Posted by: mcgurker | October 18, 2008

Lessons from Noah: Walking with God and Valuing What God Values

Earlier this month a new IUCN report estimated that one in four mammals is threatened with extinction.  For me, this news was shocking.  One of the main factors contributing to this threat is habitat loss or degradation.  We have become so entrenched in our consumption oriented lifestyles that we have jeopardized the earth’s ability to sustain life.  The strongest evidence of this comes from our ravenous energy consumption.  In our fervor for fuel, humans have destroyed and polluted much of God’s Creation and our excessive green house gas emissions have put us on a path were the effects of a changing climate could lead to widespread habitat loss, threatening all species.  According to the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC’s) 2007 report, at a global average annual temperature change of 1°C up to 30% of species will have an increased risk of extinction. Bump that up to 4°C and the IPCC predicts we will see significant extinctions around the globe. 

As Christians, how should we respond to such devastating news?   Reflecting on scripture, especially the story of Noah and the flood, Genesis 7-9 has helped me.  The story of Noah makes clear that God values biodiversity and provides an example of what our response to God’s values should be.  God commanded Noah to take into the ark with him at least one pair of every living creature to preserve the species (Genesis 6: 19-20).  When comparing our actions toward creation with the faithfulness exemplified in Noah who was able to share such close quarters as the ark with other creatures, we inevitably come up short.  The IUCN research points out that we have not even been able to share the entire earth with the rest of God’s creation.  Thankfully, our God is a God of grace and we are constantly presented with the opportunity to, answer God’s call to us made know through God’s command to Noah, to let every living thing “be fertile and increase on earth” (Genesis 8:17).

The story of Noah and the flood, while providing a detailed account of habitat destruction and mass extinction, is also a story of hope.  After the flood, God makes a covenant with the Earth, to never again destroy it through flood and gives the rainbow as a sign of the covenant (Genesis 12-16).  Even now despite the current threats of extinction, hope remains.  The IUCN assessment of the world’s mammals shows that species can recover with concerted conservation efforts.  In a statement about the IUCN report, Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General, said, “We must now set clear targets for the future to reverse this trend to ensure that our enduring legacy is not to wipe out many of our closest relatives.” We, like Noah, must begin to “walk with God” (Genesis 6:9), by showing through our words and actions that we value what God values.

You can begin today by signing on to a letter to the two presidential candidates asking them to make Creation a priority in their administration by working to limit the harmful effects of climate change on all of God’s Creation.  Click here to sign the letter and click here to encourage a friend to sign. Check out our website for more ideas on how you can care for Creation and check back soon because we will be launching a carbon reduction campaign for churches, individuals and youth groups soon!

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Responses

  1. Believing that God is the Creator of the earth there is none better to tell us how to preserve it.


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