Christian Environmentalists: Part II Stewardship
Christian stewardship is the most commonly recognized view of Christian environmentalism. Basically, stewardship is a recognition that humans do not rule the Earth. Although in Genesis God gives us “dominion,” God still retains absolute dominion over creation.
For the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me. And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land (Leviticus 25:23-24).
A hierarchy between nature, humans, and God does exist, but all things are subject to God under a hierarchy. In other words, while God’s creation is subject to humans’ rule, God’s creation also remains God’s. It dishonors God to destroy creation.
Christians who practice environmental stewardship don’t worship the environment. Instead, they realize that God gave the Earth to humans and we must use it as God mandates.
And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden to dress it and to keep it (Genesis 2:15).
“Keep” is an interesting translation. The Hebrew word for keep is “shamar.” Shamar can be translated to mean “guard,” “safeguard,” “take care of,” or “look after.” This translation indicates a loving, caring, sustaining kind of dominion over the environment.
Stewards strive to fulfill God’s mandate to “keep” the Creation by protecting the environment. This means not littering, protecting forests, and cleaning up air and water pollution.
The basic idea is that earth is not ours to exploit or pollute. Our respect for God is evident in how we care for God’s Creation.
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