God, nature and well-being

16 October 2019
Comments 9
Category Wild Christian
16 October 2019, Comments 9

And the Lord God had planted a paradise of pleasure from the beginning: wherein he placed man whom he had formed.” Genesis 2:8

Throughout the ages, the Garden of Eden has been depicted, defended and debated. Scholars mostly agree that it is a mythical place but that’s not to say we can’t reflect on Eden and those early days.

One thing is certain – our loving God started the human race in the best place possible: surrounded by trees, plants, herbs, birds, animals and a river full of fish – Eden was teeming with the very best of creation. Being perfect, both Adam and Eve could have a perfect appreciation of this and of its beauty. 

The name Eden is closely related to an Aramaic root word meaning “fruitful, well-watered”. This suitably describes Eden in Genesis 2. Another interpretation associates the name with a Hebrew word for ‘pleasure’, hence the above reference to Eden as a ‘paradise of pleasure’ in the Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible translation. 

We often remember (and sometimes need reminding) that God took a sabbath rest after his hard work. Take note: God also walked about and took time to enjoy his paradise on earth.

And when they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in paradise at the afternoon air, Adam and his wife hid themselves from the face of the Lord God, amidst the trees of paradise.” Genesis 3:8.

Fast forward one chapter and sinful humanity has already corrupted this paradise. Yet God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – are still revealed to us through nature. God’s instructions to care for the land and work it can only be done well when we take pleasure in it too. 

That’s why in every Wild Christian email we’ll be encouraging you to enjoy nature. 

As we explore nature’s positive effects on our spiritual, mental and physical wellbeing, we recognise that the pressures and busyness of daily life mean that we’re increasingly detached from nature. This detachment has negative consequences for wild nature in general and on us: people – ourselves included – simply can’t and won’t rally round to save something they are not really aware of.

The initial invitation might be as simple as going for a walk but as we use that time to pause and realign ourselves with God, God can take such moments to nudge us to better nurture and defend what we are becoming more aware of – a creation groaning and collapsing under the enormous pressures we exert on it.

So let us walk beside the Lord in the cool of the (Autumn) evening; let us re-discover God through His creation and take pleasure in both nature and our heavenly Father. Let us then be spurred on to act more boldly for nature and share with each other our challenges and achievements along the way.

This reflection was written by A Rocha UK’s Communications Officer, Jennifer Jobbins for the Wild Christian October email, ‘Nature and well-being.’

9 responses on “God, nature and well-being

  1. E Taylor says:

    Great reflection! I’m doing an assembly for the middle school about Harvest next week with two others and we’re using apples as our topic. I’m going to do a brief intro about Harvest and how it’s good to be patient and wait for things to come in to season locally. This reflection has been a great source of encouragement for me and I’ll feel more confident about the assembly now. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Althea Wilkinson says:

    This is a lovely reflection – what is it’s intended purpose, other than to make us pause “in the busyness of the day”” and decide to go for a walk later on?
    I was left wondering “what next”. Is this part of a wider study, where you are led on from this either to think how you might involve others, or how you might take other action to improve the condition of the Earth – plant some trees, etc?

    • Jennifer Jobbins says:

      Hi Althea, thanks for your feedback. The reflection is part of a ‘Nature and well being’ themed email for those signed up to receive our monthly Wild Christian email. The email includes other practical actions to help us enjoy, nurture and defend nature.

  3. Jonathan says:

    I’m in my early sixties and have lived almost all that time in cities. I always gravitated to the outdoors when I could. My wife told me that I visibly relaxed within moments of entering the green space of of our simple square of local park.
    I’ve recently left work and find myself living in exquisite countryside rich in wildlife, with the responsibility to care for a few acres of woodland, paddock and garden. I often find myself stopping for a few moments to be grateful for where i am. And yes, I often think of it being a reflection of the garden of Eden and what God wants for me right now. I hope to look after the land for generations to come.

  4. Tracie Philpott says:

    I couldn’t agree more about the increased detachment from nature- thinking about children in particular and older people in nursing homes who are often discouraged from going outside. Food for thought! Thank you.

  5. Hilary says:

    These are some powerful thoughts about the links between our well-being and nature. I really agree. What suggestions do you have to help people in our congregations experience this when we are in an urban context with lots of rubbish and few green spaces? We already are trying to organize litter picking days and a community garden, but I wonder if you have other suggestions that might help more of us connect with nature when there doesn’t seem to be a lot obviously around.

  6. Sam says:

    🍂Well put!🍁

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