And God made us to enjoy and care for his world. The picture in the opening pages of the Bible is one in which humanity was intended to extend God’s good order in the garden, to make God's good world more fruitful. Humans were to lead and join with the rest of creation in bringing glory to God through the abundant and thankful enjoyment of all that is good. This means that caring for the non-human created order is actually part of worshipping God since we are allowing creation to give glory to God as he intended.
Many people think of spirituality as downplaying the importance of the physical in favour of the ‘spiritual’. For Christian spirituality, the physical and what we do with it is spiritual, because it is God’s Spirit that brings life to all that lives. Or put another way, matter matters.
“In order fully to access, enjoy and profit from our environment, we need to see it as something that does not exist just to serve our needs. Or, to put it another way, we are best served by our environment when we stop thinking of it as there to serve us. When we can imagine what is materially around us as existing in relation to something other than our own purposes, we are free to be surprised, educated and enlarged by it. When we obsessively seek to guarantee that the environment will always be there for us as a storehouse of raw materials, we in fact shrink our own humanity by shrinking what is there to surprise and enlarge, by reducing our capacity for contemplation of what is really other to us.”
- Rowan Williams, Ecology and Economy lecture (2005).UPDATE: Fixed broken link to RW's article, now that the Archbishop's website has been re-arranged.
Series: I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; IX(b); X; XI; XII; XIII; XIV; XV.