidden considerably on that. But for her health she needs to return to it. I feel better eating more that way, as well, though I like a little of everything ("little" in theory, but too often not, in practice!).

Good that you and Glen are not only aware of this, but conscientious about it. Many good Christians are hardly aware of it, and think that what they do or don't do will have no real impact anyhow.

Yes, we need to avoid the extremes. I agree.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
I agree with what you say, and though it may not make sense in a world in which the curse is present and prevalent, we are to still care for this earth. I don't see Genesis 1 dropped because of Genesis 3. And Psalm 8 makes that particularly clear. We're to be witnesses, but part of that is to be what God has called us to be in regard to the good creation, and being good stewards of all he gives and entrusts to us here.

Thanks.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Allan,
Thanks! And agreed! Well said.

I wish my theology of earlier years would have taken that into better account. And I'm still working on it.

NaNcY said...

i will certainly consider this more carefully.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
Me, too. I always have to keep working on things. And for me theologically, this isn't easy.

And what you said is so true; we're to be witnesses of Jesus and the kingdom of God come in him. Witnesses to the new creation in Jesus, though still taking care of what God has given us in creation.

Thanks, again.

Ted M. Gossard said...

If anyone reads Dean Ohlman's booklet- you can download it from the link- he'd be interested in hearing from you any feedback you might like to share.

You can reach him at dohlman@rbc.org.