John L Anderson
After completing a DipCS at Regent College in 1975, John Anderson obtained an MS in botany from Arizona State University. He worked as a botanist for the US Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service for thirty-five years, the last twenty in Arizona (where he still lives). His primary duties were conducting inventory and managing rare and endangered plants, and providing plant identification on projects. During his work, he discovered several treasures and new rare plant species. John retired on June 1, 2012.
In my career as a government botanist, I have taken Jesus’s words literally: “Consider the lilies of the field.” It has been my delight to study the plants of God’s creation. Since the Hebrews did not have a separate word for nature, I think of God’s creation in direct terms. When I am out “in the field,” I feel as if I am in God’s treasure house (“and the Lord God made all kinds of trees that were pleasing to the eye”). The “field” would feel empty to me if I thought there was not a Personal Creator behind it (“all things were created by him and for him”). At the same time, I do not think that the findings of modern science are opposed to the Personal God and his creation presented in the Bible; they are complementary.
I have heard that the ancient Egyptians worshipped nature and the Romans enslaved nature; but the Coptic Christians in their monasteries revered nature as God’s creation. Their monasteries have been maintained as green oases. As Christians, we should do the same; otherwise, we will misuse creation to our own selfish ends. I hope that my work in conserving rare and endangered plants helps to promote that respectful attitude toward nature and our fellow species (other nations).
Originally published in The Regent World | Spring 2013, Volume 25, Number 1. See here.