People are different from all other animals God made.
We sit in front of the television watching nature shows and swoon at the images of baby tigers, baby baboons, baby anythings.
We are wired that way, to love the creation around us.
I walk the path in our little neighborhood and breathe in the fresh air and delight in all the hues of the leaves in a hundred trees. They cover the trees and carpet the ground and they are enchanting.
The two mallards in the pond seem to see nothing but each other and the water around them. They never seem to look around at the glorious landscape and praise God, but simply go their merry way as though the world was built just for them.
We see an animal in distress and our hearts go out to it. No one exemplifies this quality of mercy more than my wife whose heart is touched by every cute puppy, every cuddly kitten, ever shivering animal in need of warmth and food.
This is a Godlike quality. He does this. We do. And no other part of His creation that we have found does it.
The gorilla is tender toward its own baby but not toward anyone else’s. The mare is protective of her foal but not of the kid of the goat born the same morning. The mama bear is legendary in her protection of the babies in her den, but not of anyone else’s. Only we love them all.
God made us this way. It was this way from the beginning.
Then God said, ‘Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth’…. And God said, ‘See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food….’ (Genesis 1:26-30)
It’s the natural order of things. God did it.
Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. (Genesis 2:15).
The conclusion of the matter, according to the Psalmist, is this: The heavens are the heavens of the Lord; But the earth He has given to the sons of men. (Psalm 115:16).
Don’t hurry past that, as I fear most people do. In His Bible commentary, John MacArthur says of this verse, “Strong implications that planet earth alone is the dwelling place of life.”
While that is an interesting observation, I suspect it misses the point. The point is that mankind is the custodian of all that is on the earth. Scripture teaches that God made man “a little lower than the angels” (Psalm 8:5) but superior to everything else on the earth. We know that mankind is possessed by a wisdom and creativity that is light years above that of any other creature on this planet.
I sat on my back deck giving thanks to our wonderful Lord for the trees and for man’s ability to turn the wood from those trees into this deck. I thanked Him for the minerals in the earth and for man’s ability to transform those fascinating elements into the car I drive. For the air I breathe and the way it will purify itself if not overloaded by impurities, and the same with the waters in the ocean.
The sparrows and cardinals came to my feeder while I sat there. They have no thoughts of where the seeds in those holders originated, only that they are there and edible. They partake and fly away. My heart is thankful, for they have graced my morning.
I pray for the birds and the fish and turtles in my pond, asking the Father to nurture them and protect them and show me what to do to help them.
No other part of creation does this as far as can be seen. Only humans seem to care for all of creation.
We are responsible for this earth. That is a sobering, almost frightening, thought. We will give account. And when I see that our President appoints someone to monitor the climate and recommend policies and changes to benefit all humanity, I do not see this as another useless bureaucracy but something with great possibilities for good. I pray so.
We have littered the heavens surrounding Planet Earth with untold thousands of bits and pieces of space junk, leftover from previous flights and satellites and rocketships. And now we are considering sending people to Mars, where eventually we will leave behind trash and garbage and debris.
It is Godly to care. It is God-like to act to work to keep the oceans pure, the air clean, the earth safe. It is God-like to love the critters, as Ellie Mae called them.
“Father, Thy will be done on earth–all of earth, every aspect of earth–as it is in Heaven. Amen.”