The issue of the environment, and taking care of the environment, isn’t specifically and openly addressed in the Bible. Of course, there are a lot of specific issues that the Bible doesn’t address. What the Bible does do, and does again and again, is give us principles that should be applied to all areas of life, which include the question of the environment.
Think about Matthew 22:37–40. In what ways could the principles taught here impact our attitude toward environmental concerns, especially when misuse of the environment can have some very detrimental effects on others?
Early on in the Bible, we are given some indication of humanity’s call to be a steward of what God had given Adam on the earth. Though the context is very specific, it’s hard to see why the principle shouldn’t continue.
Genesis 2:15 reads, “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” In what way does this reveal how humankind was originally to relate to the earth?
Notice the reciprocal relationship here. God created this beautiful environment for the man; it was given to him as a gift. And yet, see how Adam was to relate to it. He was to work it and to keep it. The word translated “keep” comes from the Hebrew root, smr, which means “to watch” or “to preserve” or “to protect.” Thus, right from the start, even in the pre-Fall world, Adam was called to be a steward of the environment in which he was placed. God didn’t tell him to exploit it, to use it for his own selfish means, and to get out of it all that he could. Instead, he is told to work it and protect it.
What reason could we have for believing that this principle has changed? In fact, if this is what Adam was called to do in a world before sin entered, how much more important would good stewardship of the world be after it has been damaged by sin?
How conscious are you of environmental concerns? How much do you really even care about them? How important or unimportant is it to you? Bring your answer to class on Sabbath.?