Let Creation Rejoice
"Let all creation rejoice before the LORD, for he comes." Psalm 96:13
The Bible is bathed with images of God caring for his creation in all its complexity. Yet in the face of climate change and other environmental trends, philosophers, filmmakers, environmentalists, politicians and senior scientists increasingly resort to apocalyptic rhetoric to warn us that a so-called perfect storm of factors threatens the future of life on earth. Jonathan Moo and Robert White ask, "Do these dire predictions amount to nothing more than ideological scaremongering, perhaps hyped-up for political or personal ends? Or are there good reasons for thinking that we may indeed be facing a crisis unprecedented in its scale and in the severity of its effects?"
The authors encourage us to assess the evidence for ourselves. Their own conclusion is that there is in fact plenty of cause for concern. Climate change, they suggest, is potentially the most far-reaching threat that our planet faces in the coming decades, and also the most publicized. But there is a wide range of much more obvious, interrelated and damaging effects that a growing number of people, consuming more and more, are having on the planet upon which we all depend.
Yet if the Christian gospel fundamentally reorients us in our relationship to God and his world, then there ought to be something radically distinctive about our attitude and approach to such threats. In short, there ought to be a place for hope. And there ought to be a place for Christians to participate in that hope. Moo and White therefore reflect on the difference the Bible's vision of the future of all of creation makes.
Why should creation rejoice? Because God loves and cares the world he made.
"This book shows why The Cape Town Commitment, from the Third Lausanne Congress, Cape Town 2010, was absolutely right to say that 'we cannot separate our relationship to Christ from how we act in relation to the earth. For to proclaim the gospel that says "Jesus is Lord" is to proclaim the gospel that includes the earth, since Christ's Lordship is over all creation. Creation care is thus a gospel issue within the Lordship of Christ.' To be able to make such an affirmation requires that we have a fully biblical vision of what the gospel wholly and actually is, and this book richly provides such a vision with extensive biblical support. It takes us through the whole Bible story, from creation to new creation, and shows how our attitudes and actions in relation to the earth must be shaped by what God has done and will do for all creation through the Lord Jesus Christ. The book presents and explains the sober facts of our present ecological crisis. But, as the title makes clear, it does so not to induce despair, but rather to show how radical and transformative is the hope for all creation that is truly part of the 'good news' of the biblical gospel."
"If your mailboxes, physical and digital, are like mine, they are filled with apocalyptic rantings. Religious groups point to the signs of the end times. Environmentalist groups warn us we must act now, before it's too late. Here's a different message. While not every reader will agree with every perspective in this book, all of us can be provoked by its winsome engagement with tough issues from a biblical perspective. Whatever your position on matters such as climate change, this book will prompt you to think through how your biblical hope intersects with the problems of the day."
"[Let Creation Rejoice] is a marvelously lucid study of Scripture and current ecological concerns. Those skeptical about the magnitude of the threats facing the earth will be challenged by the sober, balanced account of climate change and related issues; those skeptical of Christianity's relevance to such concerns will equally be challenged by the elegant exposition of the Bible's affirmation of the created order. I cannot imagine a more clearheaded and timely treatment of the topic."
"[Let Creation Rejoice] is an extremely valuable addition to the literature and theology of creation care. Where evangelical Christianity has tended to see in eschatology an excuse for avoiding environmental questions altogether, White and Moo take the opposite approach. It is in the hope that is in Jesus' promised return to restore all things that they see our biggest reason for acting now. Yes, we live in an age of potential despair--but what hope there is in these pages. The honest, careful and encouraging exegesis here should bless all who read it."
"This is a book that speaks to a great need of our time, the need for hope that does not depend on illusion. It takes very seriously both science and exegesis. It has the potential to mobilize authentic Christian hope in fearful and perplexing times."
"The authors give a careful and comprehensive scientific analysis of contemporary threats to the environment, such as those posed by climate change. To this they add an extensive discussion of biblical material relating to human hope and responsibility. Many Christians will find this book a helpful approach to serious problems of our age."
"What a wonderful book. There isn't anything quite like it. Biblical scholar Moo and natural scientist White join hands to pen this compelling book on hope--authentic biblical hope--in a time of increasing despair. This book is both an honest and lucid presentation of the ecological challenges before us and an insightful and articulate discussion of important biblical texts such as Romans 8, 2 Peter 3 and Luke 12. I found myself again and again saying, 'That is exactly right' and 'Well said.' Perhaps the highest compliment I can give is that I intend to use this book in teaching my college and seminary classes. Take up and read."
"This powerful book is full of godly wisdom. Jonathan Moo and Robert White have given us an authoritative account of the current scientific data together with an inspirational review of a wide range of profound biblical resources. It is truly important reading for anyone seeking for hope in our troubled environmental times."
"At a time when Earth's environmental problems can seem insurmountable, Jonathan Moo and Robert White present a case for Christians to look forward with both hope and diligence in their efforts to care for God's creation. Their vision of biblical hope does not gloss over the grim realities of the damage that has been done to our world by human destruction, pollution, and overexploitation of resources. Let Creation Rejoice is structured upon the idea that Christians are called to both joy and lament—to a hope based on the promises of God's kingdom and to groaning alongside all creation."
"Reviewing the environmental issues on today's agenda, including climate change, the authors conclude that there are sound reasons for thinking we face challenges of unprecedented magnitude. But they articulate a gospel hope that discourages fatalism and fanaticism alike."
"The mix of environmental awareness and activism with a Christian sense of mission is by no means new, but these authors bring Cambridge credentials, brevity, and an unusually buoyant feeling of faith to their task. . . . This work is written with deftness and care and should exert an appeal to many church groups and individual seekers."
"Let Creation Rejoice serves as a much-needed corrective to divisive discussions on climate change. Moo and White lay out a helpful survey of the current condition of the Earth and the causes of that condition, then go on to explain the biblical perspective and how our future hope speaks into our present situation."
"At the center of [the author's] theology is hope for the future. This makes their approach distinct from someone who cares about our planet but does not have faith in God. It is also distinct from a believer who argues from something other than eschatology. They want readers to know and understand that the problem we face is colossal, but as long as we trust in God there is always hope."
"It is a book about faith and it is a book about the right ordering of creation in the twenty-first century. It is a book all Christians need to read."
"The book offers a hopeful, Christ-centered approach to the crisis of climate change, a welcome contribution to the discussion of one of the most crucial issues of our time."
Chapter 1. Apocalypse Now? Living in the Last Days
Chapter 2. Life on Earth Today
Chapter 3. Global Climate Change
Chapter 4. Why Hope? The Gospel and the Future
Chapter 5. Bringing New Testament Hope Down to Earth
Chapter 6. Cosmic Catastrophe?
Chapter 7. Jesus, a Thief in the Night and the Kingdom of God
Chapter 8. Revelation and the Renewal of All Things
Chapter 9. Finding Joy in an Active and Living Hope
Afterword. Practical Resources