In the second part of our video interview series with the self-proclaimed “lunatic farmer,” Joel Salatin walks us through God’s plan for creation. He believes God’s plan for us is not one of abandonment, but one of abundance. We are called to be co-creators with God so that humanity might flourish.
Is the world better off without humans?
Salatin begins by dispelling the radical environmentalist myth that the world would be better off without humans. Even though human history is one of “pillaging the earth,” he says “it doesn’t have to be.”
Malthusianism sees man as primarily a consumer, not a producer…but true Christianity casts aside this dark and foreboding view of man and his role in the world. With all its recognition of the sinfulness of man due to the Fall, it also recognizes that God made man to be, like Him, creative and productive… [T]he average person produces far more than he consumes in a lifetime, which is why, by and large, each generation is wealthier than its forebears. Christianity also recognizes that God has given man responsibility not only to cultivate but also to guard the earth (Genesis 2:15)…
God made man in his image to be creative producers rather than just consumers.
But, as Salatin emphasizes, “we’re in this for the long haul.” It’s easy to be short-sighted, focusing on the immediate costs and benefits of our daily decisions. But rather, we must constantly remind ourselves that our daily decisions have long-term, even eternal effects—whether environmental, personal, or spiritual. What we choose to do with our time, talents, and resources today on earth has eternal implications.
We know as Christians we are called to be in the world, not of the world. But it’s common to emphasize the latter part of this concept and brush over the former. We are not of the world, which means the earth is not our eternal home. But what does it really mean to be in the world, to occupy the earth until Christ comes again? Salatin says it means we have very specific responsibilities that matter eternally.
One responsibility of which Salatin is passionately convicted of is our call to creatively leverage God’s abundance. Exercising our human creative capacity means interacting with God’s creation in such a way that brings about abundance and flourishing.
God’s plan for creation: work and flourishing
Salatin says God’s plan for humanity while on earth is to bring it to a place that is better than it was before we set foot on it. The number one tool God has given us to carry out this calling is our work, but what does this mean?
It means taking something unpleasant and making it beautiful, like an artist. It means taking something useless and making it useful, like a mechanic. It means taking something that is sick and making it well, like a doctor or veterinarian. It means taking something that is unclean and making it clean, like a janitor. It means replacing chaos with order, like an event planner. It means building something where there was once nothing, like a construction worker.
God’s plan for creation is for us to flourish abundantly.
Want to know more about Joel Salatin and how he connects faith, vocation, and stewardship? Check our blog interview series with him: