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Who Formed the Earth, Part 2

October 26, 2015

Smog, Shanghai (1993), Source German Wikipedia, Author DL5MDA (CC-BY-SA-3.0-Unported)

In today’s contentious political atmosphere environmental issues are hotly disputed. The Bible though offers us guidance.

Care of Creation

True, the Bible describes man as having been granted dominion over the earth:

Then God said…‘[L]et them [mankind] have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle over all the earth and over every creeping thing…’ ”(Gen. 1: 26).

You have made him [man] to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen – Even the beasts of the field, The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea…” (Ps. 8: 6-8).

Nowhere, however, is man granted permission to destroy the earth. In fact, Genesis describes Adam as having been placed in the Garden of Eden “to tend and keep it” (Gen. 2: 15).

Jesus, Himself, told a parable about talents (Matt. 25: 14-29) [1]. Each servant was given a number of talents (coinage of the day) while his Master was away. Depending on how they used those talents, the servants were later rewarded or punished. Those who used their talents well were commended. But the servant who buried his talent was cast out into darkness.

Dominion and stewardship are two sides of the same coin. We should not delude ourselves that the earth is ours, to use as we please. It belongs to God. He has only lent it to us.

Not so we might worship the earth, at the expense of human welfare.  But rather so we might use the earth to sustain ourselves, our children, and one another.  That implies conservation for future generations.

Delivery for Creation

Because of sin, mankind’s relationship with God was shattered, and the very ground cursed (Gen. 3: 17). As God said to Adam, “ ‘Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you…In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground…’ ” (Gen. 3: 18-19).

Creation groans under the weight of mankind’s sin. Little wonder that pollution and the destruction of natural habitat are widespread; that thousands of species face extinction.  Death, itself, was a consequence of sin.

But from the outset, there was a promise made of Redemption (Gen. 3: 15). In Paul’s words:

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom. 8: 20-21).

Praise by Creation

We are promised a new heaven and a new earth, on the Lord’s return (Rev. 21: 1).

When that day comes, all Creation and all people will join together, and praise God:

Praise the Lord from the earth,
You great sea creatures and all the depths;
Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
Mountains and all hills;
Fruitful trees and all cedars;
Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and flying fowl;
Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;
Both young men and maidens;
Old men and children.

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above the earth and heaven” (Ps. 148: 7-13).

[1] Christ, also, told a parable about vinedressers to whom a vineyard had been leased (Matt. 21: 33-41). The rebellious vinedressers first killed the landowner’s servants, then His Son. The parable was a rebuke to the leaders of Israel about their misuse of the authority delegated to them; their treatment of the prophets; and their rejection (and ultimate crucifixion) of Christ. Though not an “environmental” lesson per se, the Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers (like the Parable of the Talents) suggests that we will be held accountable for the resources placed in our care.

Part 1 in this series was posted 10/18/15


  1. I’m with you there – good stewardship is expected

    • I find it appalling that some politicians take the position that opposing environmental measures is somehow “proof” of their Christianity. In my own view, that is merely proof of their ignorance.

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