God has clearly placed humans in a position of responsibility over the creation. (1) Genesis 2:15 says “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”(2) We recognize that all created things belong to God (3) and that we are accountable to Him as stewards of the creation. God commissions us to rule over the creation in a way that sustains, protects, and enhances his works so that all creation may fulfill the purposes God intended for it. We must manage the environment not simply for our own benefit but for God’s glory.
Some may argue that humans are more important than the rest of the creation, so we should focus our efforts on meeting the needs of people rather than addressing environmental issues. However, many of our environmental problems negatively impact people. If we fail to care for the environment in which we live, God’s people will suffer as a result. Caring for the non-human parts of the creation and preserving the intricate interactions among them is an important part of seeking justice for God’s people.
Others may argue that protecting the environment is unimportant in comparison to other God-given tasks such as sharing the gospel. But God is concerned with the physical world as well as the spiritual world, and restoration of the creation is part of the good news of Chris. (4) We are not to neglect the task of sharing the good news of Christ’s redeeming work in our lives, but neither should we neglect the work of “tending the garden.” Caring for God’s creation is part of our service to God and an integral part of our role as servant leaders in God’s kingdom.
There are numerous things we can do in our everyday lives that help protect God’s creation, such as conserving energy and reducing waste. These in no way interfere with our witness to unbelievers. Rather, they enhance our witness as others see us put our faith into action. Our concern for the environment may open up opportunities to share with unbelievers that our service to the creation overflows from our love for God, the creator.
We worship God the Creator more fully as we see His glory in his creation and as we participate in His work of sustaining and restoring proper relationships within the creation.