Free Methodists and Creation Care
Honoring God’s Covenant: Caring for the Earth
Howard A. Snyder
God has an everlasting covenant with His earth, as well as with His people. Since we humans are God’s stewards on earth, called to care for the garden (Genesis 2:15), God’s earth covenant is our stewardship commission. This is particularly true for Free Methodists, called to “maintain the Bible standard of Christianity.”
God’s Covenant with the Earth
The Lord God brings salvation to earth through a series of revealed covenants, culminating in the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus Christ. The first of these covenants, following humanity’s fall into sin and after the flood, is revealed in Genesis 9.
God says to Noah after the flood, “I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark” (Genesis 9:9–10 NRSV). God makes it clear that this covenant is “with every living creature” and is “for all generations.” It is in fact an “everlasting covenant” — true and to be observed throughout all history. God calls this simply His “covenant between me and the earth” (Genesis 9:12–16). All covenants have a sign, and the sign of this covenant is the rainbow.