Thread Bible Podcast with Chuck Quinley

Thread Season 4 Episode 5: Earthland Rises

February 18, 2020 Thread with Dr. Chuck Quinley Season 4 Episode 5
Thread Bible Podcast with Chuck Quinley
Thread Season 4 Episode 5: Earthland Rises
Chapters
Thread Bible Podcast with Chuck Quinley
Thread Season 4 Episode 5: Earthland Rises
Feb 18, 2020 Season 4 Episode 5
Thread with Dr. Chuck Quinley

In this episode of Thread, we witness the dramatic birth of beautiful mother earth herself.
We'll see God's love for this planet. We'll explore God's ongoing living relationship with even the plants, water and soil of this land on which we walk on each day.

And we'll ask the question, "Why aren't more Christians environmentalists?"

Tune in to his episode and see the deep connection between the gospel message and the earth itself. Is the gospel about going up to heaven or reclaiming planet earth?  Decide for yourself after this episode of Thread. 


Music by Ryan Andersen and Ross Schmidt
Ryan Andersen is licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial License.

"Creation Overture": In the Steppes of Central Asia - Alexander Borodin

Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=RL4F28KKJPKWQ)

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Thread, we witness the dramatic birth of beautiful mother earth herself.
We'll see God's love for this planet. We'll explore God's ongoing living relationship with even the plants, water and soil of this land on which we walk on each day.

And we'll ask the question, "Why aren't more Christians environmentalists?"

Tune in to his episode and see the deep connection between the gospel message and the earth itself. Is the gospel about going up to heaven or reclaiming planet earth?  Decide for yourself after this episode of Thread. 


Music by Ryan Andersen and Ross Schmidt
Ryan Andersen is licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial License.

"Creation Overture": In the Steppes of Central Asia - Alexander Borodin

Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=RL4F28KKJPKWQ)

Hi, I'm Chuck Quinley from the Thread Bible Podcast. Last week, as we explored the Bible's account of how the world and humans came to be, we saw God building a defensive perimeter to keep our world safe, and to make ours a life giving atmosphere. Well, in this episode, we witnesse the birth of Mother Earth herself. And we asked the question: Why aren't more Christians environmentalist? Stay tuned.

Welcome to Thread, God's word tying together all the pieces of your life through a verse by verse study of the Bible. In Season Four, we're exploring the bedrock of the entire Bible, Genesis 1-12. Thread Bible Podcast is brought to you by MediaLightAsia.com. And this week, I'd actually like to tell you a bit about MediaLight's summer media missions boot camp. If you're gonna live a life of impact, you need to find your voice, and MediaLight has developed a two week workshop to help you do just that. So come spend two weeks in northern Thailand, we'll have worship every morning, and you'll have professionals help you learn to find and use first of all, your natural speaking voice. And then you'll work to align the message your body is sending with the words you are speaking. And after that, we're going to teach you how to produce professional quality video, using the camera you know best, your cell phone. We don't do selfies here. We're talking about using the rules of photography, and the same apps and gear that are used by filmmakers like Oscar-winning Steven Soderbergh, to get your message across. And we believe in working hard and playing hard. So we'll still take our time to hike to huge waterfalls to navigate a river on one of Thailand's famous long tailed boats. And you can even feed elephants by hand in a nearby village. And we will enjoy one of the world's most beautiful countries together, Thailand. It's all in July. And you can find out more by visiting MediaLightAsia.com/summer. MediaLightAsia.com/summer.

Okay, let's turn to our text for today. Genesis chapter 1. We're going to read verses 9-13. "And God said, 'Let the waters under the heavens be gathered to one place, and let the dry land be seen.' And it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering of the waters he called seas. And God saw that it was good. And God said, 'Let the earth become green, with green shoots, grain sowing seed, fruit trees making fruit after their kind with its seed in it upon the earth.' And it was so. And the earth brought forth green shoots, grains sowing seed after its kind, and trees making fruit with its seed in it after their kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a third day." And that's the Bray and Hobbins Old New Translation of Genesis 1-12, which I highly recommend to anybody who's serious about studying this block of Scripture. All right.

