Campus Link | TENDING THE GARDEN
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TENDING THE GARDEN

THE BIBLE BEGINS IN A GARDEN. We often think of the prohibition (thou shall not) of eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as the first command given to Adam and Eve. But after God had created our first parents, the first command was to multiply, fill, and subdue the earth (ref. Genesis 1.28). Some Bible critics might be quick to point out that the Bible endorses the exploitation of the environment. Though a superficial reading of the text might suggest that, God’s word is teaching us a more profound and a glorious theological truth. When God appoints Adam and Eve to tend the garden (Genesis 2.15), He is appointing Adam to the office of a king (ref. Psalm 8.5,6) to subdue God’s creation as God’s image bearers on the earth. Even after the Fall, this command is reissued (Genesis 9.1). In other words, God has not taken back the command!

SHORTLY AFTER, SIN ENSUED bringing curse, pain, suffering, and death into the world. Humanity must now sweat to cultivate food. Thorns in the field would now constantly remind people of the effects of the Fall. Animals would now start to fear man (Genesis 9.2). All these things signify our broken relationship with God. Paul says in his letter to the Romans, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who (Christ) subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8.20,21).

How is this going to happen? Christ is the answer. He perfectly kept all of God’s law that Adam had failed to keep. He kept the law for us. He was crucified wearing thorns on his head signifying how he took the curse upon himself, died, buried, and resurrected so that he might be the preeminent, and reconcile all things to himself (Colossians 1.18,20). Christ having accomplished everything that was given to him by the Father, He has exalted the Son to be the King as He had promised (Psalm 2.8, Philippians 2.9, Exodus 33.1).

THE THEME OF THE GARDEN occurs in the life of Christ. He prays his high priestly prayer in the garden for the people for whom he came to the world (Matthew 26.36; cf. John 17), he died and was buried in a garden (John 19.41), and when he finally rose again, it is no coincidence that Mary Magdelene mistakes Jesus to be a gardener(John 20.15). There is a reason why John points this fact. Jesus is the new gardener who has taken up the office of King that Adam failed to execute. Christ being the King and the Gardener, is a second Adam figure.

CHRIST BEING OUR REPRESENTATIVE and united with him, we are now kings and Queens (Romans 16.20, Genesis 17.6); we take the mission that God had given to our first parents. We do this by sharing the gospel with people; by tending God’s church and protecting it from defilement like Adam was to protect the garden of Eden. Secondly, we do it by tending the earth God has put us in.
INDIA’S INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION is happening in our time. Economically, we are growing at a high rate. The GDP is on an upward trend due to the freeexchange of goods and services. To say that laying roads have contributed to more trade would be an understatement. As of 2013, we have 11 times more roads than we had in 1951 with 52,31,922 kms of road laid in 2013 alone. This economic growth seems to have come with a cost. We have polluted the air heavily in the process, mostly due to automobiles. A good amount of air pollution is caused by the exhausts from large factories. Let’s not think this is unique in our time or to India. When the industrial revolution happened in Western Europe and the United States, the environment around them was very polluted too. As recent as 1952, the Great Smog hit London and smoke from burning coal, chimneys, and diesel operated public transportation covered the entire city. The visibility was so poor people couldn’t even look see their own feet. Sounds like winters in New Delhi, doesn’t it? This kind of pollution has adverse effects on the health of all those who inhale such unclean air. Thirty percent of the kids in Bangalore suffer from asthma, 43% of school going kids in Delhi suffer from poor lung function, all relating to polluted air. A study by the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that about 570,000 premature death is due to exposure to polluted air.

WHAT IS OUR ROLE, as Christians? Every change begins within an individual first which then extends to her church, then to her society. For the theological reasons I had stated earlier, we have a responsibility in the society we live in. Take care of yourselves. Thankfully, we are blessed to live in a time, unlike during the industrial revolution in the West, we have a better understanding of our bodies and better medication. Since our bodies are God’s temple (1 Corinthians 6.19), we protect it. How could we protect ourselves from the pollution of the outside world? Some of my suggestions would include that we eat healthy, use pollution masks to reduce the dust we breathe, we may have to shower more than once, to maintain our bodies clean, etc. Staying away from pollution is not the same thing as not polluting the environment. Riding the bicycle to a nearby store instead of riding a motorbike or car, carpooling to workplace, using public transportation, avoiding burning plastics. By doing these things it would mean taking a step closer for making our surroundings better. Many of these steps also reflect good stewardship of our time and money.

