"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" John
For years this scriptural reference has been seen scrawled on hand made signs behind the goal posts of many NFL (No Fun League) games. Extra points and field goals gave viewers the reminder that God loved so much that He gave.
This single sentence summary of the Gospel declares that God is inclusive not exclusive. He loves everyone, not just certain select groups. That truth has been the backbone of missionary endeavors worldwide. What's intriguing isn't what this verse says, but what it doesn't.
The Gospel authors chose words carefully. Describing Jesus' reason for coming the Apostle John used the word for the cosmos and not humanity. Does this matter?
The Greek word kosmos isn't restricted to our earth and its inhabitants but to all of the ever expanding creation. What do you know, it isn't all about us after all.
The story of creation includes all of outer space: planets, galaxies, stars, moons, sun and our earth. Adam's sin had cosmic ramifications, all of creation took a hit. According to Jewish tradition, in the beginning, God opened Himself up and created a void. In that space He placed His creation inside Himself. If this is so, God must be experiencing the ultimate upset stomach - just kidding-maybe.
Jesus' plan was to save the cosmos but how would He accomplish this? What if He wants to use us? Looking at the condition of earth we don't appear to be the ideal candidates for the job. Its time to change our perspective.
In his book, Healing the Land, author Winkie Pratney posed some thought provoking ideas. If Adam's sin had such devastating consequences on creation, what has been the impact of all mankind's sins going forward? What if those harmless little white lies continue to wreak havoc on creation still? If all sins negatively impact creation which in turn affects humanity directly, is there such a thing as victimless crime?
Recycling and responsible stewardship of earth is necessary but would the most ardent environmentalist be willing to undergo a radical lifestyle change if that's what's really necessary in order to save the planet? Pratney concludes that we cannot expect the blessings of Heaven while living like hell.
Man was originally given earth to care for and to tend, a job we've been marginally successful at. The Bible says all creation is in bondage and groans waiting for the Sons of God to get their acts together and take responsibility. As they do, creation will come back to God's original intent and design. And even in it's perfect state, someone will still have to cut the grass.
How about you? How does the breadth of God's redemptive plan change your understanding of salvation? If our actions, both good and bad, impact all of creation what types of behavioral changes are you willing to make to save our planet and the whole cosmos? How have your ideas concerning the responsibilities of the Sons of God changed?