Monday, January 13, 2014

The Intrinsic Value of Nature

As a Christian, I believe that God created the heavens, the earth, man, and all creatures and things that dwell on the earth.  Nature is God’s creation, and that creation points to and glorifies it’s everlasting creator by it’s very presence
This was taken near North Bend, Washington.
in the world.  Evidence of not only nature’s use to man, but also it being used by God can be found all over scripture.  God created this world, and all in it, for a purpose.  As we heard in the chapel video this Monday, “God doesn’t create trash”.  What he makes has worth simply because he has made it.
The opening verse of Job chapter 38 states that God spoke to Job “out of the whirlwind and clouds”.  I thought that this was a very striking image of God using nature to show His glory and majesty.  It was almost as if God wanted to place heaven itself above Job, as if His throne were right there commanding Job’s attention and obedience.  In verse 7, God paints a picture of him creating a world in perfect harmony, and being praised by his creations all the while.  I think that this image of the angels praising God for creating the stars evokes a strong sense that the stars, and therefore the rest of creation, have value in themselves, even before humans were made.
God speaks of the sea being ‘born’ in verse 8, almost making it seem like one living creature.  Verse 14 seems to at the very least imply that humans were the only creation upon the Earth that was given the power of speech, which is something that many scientists have used to separate humans from the rest of the animal kingdom.  Now, we know that other animals, such as the orca whale, have something very close to language.  While I do not have enough information to say whether humans are the only animals with the power of speech, I can have the pious opinion that this verse was being used to illustrate the power and majesty of God through his creation.  I find this interesting, because we, just as the rest of creation, glorify God because we were made by Him.
Chapter 39 of the book of Job begins with God saying that he marks even when the deer and goats give birth.  This shows that God cares infinitely about his creation, and does not forsake even the most remote creatures.  Why should we, as humans endeavouring to follow in the example of our Lord and Saviour, neglect his own beloved creatures?  The answer is that we cannot, not with a full and right understanding of scripture.  We must understand that God gives value to nature, even relieving the childbirth pangs of wild animals, and we ought to give them value as well.
When I was reading Job chapter 9, I got the sense that God has created wilderness, not just the tame creatures that we tend to think of in conjunction with God.  As C. S. Lewis drew the analogy in The Chronicles of Narnia, God is no ‘tame lion’.  God has created the wilds, the tigers and the creeping things, as well as the kitten and the bunny.  This made me remember the transcendentalism and frontier romanticism movements from the age of American romanticism, where people put a heavy emphasis on finding themselves and God in untouched nature.
The more one reads scripture, the more one is lead to the undeniable truth that nature has it’s own intrinsic value, apart from just what human beings need to survive.  We take the Word of God as absolute truth, so therefore we must realize that because God places value in his creation, so should we.  God has placed things in a certain order, and he has placed people in dominion over the Earth.  He has given us the ability to grow to such heights that we have the power to destroy the world, and we need to realize that we have the responsibility to care for nature past what we need to meet our own ends.  Nature can be a help to humans, giving us sustenance, medicine, meditation, and even entertainment, but it has value apart from all of these things as well.


  1. Wait up, girl, how did you get the little reaction thing at the bottom of your blog post?? Also, you need to blog more; it has been way too long, and I miss reading your amazing posts!

  2. Also, how did you get the share thing at the bottom, too? I want both of those gadgets, and I can't find them!