Ecology is the endlessly complex network of how every living thing in the world interacts with each other, lives with each other, gives birth, dies, and feeds each other. It describes the way plants and creatures survive in and are shaped by the non-living world. It outlines the lives of the very largest of animals and the most colossal of trees, to the very smallest microorganisms. Take a microscope and just stare into a glob of mud, or (as I do whenever I go there) just plunge your hands into the sand at the beach and lift out a big pile of it, and simply be amazed at how many Sandcrabs living just inches below the surface you can find. It works for me at least.
Indeed the world of living things is incomprehensibly intricate. But all this intricacy is well-designed for the purpose of sustaining the repetitive cycles of generations of life. Add in the tectonic mechanics of the depths of the Earth, add in astronomy, add in weather patterns and the study of atomic structure just to name a few, and the scope of creation becomes too vast for any one person to ever grasp a mastery of.
And the same God who put all these mechanics into motion, who handcrafted each part of it with a specific design, meant for a specific purpose, surely has the same intentionality and forethought for each and every human being He made in His own image. This God who is such a thorough artist would never be careless in the design of a thing separated by the rest of creation, elevated above all other artworks of His and given His image, to not have a wonderful purpose for it.
Know that God sees value in you, not just for what you can provide or for how useful you are, but simply because He made you, and you are His child, and He delights in you. He enjoys it when you spend time with Him, when you talk to Him, when you simply tell Him that you love Him.
Know that God created you because He just wants you to exist, so that He can love you and so that you can love Him. He enjoys observing the specific things about you, the little pieces of uniqueness about you. Just as He put so much detail into the physical, living world around us, so to did He put that in you.
An understanding of the value of a single person carries responsibility though, because we must also recognize each person around us is as valuable to God as we are. This needs to affect the way you view them, and treat them. Might yours and my behavior towards others change if we meditated on the significance of that person to God?
When we realize how much that individual before means to Him, we see that we cannot disregard them, we cannot objectify them, we cannot view them simply as a thing to be used.
Or a thing for us to lust after.
Or a thing for us to pour our rage upon.
Or a thing for us to steal from.
Or a thing for us to abuse.
Every image bearer of The Lord’s deserves dignity, liberty, and respect, and deserves to know how much they mean to God. Everyone deserves to be made aware of the opportunity of a relationship with their God, the one who designed and purposed them. And, everyone deserves the opportunity to recognize the wrongness they have committed, and apologize for it.
Is that something we are prepared to extend to others? Is that something we are committed to sharing? Because, that very thing is actually the mission that Jesus charges us with.
See, we, and the rest of creation were meant to be in a state of unity and peace with God, but this is not a relationship everyone has, because of the disconnect of sin. Sin is all things evil. It is the corruption that infects the hearts of people, and that ripples outwards from there and afflicts the cosmos. This cosmic corruption is the very thing that stains God’s universe and prevents it from being all that is it meant to be, and is the thing that severs the union between us and the perfect God, who cannot be in relationship with evil, or in the presence of something containing evil.
Justice is the principle that everything receives what it deserves, and the only thing evil deserves is destruction. If a person has ever committed an evil act, ever done something wrong, then they are less than perfect and are subject to justice, demanding their death. However, God’s son, Jesus Christ, died to take that death from us, to take our punishment and to cleanse sin from people and from this world. All one has to do to benefit from the act of Jesus is to ask Him to forgive them of their sins. This is described in John chapter 3:16:17
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Know that God has a purpose for you to be part of the work of restoring His universe and other people by healing the wounds they have received from sin, by loving them like Jesus does, and by going to them, and bringing them this good news.
Are you and I prepared to share the knowledge of God’s love with someone, to show them how much incredible value they have in God’s eyes, even after they have hurt us profoundly? Can you and I still look at that person and still see upon them the resemblance of He who’s image they bear?
Honestly, I don’t know how often I could say yes to that.
But denying another person the knowledge of God’s saving grace is not acceptable, and I hope that you and I can, eventually, develop a Godly heart that can without hesitation say yes to that question.