Theological and scientific leaders of IWU take on creation care issue

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Written by: Shelby Lamb and Alyssa Benson

Student Government Association (SGA) and Creation Care Alliance hosted a discussion forum that centered around the topic of creation care on Tuesday, April 4.

This discussion was part of IWU’s Creation Care week that is taking place April 3-7. An esteemed panel of theological and scientific leaders of the IWU community were asked the overarching question, “when God created the world, how did he intend for us to take care of it?”

The panelists included Jason Runyon, an associate professor in the Psychology department and John Wesley Honors College, Dr. Lexi Eikelboom, the Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in the JWHC, John Lanaken, the dean of Physical and Applied Sciences, Dr. Ken Schenck, interim dean of the School of Theology and Ministry at IWU, and Dr. Grace Miller, professor of biology and director of the Alliance Garden.

Panelists addressed the differentiation we are to have between dominion over and exploitation of creation. The discussion focused on the idea that dominion means to be a giving and creative helper to sustaining all forms of life.

“The way we are to have dominion over creation is the way that God has dominion over us… He wants us to be the best version of ourselves. Our dominion should mirror that same care and love” Eikelboom said.

Schenck and Miller focused on the idea of stewardship, choosing to outline the original design and purpose of being stewards to God’s creation.

The panelist said how culture presents very different ideas of what it means to care for the environment. They sought to connect the purpose of faith-based creation care with the intent of environmentalists. Further, they pointed out the difference between striving to care for the earth as God’s creation, as opposed to human gain.

“The idea of stewarding can either be done in a way that is pleasing to God or a way that is sinful,” Schenck said.

Miller expanded upon the idea of stewardship by using the metaphor of house-sitting for someone on vacation. She said how the house doesn’t switch ownership but rather it is stewarded by the individual taking care of the house.

“A steward doesn’t own it, a steward takes care of it,” Miller explained.

Students from across campus asked questions that addressed what it means to be a Christian and care for creation. SGA President Cam Yoder (sr) spoke highly of the event, as well as Creation Care week as a whole.

“It’s so important to raise questions and awareness just to get students talking…this is definitely a topic that we need to talk more about,” Yoder explained. “So often when we bring up topics like this it would be easy to leave it at that…but it’s taking care of the earth for the Lord.”

Check the Creation Care Alliance facebook page for more information and answers to various questions asked throughout the night.

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