Survival of Creation – a comment by Walter Pitman

By Peter Jones

Every faith community has an explanation how we humans found our way to this gorgeous Planet Earth.  Within its literature virtually every faith includes some kind of creation story. Often these are some of the most poetic and inspiring verses to be found in sacred texts, expressed in words of extraordinary power and insight.

These passages are also often quite controversial.  An obvious example is the creation story in the first Chapter of Genesis, the first of the Jewish scriptures– a point of heated debate, ironically, not in the Jewish family but among those of the Christian faith.

As well, these passages arouse the attention of those who find the concept of a single Creator unattractive and – in an age of science and logic – inadequate as not telling us enough. Was there “Big Bang….or a quieter beginning that involved an entire universe?

From the beginning there has been an inexorable linkage of Creation narrative and monotheism, a linkage that required interpretation of the connection between Creator and Creation. Questions have arisen as to the nature of the Creator whose intelligence and ethical behaviour is expressed in both the beauty and ugliness of the natural order.

Much religious expression is around the nature of that Creator and the relationship with Creation. How do we reconcile the Creator’s Divine power and the independence of Creation?

The energy behind “Forourgrandchildren” and its message is consistent with a belief that a benevolent Creator took action many trillions of years ago [if time on that scale can measured by mere human calculation] and that indeed “it was good”.

For the first time in human history the survival of the human species is at risk in the wake of threats to clean air, water and soil that our physical and mental needs demand.  These fundamental needs surely rate higher than the production of goods and services, as important as these may be in our efforts to live decent lives.

We are aware that production and overconsumption have a devastating impact on all species that cohabit the planet with us, and so are placed at risk from our actions.

Even more ironic is the fact that the very biblical verses describing Creation, have been used to justify the domination of humankind over the entire planet and its living treasures.

More recently we have seen stewardship replace domination behaviour except that the word “stewardship” masks what is clearly domination.

We are finally acknowledging our total connectedness to the planet and all its forms of life.  And we recognize the need for restrained, appropriate action that sustains rather than dominates and is in contrast with manipulation for individual rather than collective sustenance. This response is required by a planet that was created finite by forces to which we attribute Infinity.

Indeed, hope for the future assumes that all religious faiths will demand our species play a role as transformed co-creators along with the Divine imagined in those faiths!

It sounds complicated but it deals ultimately with how all of us behave day by day, how much we consume in our effort to achieve contentedness, for example, whether we drive a car or take public transit to get around….the list is endless and simple.

Survival demands moral behaviour that must include adoption of environmental ethics if it is to successfully face the reality of saving the species on a Finite planet with a sustainable lifestyle! These are subjects of conversations in homes around the planet about consumption behaviours, voting for environmental values at elections, all the choices that must come to engage households who are attracted by”.

 More commentaries by Walter Pitman

 Durban Postlude: Moral Issues that did not get discussed!

 Who bears the brunt of climate change

A letter from a concerned Grandparent