Look Inside: In Awesome Wonder

Added about 11 months ago by Daniel Ruy Pereira

Author PhotoAs part of our August #ThemeOfTheMonth author Daniel Ruy Pereira gives us a sneak peek inside his book In Awesome Wonder and explores what it has to say about a Christian response to climate crisis.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s new report on climate change says we have reached “code red for humanity”. If we do not change our ways, our lifestyles to their cores, we risk climate disaster by the end of the century. Already we are seeing the effects of climate chaos. Extreme weather has been regularly on the news and its effects felt ever closer to us.

What should be the Church’s approach to this problem? A problem that is not only the result of violence towards His creation, but also to humankind – His image – due to exploitation, greed and the pursual of a comfortable lifestyle at the cost of other peoples’ needs.

The following is an excerpt from the book I wrote with Luiz F. Cardoso In Awesome Wonder, where we offer some thought on the matter.

“God created humankind as his representative. Humanity is the only part of creation with a priestly responsibility. Humankind will have dominion over creation. But that doesn’t mean exploitation. It means to rule. And the ruler serves, be that ruler Moses, Joshua, David, Ezra, Nehemiah, President, King, Prime Minister, politician, teacher, manager. Or indeed, Jesus. The good ruler serves the subjects. Sure, the ruler also controls, so that chaos doesn’t ever come back. But he does that with love, care and responsibility—and ultimately with sacrifice.

Genesis is not a science textbook. But it is a manifesto. In Genesis, we learn that all the chaos, formlessness and void in creation can and will be subdued and worked out by God, the creator. Creation is his biggest temple, and it is very good, so he would never abandon it. Moreover, we are his images, his representatives, his priests, who should be taking care of the temple while he is “resting”. In his book Creation Justo González reminds us of that:

Ours is a God who rests, a God who is not always available… There is much Christian preaching that ignores this. We are told that if we want something, all we have to do is pray, and if we have enough faith God will give it to us. This denies and undercuts the sovereignty of God. God is not like a drink-dispensing machine: you put in your coins, and out comes the drink. Such a god is in truth an idol, a god constantly and continually at our disposal, ready to do our bidding.

Like in the Parable of the Talents, in Matthew 25, to some God gave a little responsibility, to others a bit more, and to some others, a lot of responsibility for caring for the vineyard. One day he will come back. He’ll ask us to approach his throne and report back on what we have been doing about it. What will we say? That we took care of his creation? Or that, afraid of him, we let his garden be overrun by weeds and pests? Or even worse: are we going to say that we burned his forests, killed his wild animals, extinguished his birds and killed the marine life so that we could live more comfortably? Are we going to say we took away the identity of people by allowing them to become climate refugees so we could have a comfortable lifestyle?”

The recently published IPCC report on Climate Change puts, without a doubt, the responsibility for climate change on humankind’s shoulders. Indeed, the Bible teaches us that caring for creation has been our responsibility all along – we, as Church, have ignored our responsibility and twisted our role from rule to tyranny. But as children of God, we can repent and, as the Church of Christ, lead the world into reaching the current targets and the new ones to be set in Glasgow this year – for the sake of all creatures that God put in His Garden.

Daniel Ruy Pereira (B.Sc. Life Sciences) is a Christian science teacher in Oldham and the author of the poetry collection Sunset and Blizzard: Experiencing Lent (Resource Publications, 2018). Co-director of Science for the series “In Awesome Wonder” (Connect Methodist Church, Stockport, 2019), sponsored by the Templeton World Charity Foundation and Scientists in Congregations initiative, from St John’s College, Durham.

You have been reading an excerpt from his book In Awesome Wonder: Bridging Science and Faith which was published by Sacristy Press in June 2021. Get you copy here.

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Please note: Sacristy Press does not necessarily share or endorse the views of the guest contributors to this blog.

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