Well, today we're going to learn about four different things, and it's going to take us a while to drill down verse by verse, but if you'll be patient, I think there is a lot of gold for all of us to find here. So let's jump right into it. Okay, what does this passage teach us? The first thing it teaches us is that Yahweh God made this world. He didn't delegate the work. Earth is God's own creation. He is the artisan God, and Earth is his masterpiece. And he has dreamed and plan this world forever. He has ownership of it. This world and it's creatures matter to him, because they are his. He personally created them. And maybe ownership is an important step to something even more important. And that is that, the second thing we'll learn, God loves this world. And every child that goes to Sunday school we teach them John 3:16 early on, "for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should have eternal life and not perish." And God loves this world. He made this world, he has ownership of the world, and he loves this world. And in our study of Genesis, we're not actually yet talking about God loving the humans, you know. We always think of ourselves as the only love God has, but he actually cares for the planet. He cares for the land, the plants, and all of its animals. God has hope for this world, this planet, this place, he feels protective over planet earth. He loves the earth, and he becomes so angry in Genesis. He's just in despair, he's distraught, and he's angry in Genesis 6, verse 10. And he judges the entire human race, and he sends a great flood. Well, what had they done? Well verse 10 says this because of man's behavior, "Now the earth -- the earth -- was ruined before God, and the earth was filled with violence." He's not talking about the social world of humans, he's talking about the planet, the physical place called Earth. God loves the earth. He commanded Israel to let the earth rest every seventh year. A whole year of not being planted, not being harvested, not being mined, not having it surface torn away for us to build buildings. A year, every six years, to let Earth's land, rest. Why? Because he loves the earth.

So if we are made in God's image, and we're made to reflect his heart, then we need to love the earth too. Because being a mature follower of Jesus, being a mature follower of God, simply means that you have decided to love what God loves and to hate what God hates. We should love the earth, not just because we're made in God's image, like it's our duty to love the earth, we should love the earth because Earth is like a mother to us. She is, according to God's judgment, the good earth. Here in Genesis 1, that's what he calls her, she's good. And that means Earth is benevolent toward us. Now, I say she, because the noun Earth in Hebrew is feminine in form. We should love the earth. Here's three more reasons: Number one, her soil is the building material for our physical bodies, not just ours, but for that of all the other land animals, and we return to her soil when our life is over. Second, the stated purpose of our very creation is that we are born to take care of her, and to nurture all the amazing forms of life that nurse from her soil. Third, our continued existence as a human race is completely dependent upon the functioning of the complex systems that sustain all life on this planet of Earth land.

And I just can't understand the puzzling disconnect between environmentalism and Christianity, because it seems to me, like, we who believe the Bible story of creation, and how God loves the earth, God made the earth it's his world. Seems to me, like, we ought to be the world's most avid tree huggers. We should be the natural conservationists. Christians and Jews should be the greenies, the ones picking up garbage, and limiting plastic, and advocating for laws to keep selfish manufacturers from just dumping their poisons into our rivers. And we might as well include Muslims too in the Green Revolution, for that matter, because all three of these faiths take Genesis 1-3 as the story of the world's beginning. Why aren't we in love with the earth? Why don't we stop in our tracks at the end of every day to just watch the sunset? Why aren't our farmers, why isn't a Christian farmer by religious conviction, the very first one to look for a more natural and organic way to grow food? And why don't we, as a religious conviction, always look for ways to pollute less, reduce waste. When was the last time you heard a sermon about caring for the physical world as an expression of our love for its creator? Not because we need it for survival, although we do, but just because it's a way to show love for the creator of this world? Now there are some branches of Christianity, like the Amish, like Mennonites, and I think they have a consistent record of loving the earth and hating war. But for the most part, conservative Christians seem to love bloodshed. Like, vote for every war. And show instant distrust for any group that has a legitimate and an active concern for this planet. It's just so strange that the leadership for taking care of the planet is mostly in the hands of those who don't even believe in a creator.

Imagine you're in a group of three people, you don't know each other all that well. But you're welcomed into the home of a country mama. And we all get settled on the sofa. And she goes to work in the kitchen for two hours. And this woman can cook, I've got relatives, got aunts in Alabama, and man it is.. It's just glorious what they can do in the kitchen. And this woman is like that. So our hostess stews up three kinds of vegetables, she's got fried pork chops and other kinds of meat, and sweet potato casserole, and a plate of steaming biscuits with crispy bottoms and melted butter, slowly running down the top, and she knows how good this is going to taste, and she knows how healthy this food is going to be. And we all sit down and we take a good look at this meal. And we inhale the aroma of it before we eat. And then one of the guests brings to the table is overflowing ashtray. And without a thought turns it upside down and dumps the ashes and cigarette butts over all the food that's been so lovingly prepared. Now I made that story up. But it makes me mad to think about it. And we're talking about the waste of $100 worth of food and two hours of wasted labor. Stay tuned.

