Fulfilling Christ's call to love God, live in community, and serve our neighbor

God's Possessions, Entrusted to Us

August 2016: Discovering new species – and how we impact the environment

Psalms 104:24 – O LORD, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions…

The creativity of God is boundless and infinite. When we look back over all we humans have been able to understand, predict and even create ourselves, through the application of the gifts and talents that God bestowed on us, the recognition of the power and sovereignty of God comes through clearly in the work of His hand. This work of God is both direct and indirect. And then, when we peer into the infinite unknowable, we further comprehend the majesty and mercy of God.

Yes, we have learned much and are capable of amazing advancements. And yet, there is so much we do not know. We’re not even sure of the basic organization of our universe. Is it a uni-verse or multi-versed? That’s a pretty basic, foundational truth that we do not yet understand. Having spent some time in Asia this summer, the creativity of God was made manifest for me in the magnificent, exotic (to me) fauna and flora.

Even though we have learned much in recent history, we also keep discovering more about God’s creativity. Some scientists predict there are as many as 10 million species yet to be dis-covered or, more aptly, un-covered. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), we have explored less than 5% of the ocean and it covers 70% of our planet. Some feel we know more about the moon than we do about the ocean. One newly identified species uncovered last year is the Lasiognathus dinema, a type of anglerfish making its way in this world in the Gulf of Mexico. It is quite unusual having a specialized fishing pole to hunt for its food.

Sometimes we have things in front of us for a long time before we really see them clearly. Such was the case this year when it was discovered that a species of giant tortoise on the Galapagos Islands, that iconic seat of fecundity that set Darwin to work, is actually two species. The new species has been named the Eastern Santa Cruz tortoise.

And then, every year, we uncover utterly new things that we hadn’t encountered before, like the carnivorous sundew that grows to over 4 feet tall, now named Drosera magnifica, the largest such sundew ever found in the Americas. In fact, botanists classify over 2000 new species every year. In 2015, 2034 new species were described, including one entirely new genus in Namibia. Most of the “new” classifications are “found” in Brazil, Australia and China. The 2034 classifications last year included 90 new species of begonias, 5 new types of onion and a new sweet potato. The largest new classification last year was a massive 150 foot tree in the rainforest of Gabon. God’s creative power is unfathomable.

The annual State of the World’s Plants” report produced by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England, assesses the health of the world’s 391,000 species of plants and this year indicates that 21% of the species are threatened by extinction. You can read the entire report online.

How are we to stop the desecration and destruction of God’s creation, including ourselves? Because of the systemic nature of the challenge, we humans will have to work together. I believe we will have to love one another before we are able to work together for the greater good. As Jesus tells us in Matthew 22: 36-40, we are to love God and love one another. Everything is predicated on these two fundamentals.

Once we love one another, we will be in the state that God always intended. And then, we can hope to be found acceptable in His sight. In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things love. Please pray that all eyes will be opened to the responsibilities we have been given by God to care for his creation. Please pray for understanding of how the legacy of poor stewardship of God’s creation affects all future generations.

Also, please pray to find ways, small and large, to protect and preserve the natural world that God created for us and all future generations.

Psalms 146:6 – Who made heaven and earth, The sea, and all that is in them; Who keeps truth forever.

Submitted by Helen Bushnell Beets for the Earth Stewards Team

More Earth Stewards blog posts