God: Fill the earth and subdue it
The earth is in trouble. Forests are disappearing. Rates of extinction for animals and plants are 1,000 times greater than before the industrial revolution. Every minute a garbage truck’s worth of plastic slips into the world’s oceans. By 2050 the amount of plastic by weight floating at various depths will equal the total amount of all fish (World Economic Forum report).
Recently, scientists have started calling our age the Anthropocene era – the first point in history in which humans have become the major environmental influence on the planet. Sadly, so much of our impact on the world is destructive of other forms of life.
Are we pleasing God? When God told us in Genesis – back in the first chapter of the first book of the Bible, that we were to: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground”. … did God want us to care for creatures other than ourselves? Did He want us to care for plants and ecosystems? Or should we just focus on increasing the human population?
The answer to these questions is found in the same chapter of Genesis. As God looked at each part of His creation He declared it to be good (Gen. 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25) and very good (Gen. 1:31). Which means creation is not just good because it helps humans survive and thrive. It is also good in and of itself – having both instrumental and intrinsic goodness. And because we humans have been given the task of ruling creation it’s our responsibility to safeguard this intrinsic goodness. Which is terribly difficult. But then, making hard decisions is the lot of all rulers. As we balance competing interests, sacrifices will be inevitable.
Some may say that, since God promises ‘a new heaven and a new earth’ when Jesus returns, we shouldn’t be too bothered about this world. After all, isn’t it going to pass away? Yet that would be ignoring both God’s command and basic common sense. You see, since we have no timetable for Jesus’s return we must plan for both the short and long term. Indeed, our wait for Jesus could be a long time. Are we really happy to leave a toxic and treeless planet for our children’s children?
If you’ve only just realized the extent of your responsibility to God’s creation then please take action where you can. It’s your duty.
Bible Verse: Genesis 1:28 “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground”.
Prayer: Dear God, please help me to be a wise ruler of your creation every day as I wait for Jesus to return.
Images and text © Outreach Media 2017
Posted, July 2017