What we have done to the earth.. I mean, I've got relatives in Alabama, again, that have fought a long and losing battle against cancer. Simply because of pollution in their land, and pollution in their water from nearby factories. And cancer stats are just, you know, off the chart for the county that they live in. It's a lot bigger than just dumping an ashtray on a meal. As quick as that would be to get everybody at the table riled up, we can trash the earth in such a permanent way, and not seem to think about it. I think we're so stuck on singing "this world is not my home", when we should be singing "this is my Father's world". Actually, let's take a little sidetrack here. Let's take that phrase, "the world". And let's track it just a little bit in the New Testament. Mainly, let's just go to John's gospel because John in the New Testament, the apostle John is so tuned in to Genesis 1-3. He is going to build the gospel of John, he's going to open the gospel of John as though it's Genesis 1. He is lining it up with Genesis 1. When you read the epistle of John, he's going to talk about day one of creation, spiritual light versus spiritual darkness, you can't love the spiritual darkness, and the power of the light, and the light has to get inside of us. And he's got this whole talk in 1 John, about that. And then you go to the last book of the Bible, the revelation, and that's also written by John the apostle. And he's going to talk about the tree of life and he just lines everything up with Genesis. So let's take this phrase "the world". And we know that Paul says "don't love the world", and we know that John says, "Don't love the world", but what "world" are they talking about? Because it's a word that is used in to at least two very distinct ways. And it's not the same thing.

Let's read John 1:10, it says, talking about Jesus, "He was in the world", okay? That's the physical world. "And though the world" -- physical world -- "was made through him" -- "he was in the world, and the world was made through him..." Look at the next part, "the World." And the Bible I pulled this out of how to capitalize, so you'd see the difference. "The World did not recognize him, he came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him." But you can see he's using the world differently. And there's two ways to take it. The first way is the physical planet, this place called Earth is the world. But among the humans, who live on planet Earth, there is a global conspiracy to overthrow God. And this conspiracy is called "the World", and what "the World" is, it's the Babylon system that we'll run into later in the book of Genesis. But it's the system where you use the pillars of society, you take education, government, business, now entertainment and media, and you pollute them, and you use them to draw people away from God, and instead, to be proud, to be carnal, to love material things. And it's a world system that is at war with God.

So when John writes, he was in the world and though the world was made through him, 'the World' (system) did not recognize him, he came to that which was his own (humans or the Jewish nation), but his own did not receive him. Now, let's jump forward, the way John uses it again in 1 John 2:15-17, "Do not love the world." He's talking about the world system, "Do not love the world or anything in the world, If anyone loves the world, love for the father iss not in them. Everything in the world" Now he's going to talk about the world. And he's not going to talk about trees, and water, and mountains. He says, "everything in the world", and here's the list: "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. It does not come from the Father, but it comes from the world and the world and its desires pass away. But whoever does the will of God lives forever." Clearly this is teaching about the organized, global, human, demonic conspiracy against the Creator, and the conspiracy against his will for the earth. About man rising up to throw off God. And we're gonna look at that later. Because it's a huge part of the Bible's message to us in Genesis 1-12, but today, we're just focused on the physical world we live in, and our need to care for it. And to love it.

The Bible witness is, I said, we're going to learn four things today. Number one, God made this world. Number two, God loves this world. And now number three: God has an ongoing, living relationship with even the plants, water, and soil of this land on which we walk, every day. Jesus spoke to the same sea that provided him fish to eat. And he told it to be calm, and it obeyed him. He spoke to a fig tree, and overnight, it died. This miracle is so astounding that it's noted in all three synoptic gospels. (That's Matthew, Mark and Luke) He told his followers they could speak to mountains, the mountains would hear that thing they said, if they didn't doubt.

