Dr. Will Eva, Editor, Ministry Magazine
Summary: God’s act of putting Adam and Eve in charge of
There is a strange, almost collective reserve among some Christians when it comes to championing the health of God’s creation, particularly that of earth itself and its collective environment.
There is in the Christian community:
? A consistent concern for preserving the moral purity of the humanity God fashioned from the dust of the ground and into whose nostrils He breathed life
? A deep and far-reaching desire, especially among Seventh-day Adventists, to promote the physical health with which God created the human race
? A strong stirring of the conscience when animals, even wildlife, are not treated with kindness and care
? The principle of loving, respecting, serving, and preserving our fellow human beings who are God’s workmanship, those whom, along with us, He made of one blood
? A deep and widespread appreciation for ?the beauty of the earth and the glory of the skies?
However, we often hold back when it comes to connecting our faith with the ecologically informed respect so necessary for the preservation of a high quality of life in our industrialized, hyper-populated age.
Reverence for creation
In his stimulating article ?The Theological Value of the Creation Account,? (Ministry, March 2001, pp. 7-10), Greg King exposes the foundational theological suggestiveness, and even the definitude found in the first few chapters of the Bible. Without question, one of the most evocative theological features of God’s creative magnum opus was the brilliant variety, balance, beauty, interaction, integration, and systemic coordination of His delicate yet resilient design and work.
The words used in Genesis to describe God’s work reveal a reverence for, or at least an innate deference to, God’s creative work. These words call for us as humans to live life on this planet with the deepest respect for the primeval activity of God and to obey the divine mandate to actively and properly ?rule over? this work (Gn 1:26-28).
The description of the personal act of God when He planted ?a garden eastward in Eden? (Gn 2:8), of God placing ?the man? in the garden ?to work it and take care of it? (v. 15), and God bringing to Adam all the ?beasts of the field and all the birds of the air,? ?to see what he would name them? (v. 19), implies the need for humanity to understand his environment and his God-given responsibility toward it.
God’s act of simply putting Adam in charge of this magnificent garden is descriptive of His desire and commission for humanity to love, nurture, and care for what He crafted. Genesis 2:15-20 reveals the Creator placing the final and highest form of His creation—humankind—in loving charge of the rest of His handiwork.
Discouraging the indifference
In the biblical account of God forming Eve and bringing her to Adam, we see a formative pattern of marriage that is applicable for all time. Yet we find it difficult to see the ecological mandate that is just as implied in the Creation epic.
I believe two things discourage the indifference that we traditionally may have luxuriated in when it comes to the environment. One is simply the multiplied effects of today’s massive proliferation of human beings all over the globe. The other is our now largely worldwide, hyper-industrialized and mechanized culture whose many manifestations are hostile to the original edenic ideal.
Of course we should look to the time when God ?will make all things new? (Rv 21:5), but if we were to merely take this attitude about our health, our moral being, our spiritual development or—for that matter—the viability of our marriages, we know what would happen.
Faithful to His mandate
We cannot be turned away from the calling to care for our world just because it is viewed as a ?liberal? cause or because of extremists who give the ecology movement a bad name. Instead, we must seek to be more and more faithful to the original edenic mandate.
Is this mere activism? I don’t think so. Coming close to God’s creation; loving it, understanding it, caring for it, being responsible for it, speaking out effectively for it—this is what is important. How could we do any less?