There are rabbit-holes galore in the Biblical study of Creation.
The Biblical narratives are incessant at keeping the significance of the Earth and Creation front and center: The Bible begins with the Creation Story that centers on the notion that God is Creator
The Covenants are clearly conceived as agreements/promises/pledges from God to both Humanity and Creation.
Sin is portrayed as damaging not only to People (and their “spiritual” well being, but also to the land, Earth, Creation.
Salvation means Creation Restored (a book title by Howard Snyder) ; Restoration of that broken relationship that is broken at numerous places all throughout the history of Creation and Israel.
The “rabbit holes” are those “branches” of the expressions of sin/separation that wreak havoc in multiple ways. When it is said that “in [Christ] all things hold together”, we also see how things fall apart when the strands of inter-relatedness fray and fall away. Human relations sour and people shut themselves off from others. Political relationships fracture as people act out of separation and lack of community. Ecological wholeness is a struggle for a system built for balance, reels under the weight of consumerist waste, as we dump our mobility emissions , our non bio-degradable waste, and our industrial by-products. We do everything in a hurry, and everything in bulk.
It is all a ball of fury that runs on our separation anxieties, and fuels the separation in collective fashion, which is now of an unprecedented impact upon the Earth. The impacts are destroying people’s livelihoods and lands. Mostly those who have not built up, as Western societies have, our “protective shields” from “nature”. We “Take” from the world , via what our economic systems’ hunter-gatherer-extractors collect for us, at prices that feed that bottom-line (with plenty of that for the 1%) , while much of the world’s people see their resources sold off and away on ships and planes for our consumption. As a result of this ability of ours to massively extract and industrially produce (along with the resulting waste and emissions) , the sciences are telling us, and have been for 40 years or more, that we are reaching (and assumedly now, surpassed) a tipping point that will result in tidal waves of consequences for the Climate, natural systems, species of all kinds, and our human civilization and its economies.
This cycle of Creation, Fall, and Restoration is as old as the Scriptures. Indeed, the cycle comes from those narratives. The church is tasked with witnessing to the Good News of the Kingdom that this Restoration is “at hand”. We are called to be that City Set on a Hill. It has become apparent that this “City” will have to Sustainable, in order to work within the ecology of God’s good creation. To bail on that task is to be disobedient to the call of Restoration.
We simply must find that opening from our theological traditions to find that realization that our relationship to the Earth is crucial for a Kingdom of God economy to operate. This is the vision of the New Heaven and a New Earth that wraps up the Biblical narrative of Restoration. It’s our work NOW.
(originally titled “The Biblical notion and “Doctrine” of Creation”)