Monday: A Statement on Creation Care

How, then, do Seventh-day Adventists look at the question of the environment? How do we get involved and yet seek to keep a right balance? Below is an official statement, voted by the church leadership back in 1995.1

“Seventh day Adventists believe that humankind was created in the image of God, thus representing God as His stewards, to rule the natural environment in a faithful and fruitful way.

“Unfortunately, corruption and exploitation have been brought into the management of the human domain of responsibility. Increasingly men and women have been involved in a megalomaniacal destruction of the earth’s resources, resulting in widespread suffering, environmental disarray, and the threat of climate change. While scientific research needs to continue, it is clear from the accumulated evidence that the increasing emission of destructive gasses, the depletion of the protective mantle of ozone, the massive destruction of the American forests, and the so called greenhouse effect, are all threatening the earth’s ecosystem.

“These problems are largely due to human selfishness and the egocentric pursuit of getting more and more through ever increasing production, unlimited consumption and depletion of nonrenewable resources. The ecological crisis is rooted in humankind’s greed and refusal to practice good and faithful stewardship within the divine boundaries of creation.

“Seventh day Adventists advocate a simple, wholesome lifestyle, where people do not step on the treadmill of unbridled consumerism, goods getting, and production of waste. We call for respect of creation, restraint in the use of the world’s resources, reevaluation of one’s needs, and reaffirmation of the dignity of created life.”—Adventist Administrative Committee (ADCOM), released at General Conference session in Utrecht, the Netherlands, June 29–July 8, 1995.

Look up the following texts. How do they help us understand the reasoning behind this church statement? Gen. 1:1, 269:7Psalm 24:1100James 5:1, 2, 4, 5;Heb. 1:3.

If anything, as Christians who believe that this world and the life and resources on it are gifts from God, we should be at the forefront of seeking to take care of it. If you believed that the earth is just a chance creation, the product of cold, uncaring forces, one could almost be excused in seeking to exploit it to their own ends. When, though, we understand this world as something that God created, and sustains, it’s hard to see how we could do anything other than be responsible stewards of it.

How might your own selfishness impact how you treat the environment? And what’s wrong with the attitude that says, “Well, I’m only one person, so what does it matter?”



Monday: A Statement on Creation Care — 7 Comments

  1. When I read this lesson it got me to think of one verse in particular. “The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth." (Rev 11:18 NKJV)

    The fact is that originally, “God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth’" (Gen 1:28 NKJV). “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it” (Gen 2:15 NKJV), These statements seem to place a responsibility on us to be good stewards of the world that God gave us to live in.

    I am wondering if we shouldn’t, to an extent, have the same attitude toward the rest of God’s creation that Paul had towards preaching the word to others, “I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise” (Rom 1:14 NKJV). The word debtor is the Greek word, “ὀφειλέτης (opheiletes) {of-i-let'-ace} Meaning:
    1) one who owes another, a debtor
    1a) one held by some obligation, bound by some duty 1b) one who has not yet made amends to whom he has injured:
    1b1) one who owes God penalty or whom God can demand punishment as something due, i.e. a sinner”
    (Strong’s data for “a debtor”, BibleWorks, version 8).

  2. Yes, Tyler, I believe Rev 11:18 NKJV is very relevant.

    Instead of appreciating God's creation, man has tried to "improve" it -- for instance, taking nearly all the goodness out of the food and processing it to the point that it produces most of the modern diseases of western culture (along with lack of exercise). And if that isn't enough, genetic engineering is producing monster weeds and polluting the gene pool of healthy foods.

    It's all very well to bemoan what industry is doing, but industry thrives because of consumer demand. If enough people say No to GMO foods and over-packaging, such industries will not thrive. If enough people determine to live more simply and consume less, it will not only make a difference to the planet, but also to those individuals who re-discover a simpler life.

    It seems to me that usually the more educated people are more environmentally aware, and demonstrating an intelligent attitude towards the environment could open doors for us.

    But then there's also the opposite attitude of valuing insects over human life, frogs over housing -- an attitude we won't fall into if we seek to have the mind of Christ.

  3. I agree with the previous 3 commentors.
    This is a topic that has been on my heart for a long time as well. Interestingly enough, it was about the time of the official statement of 1995. I remember in the previous year, '94, we started recycling on a very simple level-paper, but only brown, because there wasn't a facility to do white paper! (Anyone remember that?) So I thought, "Why be superficial? Let's do that with other things, like synthetic materials, that are way worse than glass or paper." And, I was ridiculed for it, but now it's being done by the "No Nonsense" hosiery company.
    People say "It doesn't matter cause the world is gonna melt anyway." I believe they are wrong. If the Scriptures say we will be judged for our own actions; no matter what others do to us, it's our (re)actions that count. So, it must apply here too. The respect level we have here & now is the same level we'll have later, in the resurrection we'll be in. Just think about what people did in the 1940s- they recycled just about EVERYTHING--and only because there was a war, out of necessity. But, isn't there a necessity of eternal value? I think so. Paraphrased, Be careful to maintain good works- Titus 3:8.
    P.S.- so many people wonder why there are so many illnesses, starting younger & younger-they think it can't be explained, but it can--too many chemicals and toxins, combined with the person's/child's sensitivities.

  4. This is a subject under discussion now in some of the threads I visit online.
    We, as His stewards, have a responsibility to take care of all around us. Too often we forget we will give an accounting of ALL we have, or have not, taken care of here.
    I think a lot of us may be surprised just how irresponsible we have been, as well as neglectful, towards our duties as stewards of His earth.

  5. Having read the Church's statement about the environment, I feel a deep sense of sadness to see that at this level of the Seventh-day Adventist Church man is described as created in the "Image" of God, which is only one half of the story. I have observed this -image only trend- creeping into the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, among other publications of the church. Perchance this is an oversight, let us purpose to say that which the Lord spake, in Genesis 1:26; "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:.." But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3.

    • Unfortunately, Victor, you cut off your quote of Genesis too soon for the next verse says, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them" (Gen 1:27 NKJV). That was the original creation what has happened since sin entered in is another story altogether.

    • Dear Victor,
      I'm having a hard time understanding what you wish to say.

      "Image" and "likeness" have essentially the same meaning both in English and the original Hebrew. These synonyms are used here for emphasis -- that Adam and Even were originally created in the image or likeness of God. They were like Him in that they were given the gift of creativity, of procreation, of thinking and communicating with God, and the possibility of developing a character like His.

      In the context of this lesson it reminds us that we are to care for the creation as stewards or overseers for God.


Please leave a comment long enough to say something significant and considerably shorter than the original post. First and last name required.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *