Creation Commandments

In these 10 articles by Margaret Barker, Fr Michael Hall responds to their call and offers us a series of ‘Creation Commandments’ to aid our reflection and prayers in the lead up to COP26 and beyond.

In the course of writing my series of articles “Between the Testaments”, it has been my privilege to get to know the work and thought of the Methodist scripture scholar, Margaret Barker.  Margaret has kindly given the “God Who Speaks” initiative permission to republish a series of articles on “Creation” which she originally wrote for the Moravian Church.

These articles – many of which refer to Margaret’s lifetime study of the Jerusalem Temple – are particularly relevant as we approach the UN climate change conference (COP26) which is being hosted between 1st – 12th November at the SEC centre in Glasgow.

We felt that Margaret’s ten articles almost gave us a set of “Creation Commandments”, and that is how we have re-titled each of the articles, two or three of which we shall be publishing each month between now and Christmas.

We have made a few additions to her collection. These include an introduction, an action point and a short prayer at the end of each of these commandments in order to help us prepare for the forthcoming climate change conference. Margaret stands as an example to us in the way that she mines the sacred scriptures for deep truths, but expresses these truths in an understandable and relevant way – not least because she is talking about something of major importance to us all – the future of the beautiful world which God has made.

Fr Michael Hall is a parish priest in the Leeds Diocese.  For over 20 years he was also a teacher and school leader in secondary education.  He is Lead Associate of Barnabas Education Services.

Commandment 1: Put God at the Centre

To begin our thoughts on the Creation Commandments, Margaret draws interesting and surprising parallels between the "Days of Creation" in Genesis, and the structure of the Tabernacle in the desert (the forerunner of the Jerusalem Temple).

Commandment 2:	Restore Unity and Protect Beauty

In this short article Margaret invites us to reflect on the relationship which the Creator God has established between humanity and his creation. This unity is not, however, just between us and nature. Through the created world we enter into communion with the divine Creator, perceiving his beauty, goodness and truth.

Commandment 3:	Keep the Creation Covenant

The relationship which God has established between himself, humanity and the natural world is a covenant relationship. That means that as well as great blessings and benefits, there are responsibilities - and consequences which follow from breaking the covenant.