April 22 is celebrated as Earth Day around the world. Millions express concern for and devotion to our planet with religious fervour. It's a call to worship Mother Nature.

I remember the time when, on this secular holy day, the local TV station decided to broadcast the weather report from a beautiful location.

Queen Elizabeth Park, in Vancouver, is stunning, especially when the sky is blue and the sun is shining. The flowers are bright and the view across to sky-line of the city toward the snow-peaked mountains is gorgeous. Mother Nature in all her finery.

So it seemed fitting for the weather forecast for a suitably sunny day to be pronounced as a kind of benediction in this natural cathedral. And the meteorologist's comments were suitably doxological as he shared his good news. He took the opportunity to praise the wonders of nature whose glory was filling all that particular part of the earth.

But as he effused, I was struck by the hollowness of his comments. Being an intelligent man with a strong academic background in what we used to call "Geography" he must have known that not long ago this piece of planet earth would have been wilderness. Lots of shrubs and weeds, but few vibrant colours. And any human being setting foot on that patch of overgrown undergrowth would never have got a glimpse of the blue sky or the glorious snow-peaked mountains across the water. He would have been in the middle of a dense damp forest - more likely cursing the terrain that was so hard to hack a way through than blessing the beauty of an open vista.

All of which leads to the conclusion that Queen Elizabeth Park is not a testimony to the wonders of Mother Nature. It is a testimony to the industry and creativity of man working with the magnificent raw materials that Father God created for us to delight in and take dominion over to His glory. Without God there would have been nothing beautiful at all. Without man, the unique beauty of that particular spot would still have been an undeveloped and unattractive wooded area indistinguishable from countless acres of identical wilderness. It takes a landscaper to create a landscape. And the landscaper needs some land to work with. Praise be to God the land-creator and wow to man-in-His-image, the landscaper!

G.K.Chersterton was right when he said of the rolling hills of the English countryside,
It is not only nonsense but blasphemy to say that mans has spoiled the country. Man has created the country; it was his business in the image of God. (The Furrows, in 'Alarms and Discursions') 
He would have said the same of Vancouver.

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