When Adam and Eve embraced the lie of Satan, the impact of their fall reverberated all through Planet Earth. God designed the earth to be lovingly cared for by people. All of the beauty and resources of the earth were to be under human care for the glory and honor of God. Practically this meant the planet and its resources would be managed well and respected. This gracious command to protect the planet is called the Creation Mandate. But after sin entered into the human race that balance of care and respect was replaced by the unholy combination of abuse and worship. People either abused creation or they deified and worshipped it. Both actions continue to inflict disastrous consequences.
The planet groans under the weight of our sin. Everything was and is disrupted and disturbed. The rivers, the rocks, the fields, the hills longed for the earth to be rescued and restored. Psalm 98 says that the advent brought joy to the earth! The great seas sing the praise of God in anticipation of the coming of the King. Even in this joyful expectation, the creation knows that things are still not yet quite right. Floods, volcanos, earthquakes, and violent storms illustrate this reality.
People continue to violate the Creation Mandate by either abusing or worshiping the earth and her resources. The abuse of the planet is obvious and easily identified. But the destructive nature of planet worship is a little more subtle. By worshipping creation, the earth also suffers. The earth is designed to be cared for in a way that honors God and blesses people. When this doesn’t happen both the earth and all of its inhabitants suffer. Instead of earth’s resources being a blessing they are abused to the point of ruin. The air is polluted, the seas spoiled, the land laid waste. But when the planet is worshipped wildfires burn out of control, disease spreads, human lives are lost, and God is confused with his creation.
The hope of the earth is the same hope of man: Jesus Christ. This Christmas let us join the planet in praising the One who makes all things right:
Let the rivers clap their hands;
let the hills sing for joy together
before the Lord, for he comes
to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with equity. (Psalm 98:8-9)