Perhaps the reason so many of us enjoy gardening is because God planted a very “good” garden “eastward in Eden” and turned its stewardship over to humanity ! (Genesis 1:10-12; 2:8,9,15; 3:18)
April 22nd has been observed as “Earth Day” in the United States since 1970. Although long standing, conflicting ideas about humanity’s responsibility for the environment vary (from a “Who cares?” attitude, or a utilitarian approach in which resources are garnered and used for profit and prosperity, to environmental worship) the resultant slowdown in human and economic activity during this pandemic has demonstrated that human actions cause measurable changes in the quality of our air and water.
Regardless of how one views the Biblical narrative of creation, it is much more than an ancient story. It holds profound implications about human stewardship of the earth. Detailed discussion is far beyond the scope of this little blog, but a few basic points might generate some thinking on this subject:
1.God is creator of heaven and earth (Genesis 1:1) 2. God pronounced His creation to be “very good.”(Genesis 1:31) 3.Creation declares God’s nature and magnifies His glory (Psalm 19:1;Psalm 97:6;Romans 2:18) 2:18) 4.Creation belongs to God alone. Humans are only travelers walking through time under God’s authority. (Psalm90:10)(Ps24:1) 5.God created man to share God’s character and to display His glory, and He appointed man to care for creation and to have dominion over it (Genesis 2:8,9,15,19-20; 3:18) (Psalm 24) 6. Because man corrupted the goodness and power and image given Him, he has a broken, fallen relationship with God and lives in a world corrupted by sin, disease and disaster. (Genesis 3:6-23) 7. In spite of humanity’s rebellion, God loves mankind so much that He provided a means of redemption, reconciliation, and spiritual renewal for man and for ultimate restoration of all of creation. (John 3:16)(1 John 4:9-11) (Romans 8:20-23)
If God values the world and the people in it that much, shouldn’t we also? Although solutions to earth’s sustainability and livability may be complex and complicated by selfishness, pride, politics, corruption, physical confrontations, geographical and geological boundaries, prejudices, and spiritual warfare, a sincere love for God and caring attentiveness to what He has given us and to those with whom we share this planet would be a great start toward preserving life and fulfilling the mandate of the moral Law. People of faith should have a stewardship perspective that goes far beyond religious tradition and ritual. Christ spoke forthrightly to religious leaders about their hypocrisy because they were overemphasizing trivial matters and not paying attention to the “weightier matters.” …for ye tithe mint and anise and cummin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law, justice, and mercy, and faith: but these ye ought to have done, and not to have left the other undone. (Matthew 23:23)
Notable in Christ’s list of “weighty matters” “left undone” is faith. Genuine faith carries a message, an obligation and an action of love which require a conscious, compassionate, intentional awareness and understanding of people’s needs and a willingness to address the root cause of their needs whether environmental, physical, emotional, or spiritual. It means not only sharing the crucial “Good News” of salvation to all peoples as Christ commanded his disciples to do but also means making this world sustainable and livable for all by ministering with mercy and justice and love and generosity all the time to everyone.