The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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Creation care in a climate crisis | Cultivate

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.



I’m not naturally green-fingered, but I have dabbled in a bit of gardening over the years: think buying a mini trowel with pocket money as a kid, tending to neighbours’ tomatoes to earn extra cash in my teens, and spritzing my houseplants – or, as my mum calls them, my ‘plant babies’ – as a slightly broody 20-something. But creation care isn’t just a wholesome hobby, it’s part of my God-given purpose – and yours, too.

When God created the world, his intention was that humankind would follow his divinely appointed rhythm of work and rest, cultivating and ruling over the garden so that creatures and communities would flourish. But, since most of us don’t hold down agricultural jobs, what does fulfilling the mandate to ‘work’ and ‘take care of’ the land looks like in our daily life?

To recapture the depth of meaning imbued within this verse, let’s return to the original oomph of the Hebrew text. The pairing of the words ‘abad’ (work) and ‘shamar’ (take care) is also used when God established the duties of Levite priests in the tabernacle (Numbers 3:8). Biblically understood, tending to the land is an act of worshipful obedience. In other words, as priests of Eden, we’re to serve, guard, and protect the dwelling place of God – the whole of creation – because that’s the original and ongoing role he’s given us. And so, as we serve and safeguard the land, living in harmony with it and cultivating rather than exploiting it, we become more fully human and bring glory to God.

As fallen people, we’re all part of the problem of polluting and damaging the world. But we’ve also got the potential to grow in our work with and care for the environment, especially amid a climate crisis. Many of us already take active steps to cultivate, maintain, and preserve God’s creation, whether that’s composting food waste, collecting and reusing rainwater, taking a carry-cup when you get coffee on your commute, or being diligent with recycling your lunch packaging in the office.

When we see our friends, families, churches, colleagues, or neighbours fulfilling their God-given purpose in this area, let’s celebrate and support it. That might look like buying organic produce, taking a moment to thank farmers selling pesticide-free produce at a local market, or gratefully accepting your neighbour’s glut of courgettes, making a delicious risotto, and inviting them round for dinner – each a beautiful, God-given glimpse of his kingdom coming to the earth!

Sophie Sanders
Marketing & Communications Lead

In what ways can you fulfil your God-given role to cultivate the land in your everyday life? Join the conversation below.

Join us at LICC on 20 June for Wisdom Lab: Everyday Earthkeeping, where four expert speakers will give TED-style talks on how we can care for creation as part of our everyday discipleship. Leading up to the event, read the accompanying blog series by the speakers, on how we can respond wisely to the climate crisis as followers of Jesus.

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