• Jonathan Deatherage

Humanity's Original Mission

It's the year 2505. Trash mountains have become the landscape. No one knows how to grow food because they’ve bought into a marketing ad by a sports-drink company that told them to use their product, not water, to grow plants. America has become a nation of idiots.

This is the future predicted by “Idiocracy,” a movie produced in 2006 that follows Joe Bowers (Luke Wilson), who in 2005 gets cryogenically frozen, then is forgotten until 2505. Joe was a man of average intelligence when he went in, but over 500 years America got a lot dumber, and Joe lands at the top of the heap when he awakes.

By the end of the movie, you're left to wonder what the world will be like in 500 years if we just keep doing what we’re doing.

For me, I am concerned that the evangelical community isn’t addressing the need to care for the earth (it was the trash heaps and lack of farming in 2505 that wrecked me). Or the odd fact that if we do try to talk about it, we get thrown into a political camp. Sadly, this shuts down any helpful conversation, because then we conveniently shuffle these issues into the realm of political ideologies. 

But what if taking care of God’s earth supersedes politics?

Let’s take this one all the way back to the beginning. God made this vast planet teeming with wild beauty, and humanity’s first mission was to spread out and make it a habitable place. When God created Adam and Eve, he gave them two initial tasks (Genesis 1:28): 

  1. Fill the earth and

  2. Subdue it.

In their innocent state, dependence on God was their mode of operation, so the grand mission would be accomplished in God's timing and in God's way. Therefore, we might conclude that the manner in which they would "subdue the earth" would not be one of domineering, self-aggrandizing control but one of care, humility, and wisdom. (Think of how the Father tends the vineyard in John 15.)

God set our first parents in the Garden of Eden to fulfill their mission and their design: To care for the garden (Genesis 2:15) — in fellowship with each other and in communion with God. 

To that end, I’d love for us to talk about caring for the earth more openly — not as a political issue, but as a human issue.

Christians, of all people, should be looking to resolve the environmental problems facing us today. We, who have been reunited with the Living God, who have his Spirit living within us, who have the hope that one day he will renew all things so that we will live on a New Earth where Christ Jesus restores humanity's God-directed mandate to rule the earth (Revelation 21).

We, like our first parents, are able to walk in fellowship with each other and in communion with God. This should have implications for how we regard humanity’s original mission.

It’s been said, “What we do in moderation, they (those who follow us) will do in excess.” Where do the small decisions we make today lead the generations that will come after us?

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