We owe a debt to the environment that has been bearing us since the beginning of time. This debt and responsibility towards nature, the environment we live in, and the creation we live with and among has been appointed to us by God almighty.
For this earth and the vast universe is not ours to consume and exhaust, it is God’s. In the holy words of the Bible,
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” – Psalm 24:1
This reminds us that we don’t own anything of His creation. We are the TRUSTEES and part of the creation and are made responsible to manage and protect something that God has given us.
Let us reflect and examine – how the mankind understood the term “dominion over creation”? How we are taking care of it and using it? And how we are recognizing this God’s gift to us?
2.0 CREATION BELONGS TO GOD AND WE ARE THE TRUSTEES ON THIS EARTH
In Old Testament, Jeremiah complained that:
“this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; they have turned aside and gone away” – Jeremiah 5:23
It is God’s land in which they are stewards, called to work it in the “fear” of the Lord. “Fear” (Hebrew yare) of God is often used in the Old Testament as a synonym for “living in response to God.”
Jeremiah also explains many places in chapters 1-25 and speak of the “pollution” of the land:
“An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule as the prophets direct; my people love to have it so”- Jeremiah 5:30-31
In ancient times — when agriculture was the vast majority of the economy — the pollution of the land was not only an aesthetic loss, but the loss of productivity and plenty.
It was also a rejection of the God who had given the land. In Old Testament prophet Isaiah also prophesized and warned that
“Woe to those who join house to house; They add field to field, Till there is no place Where they may dwell alone in the midst of the land! In my hearing the Lord of hosts said, “Truly, many houses shall be desolate, Great and beautiful ones, without inhabitant. For ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath, And a homer of seed shall yield one ephah.” Woe to those who rise early in the morning, That they may follow intoxicating drink; Who continue until night, till wine inflames them! The harp and the strings, The tambourine and flute, And wine are in their feasts; But they do not regard the work of the Lord, Nor consider the operation of His hands.” – Isaiah 5:8-12
3.0 HISTORY OF MANKIND HAS BEEN DOING THE EXACT OPPOSITE AND DESTROYING THIS GIFT
Today, the world is sending out a cry for help; an SOS to save the earth that has been wrecked because of human consumption and its lack of care for it.
What the world does not acknowledge is that Christian Scripture has been giving out that SOS since the beginning of its textual history.
God has entrusted us, as protectors of his realm, to preserve the earth and care for His creation and hand it down in an even better condition. Nevertheless, history of mankind has been doing the exact opposite.
The world’s creation has been going extremely high rates of extinction of species. We have been treating the earth and all its resources as if it is ours, as if it is limitless.
But to everything has an end, and in misusing God’s gift to humanity in all its resources, not only are we showing ungratefulness to His care for us, but we are also first-handedly destroying this gift.
4.0 CARE FOR CREATION IS TO APPRECIATE GOD’S CREATIVE WORLD
In the Bible we read:
“The son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him, all things were created: things in heaven and on earth… all things have been created through him and for him” – Colossians 1:15-16
We are born bearing the image of God, and in respect to that, we ought to be trustworthy keepers of His earth. Some people believe that to care for creation is to appreciate God’s creative world and to marvel in its glory and creativity.
However, the value of caring for creation entails far greater magnitude. In addition to appreciating God’s creative world, Christians are entrusted to sustain its longevity and wellbeing; with everything that it entails; all the creation that has been brought about by God.
5.0 CARE FOR THE BODIES THAT WE INHABIT
To care for creation is not only limited to the protection of the physical elements of the earth; but living beings as well. To care for animals, protect them from extinction protect their habitat instead of burning down forests and cutting off trees, hence depriving these beings of God’s creation from their homes.
To care for creation is to care for fellow human beings; to support and help the vulnerable and the unable; for aren’t we part of God’ creation, some of us in need of care as well?
And in that thought lies the care for the bodies that we inhabit, for our bodies belong to God as well. One ought not to go about leading life consuming elements which are destructive to the cells of our bodies; to refrain from destructive habits as well.
6.0 SUSTAIN OUR HEALTH AND WELLBEING
God has created us from the mud of earth, and He has made us dependent on the mud, nutrients, light, oxygen, and riches of His earth to sustain our health and wellbeing; and so we need to work, care, and positively build over his earth in order to help ourselves and the rest of His creation to flourish.
In this practice, we recognize God in His creation, one of the highest acts of care in fact; and that is to be responsible, manage, and protect something that God has given us.
The Scriptures have told us to recognize God in His creation; whenever we lay our eyes on a beautiful and creative tree, we remember God’s gift.
Whenever we contemplate the slow inhales and exhales of our intricate lungs; we are meant to recognize God’s gift to us and therefore thank Him, praise Him, and care for His creation.