Are God and science on speaking terms? Do they have anything in common? Or is there simply some sort of stand off between them… science in one corner armed with empirical evidence, God in another enshrouded in mystery? Do scientific efforts negate the presence of a Divine Being or are they interdependent? And what are we to think of those who advocate action concerning care of the earth? Do we hear? Will we heed? Can we heal rather than harm?
When clouds produce thunder, we listen and we take action, do we not? A storm is near, is it not? Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg speaks with conviction but will anyone be convinced to do anything? She thunders in hopes of inciting a response. She is speaking throughout the world. Other youth have joined her in visible protests. And she receives her share of criticism and disregard. Do we listen to these cries for concern on behalf of a planet without a voice of its own?
And if we believe God is in the mix, what then is required of us? It’s easy to say that God is the Creator of earth and seas and sky and all living beings but not so simple to accept responsibility for it all. And that’s the only way to understand Genesis 1. God told the humans to “master” the earth and “take charge” of fish and birds and crawling creatures. In essence, God tells us, “work it all so it all works for you… because that’s the way I’ve designed it.” Are we working it well? Using it wisely? Or overworking it and abusing it? “The whole creation waits breathless with anticipation,” Paul writes to the Romans, “in the hope that the creation itself will be set free.” By our action. Under our management. Because of our stewardship, we who are “God’s sons and daughters.” (Romans 8:19)
Hard questions. No easy answers. Big responsibility. No singular set of shoulders. As leaves and temperatures drop with the advent of autumn, let’s hear and heed the prophet who thundered long ago: “Look up at the sky and consider: Who created these? The one who brings out their attendants [the stars!] one by one, summoning each of them by name. Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” (Isaiah 40:26, 28, 31)