Humans were created last, the final jewel of God’s “very good” creation. Of all that God created, we alone are made in his image and likeness (Genesis 1:27). Being created in God’s image is not about what we do but about who he created us to be. It gives us a special status and position that no other creature on earth can claim.
We were also given a special and unique responsibility: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28). Adam was placed in Eden “to work it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Some Christians assume that “subduing” and having “dominion” implies that earth was created only for human use and exploitation. But this does not match with the testimony of scripture.
Carelessly destroying nature by polluting the water and air, destroying wildlife and animal habitats, or wastefully using resources however we please is not in keeping with God’s character or the dominion mandate that God gave to mankind. It does not reflect his care for the lovely flower or the tiny sparrow, nor does it acknowledge the joy that he takes in what he has made. It also does not reflect his original purpose for us: to “work” and “keep” creation. These are the same words used to describe the role of the priests in the Temple (Numbers 3:7–8). This implies that through our care for creation we are to direct worship back to the Creator, just as those in the Temple cared for it to bring people to worship.
Scripture also talks about being a good steward, not one who wastefully uses his master’s resources. We’re to reflect the heart and purpose of the Master (Luke 12:43, 16:1–2; 1 Corinthians 4:1) in how we use the resources he has entrusted to us. Our treatment of God’s creation should reflect his care for his creatures and his joy over his creation.
Effect of the curse on nature
We face many real environmental problems such as pollution, extinction and deforestation because of the curse. When Adam sinned, the ground was cursed, (Genesis 3:17) and the whole of creation now groans (Romans 8:20–22). Because of sin, we no longer tend and keep creation as we were intended to. Our stewardship is distorted by selfishness, greed, apathy or even laziness. This is not a sin against the planet, as many believe, but a sin against our Creator. But when we put Christ as the focus of our lives, we should desire to care for creation as we fulfil our mandate from the Creator: to share the good news of the gospel, protect human life and care for his creation until he comes again and restores creation to its original state.
We should care for creation to bring glory to the Creator. As you take measures to ensure you are being a good steward, point people toward the one who motivates your care for creation. Help them recognise that God’s word provides a firm foundation for caring for creation, and pray that they will come to worship and serve the Creator who has made all things and who sent his Son to redeem mankind from sin by his death and resurrection.
Avery Foley is a writer, speaker, and co-host of Answers News for Answers in Genesis (AiG). She holds an MA in theological studies from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the good news effectively. They focus on providing answers to questions about the authority and accuracy of the Bible – particularly the book of Genesis – regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth. This extract from the AiG website has been reproduced with permission – to read the full article please click here.