In our journey on Earth, following in Christ’s path, we need to also remind ourselves of our responsibility to all living things, not just our fellow brothers, sisters and neighbours.
Pope Francis’ recent encyclical Laudato Si, is worth reading. It is a comprehensive overview of the extent to which humanity has failed in its stewardship of this Earth. He described the Earth, our home, as “beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.” He has been criticized by some as exceeding his authority. But the Bible does give him authority just as it instructs us to protect God’s Creation. Let us look at what the Bible says. In Genesis 1:21 we are told that:
God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
And in Genesis 1:28 He instructs us to “Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
We are reminded in Leviticus 25:23 “for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.”
This is repeated in Psalm 115:16 “The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to man.”
And again in Psalm 24:1,2 “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.”
Clearly the Earth belongs to God which He has entrusted to us for our benefit. We are only its stewards. We will be judged by how we manage it.
This point is made in Luke 16:2 in the parable about the good steward where Jesus instructs us in what it means to be a good steward. While he was referring to managing a master’s business, he did say “if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?” This could also be seen as a warning that if we are not wise in caring for what God has given us (His Creation) then we will not be trusted with what God has promised us.
Failing to be good stewards and respecting God’s Creation will result in consequences as described in Revelation 11:18. It is a clear command and will be one matter for which we will be judged.
“The time has come for judging the dead and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great, and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”
Let us therefore see what God has given us for our enjoyment and not misuse it. Psalm 119:18, 19 “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me.” The law referred to here includes the truth of God’s Creation in Genesis 1:21 and the commands in Genesis 1:28.