HELP YOUR COMMUNITY GROW. Educate people about the effects of pollution in every avenue possible. Form a team of like-minded and go teach school children in the nearest school about the effects of pollution, train them with good, healthy habits that you are modeling in your personal life and teach them about the local law concerning the environment, advocate for a law that mandates people to plant trees when they are cut down. The ideas I have suggested are just the starting points to preserving you and the community around you. We who claim to know God through His revealed word, know that this is our Father’s world and we are kept in charge to tend it and blossom it, not abuse it. If the Church doesn’t address the issue of preserving the environment, the vacuum would most likely be filled by pantheism, which is not lacking in our culture. I would like to end by quoting Francis Schaffer who spoke on the same issue saying, “The blood of the Lamb will redeem man and nature together . . . But Christians who believe the Bible are not simply called to say that “one day” there will be healing, but that by God’s grace, upon the basis of the work of Christ, substantial healing can be a reality here and now.”
Fraser J. Daniel, is a doctoral student in Micro & Nanoscale systems at Louisiana Tech University

INDIA’S INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION is happening in our time. Economically, we are growing at a high rate. The GDP is on an upward trend due to the freeexchange of goods and services. To say that laying roads have contributed to more trade would be an understatement. As of 2013, we have 11 times more roads than we had in 1951 with 52,31,922 kms of road laid in 2013 alone. This economic growth seems to have come with a cost. We have polluted the air heavily in the process, mostly due to automobiles. A good amount of air pollution is caused by the exhausts from large factories. Let’s not think this is unique in our time or to India. When the industrial revolution happened in Western Europe and the United States, the environment around them was very polluted too. As recent as 1952, the Great Smog hit London and smoke from burning coal, chimneys, and diesel operated public transportation covered the entire city. The visibility was so poor people couldn’t even look see their own feet. Sounds like winters in New Delhi, doesn’t it? This kind of pollution has adverse effects on the health of all those who inhale such unclean air. Thirty percent of the kids in Bangalore suffer from asthma, 43% of school going kids in Delhi suffer from poor lung function, all relating to polluted air. A study by the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that about 570,000 premature death are due to exposure to polluted air.

WHAT IS OUR ROLE, as Christians? Every change begins within an individual first which then extends to her church, then to her society. For the theological reasons I had stated earlier, we have a responsibility in the society we live in. Take care of yourselves. Thankfully, we are blessed to live in a time, unlike during the industrial revolution in the West, we have a better understanding of our bodies and better medication. Since our bodies are God’s temple (1 Corinthians 6.19), we protect it. How could we protect ourselves from the pollution of the outside world? Some of my suggestions would include that we eat healthy, use pollution masks to reduce the dust we breathe, we may have to shower more than once, to maintain our bodies clean, etc. Staying away from pollution is not the same thing as not polluting the environment. Riding the bicycle to a nearby store instead of riding a motorbike or car, carpooling to workplace, using public transportation, avoiding burning plastics. By doing these things it would mean taking a step closer for making our surroundings better. Many of these steps also reflect good stewardship of our time and money.

HELP YOUR COMMUNITY GROW. Educate people about the effects of pollution in every avenue possible. Form a team of like-minded and go teach school children in the nearest school about the effects of pollution, train them with good, healthy habits that you are modeling in your personal life and teach them about the local law concerning the environment, advocate for a law that mandates people to plant trees when they are cut down. The ideas I have suggested are just the starting points to preserving you and the community around you. We who claim to know God through His revealed word, know that this is our Father’s world and we are kept in charge to tend it and blossom it, not abuse it. If the Church doesn’t address the issue of preserving the environment, the vacuum would most likely be filled by pantheism, which is not lacking in our culture. I would like to end by quoting Francis Schaffer who spoke on the same issue saying, “The blood of the Lamb will redeem man and nature together . . . But Christians who believe the Bible are not simply called to say that “one day” there will be healing, but that by God’s grace, upon the basis of the work of Christ, substantial healing can be a reality here and now.”

Fraser J. Daniel, is a doctoral student in Micro & Nanoscale systems at Louisiana Tech University

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