The Christian Call to Care for the Environment

Our spiritual journey as people of faith is deeply interconnected with our responsibility towards this planet. We are called to nurture spiritual health while also being mindful that God entrusted the Earth to us. When we recognize that Christ’s love and compassion extends to the environment, we see the world differently—not merely as a resource, but as  a sacred creation we have a duty to care for and protect.

Key passages in the Bible reveal that God created humans to care for the Earth, as stewards entrusted with authority to rule. In Genesis 2:15 for example, God placed the first man in the Garden of Eden to maintain and preserve it:

“Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.”

Genesis 1:26-28 declares, when God created the first man and woman, He gave them dominion over all life on land, sea, and in the air:

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them 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 that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’”

Dominion over nature is a call to stewardship, not an excuse to exploit or profiteer

The term “dominion” (“rule” in some translations) is subject to misinterpretation. Does dominion over animals with an instruction to subdue the Earth, grant humans freedom to exploit the planet—to utilize and mistreat, stripping it of beauty and diversity—for their own advantage?

Certainly not. The idea is preposterous. God did not give mankind permission to pillage and ravage the beautiful, pristine world He had only just created. Instead, God created humans in His own image and likeness, more highly endowed than animals, but made “a little lower than the angels.” Human beings were created to exercise extreme care over the earth, by tending it, and working to serve it.

Indeed, Psalm 8:4-8 reflects the honor and responsibility God gave to humanity as overseers of creation:

“What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.”

Even though humans are lower than heavenly beings, mankind is incredibly honored and exalted by God because He gave us dominion and authority over the earth and all living creatures.

In our dominion we have authority, but it’s an authority with clear limitations. Dominion is not an open invitation to misuse or deplete the Earth’s resources. It’s a mandate that comes with accountability. Cherishing His handiwork, God created us to safeguard and care for this wondrous creation. Dominion is our job here.

Why Stewardship Matters Now More Than Ever

In light of today’s environmental challenges, such as climate change and biodiversity loss, our stewardship is more urgent than ever. Merging faith with environmental concern involves a variety of actions, from adopting eco-friendly habits to supporting policies that protect the environment. These actions can include using renewable energy sources, reducing waste, and promoting sustainable agriculture.

Churches and faith groups are key in this effort, offering support and resources for a united environmental commitment. They can facilitate community gardens, promote recycling programs, and advocate for environmental justice.

The interplay between science and faith is critical in environmental stewardship. While faith provides a moral framework for environmental care, scientific knowledge deepens our understanding of ecological issues and informs our actions towards effective remedies. In this context, environmental care becomes a practical aspect of our faith, a way to demonstrate our love for God’s creation and our neighbors. By embracing scientific findings and working together, Christians can make a significant impact on environmental issues.

Adopting sustainable practices offers a way to live out our faith, contributing to a broader effort to care for the planet. This approach not only pays homage to creation but also works towards leaving a healthier planet for future generations. As Christians pursue sustainable lifestyles, they engage in more than environmental preservation; they enrich their spiritual journey and find new ways to manifest God’s love in the world.

By embracing our role as caretakers of the planet, we uphold our duty to God’s creation and comply with His vision for this world. So, let’s continue the mission in this generation, with renewed faith and determination!


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