There was an experiment. You know, anybody who's, like, an avid gardener, a lot of them will tell you you need to talk to your plants. I don't know why. I don't know how it works. But I know that they've done an experiment at an international school. I think it's in Dubai, you can google this, and it was about bullying. And what they did was they set up in the lobby of the school two plants, they are identical plants, they receive identical amount of nutrition. Everything about it they did their very best to make sure they're dealing with equality. They put both of them in a sealed glass box and, a climate control box, and they move them to opposite corners of the room. They receive the same amount of lights and amount of nutrients. But when the students enter the lobby, they go over to the plant. They push a button and they record themselves saying something. To the one plant they, they bully the one plant. They tell it they want it to die, they tell it, it's ugly, they're just mean to the plant. And they, they record that and it keeps playing all day long. They walk over to the other plant, and they tell it that it's beautiful, and it looks great today, and it's green, and they love it, and it's making them happy, and they just bless the plant, and that gets recorded. And as you might guess, the plant that gets cursed dies, and the other one flourishes. And it's just to let students know what happens when you do this to a human, but that they could predictably anticipate that this is going to affect a plant too. That's just so.. It's amazing, because there's a spiritual reality behind the physical world.

It's one of the main teachings of the book of Genesis, is, whatever you want to call it. And you know, a lot of people are scared to go down this track because they don't know where it stops, but I just want to see, what does the text tell me about the world that I live in? And one of the things it clearly says is that there is a spiritual fabric that is holding together this physical world. And God has a relationship not only with humans, but with nature. And one of my favorite examples of this is in Ezekiel chapter 36. This is a time of exile, Israel has been defeated as a nation, they've been carried off into exile. They're living in another country, and the Land of Israel, the cities have been broken down in the war, the fields have been scorched and the trees are chopped down. It's just desolate. And God speaks to his prophet. And he sends Ezekiel and he says this, Ezekiel 36, "son of man, go prophesy" So he's going to send him off on a mission. And he says, I've got an important message for you deliver. Okay, Lord, who do I deliver the message to? And read the next line. "Son of man, go prophesy to the mountains of Israel." Really? Yes, I want you to go out into the mountains, I want you to talk to the mountains. What do I say? Here's a quote of what he's to go say. Say, "mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Sovereign Lord says, The enemy said of you, 'aha, the ancient heights have become our possession.' Therefore prophesy and say, This is what the Sovereign Lord says, because they ravaged and crushed you from every side, so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations. (Because they've been invaded) and you became the object of people's malicious talking slander, therefore mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord, I speak to the mountains and the hills to the ravines and the valleys, to the desolate ruins and the deserted towns that have been plundered and ridiculed by the rest of the nations around you." And this is what he says to them, "you mountains of Israel will produce branches and fruit for my people, Israel, and they will soon come home, I am concerned for you, mountains, and I will look on you with favor and you will be plowed and sown. And I will cause many people to live on you. Yes, all of Israel, the towns will be inhabited, the ruins will be rebuilt. And I will increase the number of people and animals living on you. And they will be fruitful and become numerous. I will settle people on you, as in the past, and I will make you prosper more than before. And then you will know that I am the Lord. I will cause people, my people Israel, to live on you. They will possess you and you will be their inheritance and you will never again deprive them of their children."

You know a lot of people have the idea that the happy place for nature would be if humans would go away, and that the Earth could be left as a wilderness. And no humans would ever set foot on it. But you get an entirely different picture in this chapter of Ezekiel. The picture that you get is that the land was made for humans, and that the land is lonely without humans. That the land likes to be sown, the land wants to bear fruit, the land wants to be part of their life. It wants humans to live on it. It wants children to run barefoot on it. It wants to be tended, it wants to be useful. It wants to be needed. It wants animals to graze there. It doesn't want to be desolate. It wants to be part of the community. I think that's just so amazing. God has a loving relationship, even with the soil with plants and animals, and we should too. We'll be right back.

All right, let's go back to our text, into the third movement of this Creation Overture, day three of creation. Now we're back in the text. As the text opens, all we can see is a boundless black. And the light of God is shining on its surface. And the Spirit of God is hovering over its face. You know, I read this week that if you flattened out all the surface of the earth, you took the whole planet, you rolled it out, like pizza, our oceans, seas, and lakes would cover all the land under two miles deep of water. There's that much water on this planet. So it's something like that. The deep. Miles of the deep, and somewhere down in the bottom of that is the bride. And God calls down into the deep like an announcer, calling for a bride who's offstage and hidden, Let earth land rise, and out of the watery deep, a wondrous beauty emerges and she's clothed in green.

