Bible Answers 04-29-11

-A A +A

“Earth Day made me wonder what the Bible says about caring for the Earth? —Sonya

The Bible opens with a powerful portrayal of a God who is highly invested in the Earth and all that inhabits it. The “Creation Story” is a beautiful paean to the Creator, who brought something out of nothing and who is quite intentional in the way that something works. Indeed, the narrative clearly indicates that God really likes His handiwork (Gen. 1:10, passim)!
This brief yet potent “summary” account reveals creation’s complexity, beauty and interconnectedness. Humans are materially connected with the world, having been formed of the “dust of the earth” (Gen. 2:7). This fact implies that caring for oneself somehow involves caring for the earth and vice versa.  
Furthermore, humans are given the command to “rule over” and “subdue” the Earth.  These terms are strong words for “conquer” but they do not require abuse, misuse and waste. Rather, they indicate that while the Earth and all it supplies are to be used to the advantage of humanity, wisdom and discretion are also expected — characteristics of any good ruler.
The principle of stewardship derives from this concept. Humans who are to “rule over” the Earth serve as “representatives” of God, obligated to manage well all that He has placed at their disposal.
The Earth ultimately belongs to Him — we are here for a while to make sure it is put to good use.
Earth care has an eschatological dimension. Creation is “awaiting” the time when God will fully reveal Himself in the consummation of His Kingdom (Rom. 8:19-22; Rev. 21).
At the very least, these statements imply that God still highly values the world and has plans for it in the future — it is not a god to be worshiped but a gift to be treasured (see Ps. 8:3; 89:11; 104:1ff; Isa. 40; Acts 17:24-28).