Copyright © 1997, by John Lankford, Fort Smith, Arkansas

     What does it mean to say that God has created according to design? First, it means that something is a direct result of planning and thought. Second, it means that something has arrangement, order and structure. Third, it means that what is created has intents and purpose. This is true in the physical realm as well as in the religious realm. In this article, we will explore God's design in the physical realm. Another article will deal with the religious.


     First, consider the ozone layer. This is a blanket of gas in the upper region of our atmosphere. It filters out harmful rays from the sun. If this blanket is destroyed or gets holes in it, then terrible consequences will result. One such consequence is skin cancer. By ignoring or caring less about the ozone layer, man finds himself working against God's design.

     Second, what is it about green plants that shows design? Here are two:

     (1) green plants are nature's air fresheners. Have you every been in a "stuffy room"? That is because there is too much human exhalent (carbon dioxide) in the room. Green plants (trees, grasses, etc.) all absorb animal exhalent and replace it with oxygen. Green vegetation keep the earth's air at a constant level of oxygen. And this keeps us from living in a "stuffy" atmosphere. So, what if man keeps on with the reckless cutting of trees and clearing out of grasslands? Again, altering the design God set-up will not enhance the quality of life God wants for us.

     (2) There is a psychological power in green. It is a proven fact that the color green acts as a "calmer" for stress. Yes, a person stuck in a busy, slow-moving traffic line can look at a green tree and become calmer. People who work in the stressful office-place will benefit by having lush green plants in their office to look at and gaze upon. Is it any wonder why people want to escape for the weekend and go into the country? Green is God's tranquilizer. Now consider replacing most of the green grass and trees with cold, gray concrete and man-made buildings. Even that statement can raise your stress level. Now, what about those who are active in altering the plan of God by tearing up forests and grasslands to build parking lots and super malls? Not only are they dishonoring God but also harming themselves and the rest of us.

     Third, God made the water-cycle. When it rains in your city did you know that the water came from the ocean? As the ocean moves, water evaporates with the aid of the sun. This water vapor rises above the ocean and eventually forms a cloud. That cloud travels inland to your hometown and drops the water there. The water run-off finds its way back to a river and then back to the ocean to start the process over. During this cycle the water is cleansed and man is able to "catch it" for use. But what is happening? Man is pumping in chemicals into the air (such as sulfur dioxide) that causes acid water to fall out of the clouds. This is "acid rain" and is most hazardous to the well-being of life here. Further, waterways are being used as dumps for all sorts of chemicals. For example, the paper industry has dumped in methylmercury, this has gotten into the food-chain and has resulted in animal mutations. Not good. Some rivers and lakes are actually "dead" as a result of pollution. Disrespect for God's design surely gets us into the ditch.

     Fourth, scientists speak of the earth as an "ecological system." This means that all living things and their environments interact. There is a balance. If one thing is harmed this causes an upset in the balance. This means that all living things have a place in the world. In a sense, this world is a "garden" to be tended and not torn apart (Gen 2:15). Man's greed and vanity has led to the sensless extinction or near extinction of animals (e.g., leopard, tiger). Habitats are destroyed when men want to build "bigger barns." In all this destruction, no respect is given to the fact that God designed the world to be enjoyed and not ravaged for the pursuit of wealth or high fashion.


     First, some act in ignorance. That is, they do not actually know about some of these things. If they did, many would actually change their minds and act accordingly. Education is the key here. A right heart with right facts will result in the right acts.

     Second, some understand but simply do not care. Greed, pride, vanity and self-will are leading factors here. For example, it may be said that it costs too much to clean up the industrial water before it is dumped into the river. Another may say that it takes too much time to plant trees after cutting. Positive economic ends are the goals here and it is hard to get past that hurdle.

     Third, some understand the design but relegate it to a "minor matter" or "just an opinion." When faced with facts we do not like, one way to get rid of the facts is to simply label it as stated above. In this way, we can practice what we want without any strain on the conscience.

     Fourth, some are unwilling to study out the issue. Fear prevents them from being open to the possibility of being wrong. And it is always good to blame our inability to understand on our "pre-concieved notions" or "blind spots."

     Fifth, money sometimes gets in the way of good reason. It is hardly likely that a person who makes a living by selling furs/skins is going to hear anything about the preservation of the leopard, etc. Not many corporate leaders change their minds as much as those who are a part of the public at large. Why? Because if your house, groceries and extras come from the corporation, why "buck the system"? Money makes people blind to truth.


     First, the earth is actually "on loan" to us (Ps 24:1, 2). How do we handle things that are loaned to us? Do we tear it them up? What if you loaned someone your car and it came back with pinstripes on it? Looks pretty but did you ask for such? What if it came back with a fender bent? You're going to be upset. In everyday life we want people to respect our property and we are not pleassed when such is not the case. How does God feel when man does what he does to the earth?

     Second, the key to pleasing God as per the earth today is restoration. That is, mankind needs to work together to restore the land, restore habitat and restore the waterways and air to the original design.

     Third, the key to a proper view of the earth is actually a belief in God and the fact that the earth is His. If He is honored, then His creation will be honored.

     Fourth, every Christian has a responsiblility to be good stewards of the earth.  This means that before a Christian will build or progress, he/she will consider the environmental impact of the thing and work toward good conservation. Further, Christians will have a proper view of hunting, etc. Jesus had fish cooking for the disciples (John 21:9-12). Killing for food and killing just to kill are different things. Killing animals just to project one's own vanity by displaying skins, heads, etc., surely is questionable Christian conduct.


     This article has tried to show that God has a design for the world. And that when the self-will of man interferes with that design by adding pollutants or by subtracting plants, animals or life chemicals, then God is not pleased and man is reaping trouble.

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