And her beauty rises into the brilliance of his divine light. The earth really is so beautiful, and I've seen a lot of it. I never knew this is what my life was going to be, but I have seen the deep blue sea. I mean deep, deep waters have a color that's nothing like the waters near the shore. I've been able to gallop on horses through a desert in Egypt. I've watched the sunrise on Everest. Sherry and I I spent a slow afternoon in South Africa in one of the prettiest places I've ever seen, which is Franschhoek, South Africa. We just laid on a picnic blanket looking at the mountains and vineyards. Been on snowy peaks in Colorado, stood on white sands and their brilliant contrast with the blue seas in the Philippines. I mean, Isn't she lovely? Every day begins with a gentle, colorful sunrise. And then there's a lingering sunset that stirs breezes. Glory of another day coming and going. A beautiful world. A beautiful world that God has created. And so far, we've learned three things. God made the world, he loves the world, and he has a loving relationship with the land, plants, and all the animals that live on the earth. And now we learn a fourth thing, and that is that God has established the earth as a place of lavish provision for all the humans and animals who would ever live on her.

So Earth rises, seas, you know, like everything you see above land like mountains, the opposite of that is under the water. And there are deep chasms that get filled in with water. And there are underwater volcanoes, above water volcanoes, there's a whole world underneath there. And so God separates the world underneath the sea. And that's one of the glories of learning how to scuba dive, is like, you're on another planet. So the sea world, and then the land rises out of the sea, and the water rolls off. And God says, Let the earth become green, and he clothes the earth in every shade of green and things begin to grow and spread. And there's a list here given in Genesis of some of the things that are growing, and the things that are, like, super important to be growing. And there's sort of a classification system, but it's not the modern linnaean taxonomy for classifying things that we use.

These days. You know, we've got this system of classifying things in nature, according to eight taxa, and you talk about the domain, the kingdom, the phylum, class, the order, the family, the genus, the species. Well, the ancient system used in Genesis doesn't think of it like that. It classifies nature in the way an agricultural society would categorize plant life. According to its usefulness. The first thing that gets mentioned are tender grasses. You know, with all the dramatic beauty that I described before, the thing that never ceases to take my breath away, is simply the color of rice plants when they are tender and young and still surrounded by water. In the paddy, they're translucent. You can see through them, and the light goes through them, and there are green... You know, we can see more color greens than any other color with our eyes, and the greens that are in rice are just amazing. It's so tender and soft. You know, any grass eating animal would love the taste and the tenderness in the mouth of tender grasses. So that's why that's listed first, tender grasses. All the animals are going to love tender grasses. The second thing mentioned are grain plants, wheat, rye, barley, it goes on, rice, you know. One seed, one grain of, for example, one grain of rice, just one tiny little grain of rice, if you planted it, will yield on each stalk 1000 others. I mean, that's 1000 return on every one. So you've got enough seed coming up that you can eat the grain, you can eat it -- which is your seed -- but you can eat the grain and just save some. Replant it. 120 days later, another harvest. it's amazing. Earth arose, pregnant and pregnant with all the seed we would ever need to survive on this planet. It was already there.

And then the bonus, there are trees, trees loaded with food. Breadfruit, apples, oranges, plums, cherries, pomegranates, almonds, coffee, kakao. Plant them one time, and they will feed you for a lifetime. You just put these things in the ground and they grow. And then next year, they produce again, they produce again, they produce again. Maybe a whole generation will eat off the same trees. Not to mention the trees for building our homes. And the metal in the ground for farm tools. Earth land comes to us complete with fertile land and freshwater, and a storehouse of all that will ever be needed to sustain life. And that's the last thing that we're learning is, what a place of lavish provision this planet is.

So today, our Creator holds out to all of us a key to a new way of thinking. We need to change our posture from being, "I am a person of need in a world of lack", and God invites us to say, "I am a child of wealth in a world of abundance". I mean, what would that do to your life? If your internal monologue changed, you know? That talk you have in your mind. What if it changed from fear and anxiety, to a deep settled belief that says, "I am a member of the royal family. I live under the endless provision of the Creator and God of heaven and earth."? Change your mind, and you'll change your life. 

So today, kid, call your mother and tell her you love her. Mother earth that is. I challenge you plant a tree. Plant a useful tree in just the right place and see to it that you water it and care for it as it grows up as a way of connecting yourself again with this world, and spend some time in prayer thanking God and paying attention to the amazing resources of the earth. The good earth, day three of the creation. Hey, if you're enjoying Thread please share it with a friend, also leave a (hopefully) five star review on the iTunes Store. This will help others find the podcast so God's word can plant seeds in them too. Expect God to use you because you are the light of the world.