“The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.”
This little passage in Isaiah is talking about redemption – when Israel turns and follows God again, when they walk in his Way, even the very creation around them will respond. And why should it not? In Genesis, we see God’s first command to mankind – “multiply, fill the earth and subdue it.” When you’re put in charge of something, your actions have an impact on that something. Hitler was in charge of Germany – look what happened there. When I’m put in charge of cooking the rice, things go equally badly. Humans are in charge of the world – take a quick peek at the news, and you’ll see how things are going with that endeavour!
Clearly we’re doing a few things wrong. Or a million things wrong. How, then, are we to know the right way to go about things? Simple – The Way. Not following? Ok….
It’s all about cause and effect. If I do something, it’s going to have an effect. Every decision I make, from cranking the heater an extra degree to my choice of cereal in the morning is having some sort of wide-reaching effect, on the environment and people all the way across the world (think sweatshops, third-world farmers, etc). So a positive action will garner a positive result, whereas a negative action will garner a negative result. Sound about right? Let’s continue!
For the sake of this little exercise, let’s assume that God is responsible for making the world and everything in it or connected with it. He made the laws of physics, designed human nature. He worked out how things should work, then put us in charge of putting that plan in action. In that fabulous book he gave us, called the Bible, there’s all kinds of pointers on how to go about this – love your neigbour as yourself, don’t steal, etc. So let’s put all our actions into the context of whether they are godly, or ungodly, based on what we find in the Bible or that “gut” feeling. Now let’s look at some of the actions that are screwing up the world, and see if they are godly or ungodly!
- Deforestation – particularly in Amazonian regions, this is essentially stealing. What right do pig-headed White money-hounds have to go and cut down mass amounts of forest, while driving wildlife, and the existing custodians of that land, either away or to extinction? And if you can somehow justify it as not stealing, there’s no getting around God’s mandate to mankind to care for the animals. The result? Whites get richer, natives get poorer/deader, the global environment suffers and the Amazon will likely never recover.
- Unfairly produced clothing – this is a complex issue, indeed! There is the matter of injustice (and God is alllll about justice!), with the poor crying out for help and not receiving it. There is the selfishness of the rich, demanding more and more clothing at cheaper prices, because they think they deserve it. There is the failure to treat one’s neighbour as you would yourself, or to provide clothing for the naked when you’ve got more than enough clothes. Under a godly system there would more give, less take, and ultimately, less waste.
- Idolatory – these days we call it celebrity, and we just can’t get enough. Glossy, full-cover magazines (where does that ink come from, or that paper? Where does it go?), the ever-increasing need for more and better TV’s, never mind the toxic components that go into making them, big-budget films with all the wastage involved in sets and stunts and production and electicity and private jets to send those stars across the world….
- Gluttony – if we could all just stop filling out faces, the global impact would be immense. Think of the greenhouses gases to be saved if we stopped eating meat-filled junk food, or assumed a more healthy diet of fruit and vegetables and grains! They say there is more than enough food to go around, so why do we eat more than our share? What right do we have? What excuse, when children around the world are starving?
These are just a few examples, but they should highlight how a godly lifestyle, if lead by all, would do much to help this dying world. And when we do what we can, God is faithful to do the rest. Even if you don’t believe in God, consider those biblical principles, see that they make sense and out them into action. It’s not like we need any more excuses not to do the right thing.