Should We Be Tree Huggers?

Joseph Holbrook, Jr.

READ : Romans 8:18-23

Paul describes a day when “the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.” In a sense he is warning us against focusing so much on ourselves that we miss the point that we are part of God’s creation.

Isaiah had the same kind of vision when he speaks in chapter 11:6 of the Messiah’s reign as directed by the “Spirit of the Lord.” The Christ will incline wolves to rest side by side with lambs.

We rejoice in the Psalms that speak of springs and valleys, cedars of Lebanon, birds that build their nests, etc. The psalmist exclaims, “O Lord, how many are your works. In wisdom you have made them all.”

Paul sees us liberated by the Holy Spirit, as the first fruits of this new heaven and new earth. He says both we and the creation groan inwardly for the day when together we will enjoy the fulness of God’s new creation in his presence.

So it’s okay and good to hug trees and conserve our forests. But heaven is much better!


Lord, help us to see the birds, trees, and animals, as bound up with us in the hope of your new world. Thank you for the Holy Spirit, who, in liberating us from evil, has made us the “first fruits” of the coming new earth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.