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18th October 2021

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?…

when the morning stars sang together

and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”

Job 38:4,7

These words, from one of the lectionary readings for this week, bracket one of the Bible’s creation stories – but not the one with which you are probably familiar. No days and nights, land and sea, gardens, trees or serpents. This is an engineer’s creation story. A plan was laid out, a foundation was dug, pillars were sunk down and a cornerstone erected. Boundary fences kept out the raging waters around it. And when the world was completed, heaven rejoiced.

The COP26 conference will soon be here. World leaders gathering in Glasgow to talk about climate change. There will be a lot of talk about the economics and who is going to pay for clean and sustainable energy, manufacturing, transport, healthcare (for even the best of intentions can be wasteful). There will rightly be talk of the need for justice, a fair deal for those countries most affected by climate change but least able to pay for its mitigation. The impact of climate change on wildlife habitats must not be ignored, for all that our human needs tend to come to the fore.

And as Christians we have yet one more perspective from which to pray for real commitments to be made at COP26. For there is value in all the wonder of nature just because it is God’s, not for what it provides for us. All that exists is the creation of God – his building, if you like.

Ian Waddington