God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to till it and keep it.
As far as we know (aside from telling them to multiply), God didn’t give any special directives to the non-human parts of creation in either Genesis 1 or 2. He didn’t tell the plants, the water, and the animals to be sure to provide for us. That’s just what they do. Water can't decide whose thirst it will quench. Trees can’t decide to stop producing oxygen.
Our first instructions from the Creator are in those scriptures and they keep calling me to study them. I’ve often been surprised by what I’ve found. For instance, “dominion” is best understood as a noun, not a verb. The verbs in our instructions include words that mean “guard,” “cultivate,” “protect,” and “serve.” My favorite discovery is that choosing to do what God calls us to do in the first few pages of the Bible, naturally leads to our fulfillment of the Greatest Commandment: to love and honor God, and love our neighbors as ourselves.
Calvin B. DeWitt writes, “The garden’s service to us is implicit; service from us to the garden is explicit.”* Unlike the other forms of creation, we have free will. We can choose to invest our resources in ways that guard against greed and arrogance, that ease the suffering of “the least of these,” that cultivate nature’s innate ability to serve us while at the same time safeguarding creation for future generations. When we do, we choose life and better reflect the image of God. Learn more at www.umccreationcare.org.
- Erin Chacey, co-leader of EarthCOR
You have taught us that we reap what we sow. Please teach us to plant seeds of hope, kindness, love and charity so we will reap a beautiful harvest in our communities.
Please keep our hearts and minds open and make them a fertile ground for new ideas and open to following your calling.
- Ashly Cooley, Counseling & Support Ministries
* Clavin B. DeWitt, Earth-Wise: A Biblical Response to Environmental Issues, 2007; Faith Alive Christian Resources.
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