Further Study: Stewardship and the Environment

“Christ’s followers have been redeemed for service. Our Lord teaches that the future_studytrue object of life is ministry. Christ Himself was a worker, and to all His followers He gives the law of service—service to God and to their fellow men. Here Christ has presented to the world a higher conception of life than they had ever known. By living to minister for others, man is brought into connection with Christ. The law of service becomes the connecting link which binds us to God and to our fellow men.”-Ellen G, White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 326.

Discussion Questions

  1. Some secularists have proposed that the value of life should not be measured by whether the life is human but by its potential to live a pleasant life. They might value a young, healthy chimpanzee more than they do an old, diseased human. For instance, read the following quote from Australian Peter Singer, who argues that, in certain cases, humans shouldn’t have any more rights than some animals do: “Far from having concern for all life, or a scale of concern impartially based on the nature of the life in question, those who protest against abortion but dine regularly on the bodies of chickens, pigs and calves show only a biased concern for the lives of members of our species. For on any fair comparison of morally relevant characteristics, like rationality, self-consciousness, awareness, autonomy, pleasure, pain, and so on, the calf, the pig, and the much-derided chicken come out well ahead of the fetus at any stage of pregnancy—while if we make the comparison with a fetus of less than three months old, a fish would show more signs of consciousness.”-Peter Singer, Writings on an Ethical Life (New York, N.Y.: The Ecco Press, 2000), p. 156.Singer, of course, is an evolutionist; thus, he believes that there’s really no overt qualitative difference between us and the animals. We just have evolved into something different from what they did, that’s all.What is radically wrong with this picture? How should we as Christians respond to this kind of thinking?
  2. If you can find it, bring to class the entire text of “Caring for Creation—A Statement on the Environment.” (This statement can be found at adventist.org/beliefs/statements/main-stat5.html.) Otherwise, use the sections quoted in this week’s Sabbath study. Focus on how it ties in the Genesis Creation to the environment. Dwell more on how a proper view of Creation can protect us from taking an extreme position.


Further Study: Stewardship and the Environment — 8 Comments

  1. Basics of Protecting the Environment

    What is wrong with abolishing all differences between man and animals in evolution in order to secure adequate treatment of the environment? I think, it is wrong to exclude the creator from creation. Man is not considered to be created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). This would include a reflection of God`s character distorted by sin but restored by being born of God who is agape love (1 John 4:7). This characteristic would be seen in treating nature as a whole including men, woman and animals. This agape love rulership of man over nature is missing in evolution. Without agape love man is left to love himself, which is not sufficient to protect the environment.
    Egoism is carrying out some kind of dictatorship over nature. The gospel is offering a different approach to the protection of environment.

    Winfried Stolpmann

  2. Another great lesson. I am so thankful for the truths in the Bible about our resposibility as stewards of all the gifts that God has given us for life and experience in this world. I am thankful to have the Bible and a church of fellow believers. Some people do not know God or the joy of church members sharing together. I know that God wants to draw others in and use all of us that have these precious gifts to reach out to them and widen the fellowship, joy and love.

  3. if the true object of life is ministry, then truly everything that surrounds us we ought to minister.Adam when he was placed in Eden he ministered to environment ,that is the garden ....what a crucial lesson to us living in a world where destruction and chaos is at zenith.

  4. The most important lesson that i got in this lesson of of Stewardship is that, GOD has given us the power to have dominion on his creatures in regardless how dangerous they are we must care them.

  5. We serve such an amazing God who despite having created such a perfect creation still allows us and entrusts us with having dominion over all creation. Mankind has abused this gift and the world is now a sad place crying for restoration

  6. If Peter Singer would have thought things out a bit deeper than he did he probably would not have made such an illogical, embarrassingly simple statement.

    What separates man from beast is the simple fact that we can appreciate the value of the environment around us. We think on a moral level and plan for the future while animals do not - they think in terms of survival and what they can do on a daily basis. Some, no doubt, would argue that many species store food for the winter and that is so, however, that is as far as their mentality can take them. It reduces to something like hibernation; they do it because that is what they have been programmed to do.

    When a spider is hatched it can immediately start to build a web because it is preprogrammed to do that. It doesn't have the ability to alter that design neither can it plan outside of its purpose to catch food the way it was programmed to. Humans on the other hand can learn after birth and are able to alter what and how they do things; they can make long range plans and choose from a wide variety of choices concerning those plans. Therefore our programming is on a vastly different level than animals.

    Because our thinking is morally based and able to conceive of changing the environment around us, depending on the conditions, due to the fact that we can alter our mental program in order to accomplish planned changes; we have far more responsibility than any other creature on earth. That gives us as much more value over animals as the Garden of Eden has over a barren desert. That is what Peter Singer missed in his evolution based rhetoric.

    To the Christian, the reason God gave us dominion over other creatures was because we were created with those unique abilities that enable us to take care of the environment around us. We are therefore "debtors" not only to other people (Rom 1:14) but also to the rest of the creation as well.


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