How does God think about lawns and lawn care? First of all, we start in Genesis. Page 1 of the Bible. In Genesis chapter 1, God creates the cosmos, including the earth, and in verse 11 we read, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants, etc. The land produced this, and God saw that it was good.” God declares that his creation is good. Furthermore, as the creation story progresses, God creates animals that dwell on the land, nourished by the vegetation growing on the land. And God declares land-dwelling animals to be good also.
Finally in verses 26-27, God creates humankind, and notice how when God creates us he declares that we are unique from the rest of his creation. How so? God says, “’Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
We are created in God’s image. As image-bearers we are unique in all creation. So what does it mean to bear the image of God? It is a bit mysterious, and theologians and bible scholars through the ages have debated its meaning. So I am not going to claim that I have it figured out. Clearly, when we bear the image of God, we should not think that we are equal to God. Image-bearers likely refers to our human ability to reason, to choose, and that we are not nearly as driven by instincts as are animals. For our purposes today, as image-bearers, God gives us at least limited ability to co-create with him. We see God refer to this in the next verse, Genesis 1:28:
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Over the years, this passage has been used incorrectly to suggest that humans can treat creation with disrespect, because, God says we’re in charge and we should subdue it, right?” Instead, God’s desire for us as image-bearers is to co-create with him in a caring way. When God create the world, he saw that it was good. We would do well, then to continue treating creation so that it continues to be good. Christians should be leading the way for environmental concerns. This God-given desire for caring co-creation has wonderful applications to our lawns.
Our lawns can be a source of creative work. Some wonderfully beautiful work has been done in the area of landscape art. You may take pride in their work you do to care for your lawn. It is appropriate, even, to view it as a work of caring co-creative artwork, that you enjoy as an act of worship to God.
As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.” Care for your lawn to the glory of God as one who is co-creating with him.
Photo by Gus Ruballo on Unsplash
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