Since April 22, 1970 we’ve celebrated Earth Day annually. As I understand it, Earth Day is designed to make us more aware of how humanity is harming the planet and that we should to take better care of this world. Each year there is a different focus, but the ultimate message is, “stop messing up the planet.” I’m all for that. Let’s pick up the trash, recycle, care for the animals, and plant more trees. But, there is more to the earth than plants and animals.
God did command humanity to take care of the planet. Genesis 1:26-28 explains,
“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “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.”
There are two words in this passage we might not use every day: dominion and subdue. I checked dictionary.com for the definition of both. Subdue means: to overpower by superior force; overcome. It also means to bring (land) under cultivation.
The word dominion explains further. There are several definitions of the word including:
- The power or right of governing and controlling; sovereign authority
- Rule; control; domination
- A territory, usually of considerable size, in which a single ruler ship holds sway.
- Lands or domains subject to sovereignty or control.
So, humanity has authority over the earth. We are to cultivate it, rule it, and take care of it. So yes, the focus of Earth Day is important, and grounded in Scripture.
I wonder how God feels about Earth Day.
It seems to me God has a special love for our planet. He created it – before he created man. But He did put man in charge of the earth, “over every living thing.” Perhaps we should remember that in addition to thousands of species of plants and animals, there are over seven billion people on our little planet. And God loves each one. Sometimes we forget John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” We should have at least an equal focus on people.
Let Earth Day include humanity as well. Let us show everyone the love of Christ and help them also become good stewards of the Earth
Blessings on your day.
Image: Google Images