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Did God Pollute the Environment by Creating Oil?

by Reverend Anthony R. Locke

Genesis 1:24-31
English Standard Version

24    And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so.

25   And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

26   Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27   So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

28   And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

29   And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.

30   And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.

31   And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.[1]

Occasionally, people ask me what heaven is going to look like.

I’ve never been to Heaven. I do like to talk about Heaven. Often I feel as though the joy and peace of Heaven drifts into my heart while reading what the Bible has to say about Heaven.

There are two things I always mention when answering the “Heaven” question.

First, we could imagine the best meal ever prepared by our mom or grandma, maybe we could imagine them working together to prepare an Easter feast. We could imagine the best sweet potato soufflé, the best stuffing and turkey, the best green beans and homemade butter biscuits ever tasted, yet the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and all the food enjoyed throughout the rest of eternity, will be better still. I know it will be better because Jesus said that we can’t imagine how much better heaven is going to be.

A good, better, best dynamic applies to all aspects of Heaven. Everything will be BEST.

1 Corinthians 2:9 No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.

No tears, no sorrow, no crying – ever. All will be perfected. Nothing will be mediocre.

Second, Heaven is going to look very familiar to Earth. Why would I say that? Because God didn’t do second rate work the first time He set his mind to the task.

The animals that God created the first time represented His best ideas. God is not depleted of Great Ideas. He can have more. I am sure that He will make some shockingly creative creatures.

What’s guiding my Biblical interpretation is a premises that God will not let the second Creation be less interesting than the first. Obviously, God likes various forms of life.

God likes dinosaurs. He thought they were cool the first time around. They represented some aspect of His glory. They can be listed within His best ideas. The appearance of dinosaurs will make the second Creation feel very familiar to this first Creation.

God likes cats and dogs. How do I know? He created them. They manifest His glory. Would God create a second Creation less interesting, manifesting less of His glory, than the first Creation? Of course not.

So when a child asks me if their beloved family pet will be in Heaven, I say yes. God thought these creatures were good the first time. God isn’t going to change His mind and call His first Creation ideas bad.

Which brings me to our passage and the theme of the sermon. God created and then pronounced it good. It was morally good, it was aesthetically pleasing, it was interesting and exciting. The Creation manifest His glory and it was for our benefit. God nailed it. Everything was so perfectly planned and executed that he gave personal commentary that it was all good.

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

God’s power and Divine nature are revealed within the creation. All things declare His glory. There is no person who has ever lived who can look at the creation and not wish to know and thank God for His goodness, grace and power. A real PERSON designed the whole thing. He designed it with wisdom and understanding. We will be accountable to this person.

Jeremiah 31:35 This is what the LORD says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar–the LORD Almighty is his name!

The creation is a treasure map to the glory of God. We can know His might and goodness by what we experience through our senses, discover in the sciences and find in our exploration. God has stirred up the oceans to crash one wave after the other, and each wave declares the LORD Almighty is His name!

This is His creation. It is perfect. We can’t improve on it. And we should not call what we find BAD. God called it GOOD.

Let me use an illustration, which I am using without any political overtones. This is just an illustration.

God made something that we call oil. It’s in the ground. Some mad scientist with a plot to destroy the world didn’t create oil. Evil oil barons are not keeping secret an alternative to oil. God made so much oil that any country desiring to better themselves can drill and find some.

Under our feet here in America is enough oil and natural gas to power our economy for hundreds and hundreds of years. We are sitting on more oil than Saudi Arabia. And with every year that passes our exploration finds more energy and our technology finds cleaner ways to use that energy.

God placed energy in the creation. God did this. It was God’s idea to stash various forms of energy in the universe for those civilizations wise enough to harvest it.

Let’s think about this historically. Early civilizations used wood fire to cook food. Our parents used coal fire to jump start the industrial revolution. Our generation has burned oil to propel our advancement. The next generation is already using atoms and subatomic particles to fuel their advances.

God created all these forms of energy. The creation is like a treasure hunt where God stockpiled things that will help us. And we have to go after it. We must seek out new medicines, new textiles and architecture which are all hidden in the design of God’s universe.

