Masterfully written, passionate and regarded as one of the finest literary texts included in Scripture is the book of Job. With its opening words, “there was once a man in the land of Uz….” The reader’s attention is captured and drawn to scenes of a heavenly council in the distant cosmos to the tragic death of children and the devastating loss of home and wealth of a man living on planet earth. His friends, complaints of his condition, lead to the breath taking moment of supernatural manifestation and divine encounter in chapter thirty-eight as the LORD speaks to Job “out of the whirlwind.” The epiphany elicits suspense and fearful awe as the LORD cross-examines Job with questions dealing with creation and the ordering of the universe:

“Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?” (Job 38: 5-7 NRSV).

Each following verse in this chapter vividly puts forth a powerful ecological vision describing God as the answer to the question, “Who is at the center of things?” The ecological images inform our theology that it is God in all of His magnificence and mysterious glory that holds the world with the elements of nature and abundance of animal life within parameters of limits and care. The sense of relationship between Creator and creation is fundamental as divine providence is evidenced in this inter-connectedness.

Theologian Stephen Bouma-Prediger comments: “Though, like all creatures, made from dust, we humans are unique. We do not have the sight of an eagle or the strength of a lion. We do not run like a gazelle or swim like a dolphin. We cannot hear like a bat or smell like a bear. But the Bible attests, we are made in God’s image, after God’s likeness. This means we are God’s vicegerents. We are, in other words, called to rule as God rules…we are unique, but our uniqueness implies not superiority but service” (For the Beauty of the Earth, p. 123).

There is high interest in global environmental issues today and a wide spectrum of views. This issue encourages you to reflect on stewardship from the perspective of earth care. What does Scripture say about how we should think of the earth and its creatures? As managers of the Owner’s resources what implications come to view about the preference and attention we give to ecological concerns? Scripture does put forth a theology and ethics for the care of the earth for both individual and communal life. This is ‘natural’ as we look forward to “a glorious future—of a renewed heavenly earth, with a crystal-pure river and healing trees; of a gardened city, gates open to the riches of the world; of God dwelling with us at home in creation. A world of shalom” (Ibid., p. 116).

Informative and yet creative Dan Serns presents environmental ideas and biblical principles in his article, Why Not Try This? Richard de Lisser presents Adventists and the Environment with suggestions and models of implementation for churches. Nicolaus Satelmajer shares Creation Sabbath a global church endeavor to celebrate creation on this special Sabbath day in October. We also gratefully acknowledge South America’s Stewardship Director Miguel Pinheiro’s sermon on the importance of communion with God.

Alongside you in His service,

Maria Ovando-Gibson