How would you treat a gift that was custom designed for you?
God thought about humans before creation and designed the Earth with the genius only He could conceive.
There are implications when humans carefully consider creation and find it was built in special ways for them. I claim that there is one mandatory response to that careful consideration: stewardship.
The account of God’s creative acts found in Genesis illustrates that the Creator called the Earth into existence and specifically designed it to be a home for humans. In His perfect omniscience, God had us in mind as He was building our home and considered our every need in His creation. He even had the foreknowledge that we would sin and yet He still designed the Earth in such a way to provide for us.
Consider just how unique the Earth is in our own solar system and compared to any other body in space we have information about. So many characteristics of the Earth are so precise that just a minor change would make the Earth uninhabitable for humans. Take, for example, the planet’s orbit around the sun. The Earth travels at a constant speed in its orbit. This is critical to life because its speed affects the distance from the sun.
If the Earth traveled faster in its trip around the sun, the orbit would be larger and the Earth would end up a greater distance from the sun. Conversely, if the Earth’s speed in orbit was any slower, it would end up being closer to the sun and life as we know it would die. The Earth’s orbit is consistent to about a thousandth of a second.
Note the careful explanation in Isaiah 45:18 “For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the Earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), ‘I am the LORD, and there is none else.’”
One powerful revelation in the Isaiah passage is that God formed the Earth “to be inhabited.” The often-missed concept when believers read the creation account in Genesis is the idea that the Earth – the rest of creation, in fact – was designed with humans in mind – that is, the Divine mind. In his excellent study notes of Isaiah, Thomas L. Constable, Th.D., reinforces this point. “Isaiah’s elaboration on this statement stresses that God’s creative activity was for the welfare of His creatures.” And also, “I think the verse means that God’s intention in creation was not to create something permanently without form but to create an environment for His creatures that He suitably formed for their habitation.”
Supporting this interpretation is the Nelson study series which Constable quotes in his own notes, “The Lord created the Earth ‘to be inhabited,’ not to be desolate…” Though both of these commentaries on the Isaiah passage are trying to deal with interpretation of the Genesis phrase “formless and void,” the application of the idea is that humans were anticipated in the design.
Most people think about water and its importance for human survival and they narrow their thinking to the potable water a human needs to exist on a daily basis. However, that volume of water is a drop in the bucket when we consider the volume needed to regulate the planet’s temperatures. Planetary life cannot be reasonably sustained just because there is enough water to drink for survival. The planet requires massive bodies of water for temperature regulation so it can support human life.
During the day, the Earth’s bodies of water soak up heat; thus, the Earth stays fairly cool. At night, they release the heat they absorbed during the day, which, combined with atmospheric effects, keeps most of the surface from freezing. If it were not for the large amounts of water on the Earth, much larger day and night temperature swings would exist. Many parts of the surface would be hot enough to boil water during the day, and the same parts would go to below 32 degrees at night. Because water is an excellent temperature stabilizer, the large oceans on Earth are vital for life to exist on Earth.
Many farmers have been taught that nitrogen is important for plants. Yet, at a much larger level, the seemingly perpetual nitrogen cycling by soil bacteria is a well-designed meta-system. And all of it had to be put in place at the same time in the beginning in order for life to exist, just as Scripture teaches. Because plant life is dependent on the designed nutrient cycling system, honest scientific observation concludes that life did not emerge millions of years after Earth came into being, as evolution teaches, but that God created life during the same week that He formed the Earth.
What are the implications of these facts? What is the believer’s response and subsequent actions knowing that God created the very place we live? How should we live knowing that the resident systems of the Earth were designed to support us? The implications are many and our reaction as believers is specific. We should come at creation, and therefore agriculture, with a different mindset. What is this mindset?
Consider the answer Elliot Johnson, Th.D., professor of Bible Exposition at the Dallas Theological Seminary, gave when I asked what is mankind’s response to God’s work of creation. He told the congregation that day that man’s response to God’s creation “should be stewardship.” I certainly will not argue with the learned doctor.
About the author: Originally from Nebraska and now living on a 15-acre homestead in Kearney, Missouri, Dan has lived in the Kansas City area with his wife Kelli and family since 2000. A certified permaculture design consultant, Dan teaches adult bible class at his church and works to steward their small landholdings in a regenerative manner. Dan is also the editor of Stewardculture magazine.