No one should ever demonize the things that we find.

Verse 26 – God said about humanity, let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.

God blessed our efforts to search our His glory. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.

My sermon today isn’t really about the details of these verses. There are so many wonderful doctrines in the details of these verses. I want us to focus rather on the big picture. There is moral goodness in the creation. God didn’t invent anything which should be labeled evil.

Permit me to be an equal opportunity offender.

Tobacco isn’t evil. You might not want to smoke it for fear of lung cancer, but it is here for a Divine purpose. How do I know? God put it here and called it good! Alcohol is not evil. If you find freedom to drink it to the glory of God is between you and God, but the substance is natural.

We don’t have to be vegetarians to please God. Maybe you are a Vegan for health reasons, but all the creation is here for us to manage for God’s glory and our good.

Did you notice that God spoke twice about our dominion over the creation? That’s not so we can abuse it or pollute it, but that we should see it as here for us. God put Adam and Eve in the Garden for their maximum blessing.

So many organizations in America speak condescendingly of our use of God’s creation. They criticize making electricity with rivers, drilling oil and urban sprawl. It’s as though every other animal within the creation can alter the environment for their purpose and comfort, except humans.

Beavers can block a river, rabbits can kill a tree burrowing for living quarters, lions can take down a buffalo, but woe to the American company that changes the environment for the good of the community. God is not condemning us for using His creation. There is nothing wrong with altering our world, our climate or environment for our comfort and advantage.

Last year the Earth Liberation Front torched luxury homes, SUVs, and tried to burn down a ski resort, costing Americans millions of dollars in damages. Their goal is to protect the environment by destroying personal property. This reflects the Devil’s hatred of humanity.

God called humanity VERY GOOD. Satan hates God’s best creative work. The Devil is working to destroy us at every turn. And some people within our society have adopted the Devil’s view toward humanity. They envision a world where humans leave no carbon footprint or leave no trace of human existence.

These godless groups will strain at a gnat to save an owl, but swallow a camel to allow encourage abortion. I saw a thought provoking picture of an unborn baby with these words, “Imagine me as a tree and save me.”

There are voices to limit the population for fear that there are already too many mouths to feed. Communist countries limit how many children you can have.

And of course there are people like Dr. Martin Haskell who pioneered partial-birth abortions to limit the population even further. Even our president defended abortion by saying “If my daughter makes a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.” Since when is a new person a curse or punishment?

This is a war against God’s image reflected within the creation. The Devil hates humanity for we naturally remind everyone of our Creator. The good and moral dominion over the creation by humanity is constantly criticized because they hate God and worship the creation over the Creator.

In the Fall of 2009 the Environmental Protection Agency officially labeled CO2 a poisonous gas which needs to be diminished from our atmosphere. Everyone exhale. God made us all CO2 producing creatures. I am not exhaling a poisonous gas. I am not polluting by my very existence.

I am tired of the god of this world demonizing and calling a curse the good things that God has made.

We are not committing a sin by unlocking the energy within the creation. We are not sinful for cutting down trees to make paper or build homes. The Biblical model of the family is not a curse on women. The Ten commandments are not an infringement on liberty or free speech.

I was visiting with Marshall and Gloria Anderson two weeks ago. Marshall was joyfully recalling many details of his life, but his face really lit up when he talked about his love for dancing. Can Marshall dance to the glory of God? You bet!

Don’t let the world make you feel false guilt for glorifying God while enjoying this life. Let’s aggressively seek the glory of God through the proper use of things He has left for our benefit. Let’s enjoy our life in God to His glory.

The one thing that this creation will not naturally teach us about is the Gospel.

Jesus entered this creation to save it. It wasn’t so tainted by sin that He couldn’t participate. He lived and breathed and died for our salvation.

And now Jesus is recreating this universe in preparation for us to spend eternal fellowship with Him. That’s the one thing we cannot learn from the creation, that God loves us.

Let’s remember to use this world, every day, for His glory and our good. Amen.

[1]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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