Our stewardship of the environment
by Suleiman Jakonda of RURCON, Nigeria.
Read Genesis 1:26-31. God created all things and there was perfect harmony between all creation and God. But as we read in Genesis 3:14-19, the fall brought about sin and separation from God for both mankind and creation - breaking the perfect harmony that had existed.
However, the merciful and loving God started a process of restoration. Throughout the scriptures, the theme is that of God working through his people - priests, prophets and kings - to bring the creation back to what it ought to be. He still calls his people to be stewards of this creation.
In the Old Testament, God gave laws that will enable us to live in harmony with each other and the environment.
Read Leviticus 25:2-7 and Exodus 23:10. Discuss the significance of this law. How would it help protect the environment?
Read Leviticus 19:9-10. What would be the effects of this law? Is it practised in your community? How should this affect the profit farmers make from their land?
Read Deuteronomy 8:7-9. What was God’s intention for Israel - and for us?
When we disobey God, many things (including the environment) go wrong. This is summed up by Paul in Romans 8:20-23. What do you see as the major problems facing the environment - both world-wide and in your own area? You may like to include removal of trees, pollution, the ozone layer, cash cropping, high population, soil erosion, etc.
The Bible does not speak about the present factors that have put the environment under pressure. However the Bible does give us the principles that will guide us in all we do. These principles are based on God’s love. We cannot claim ignorance - ‘Since the creation of the world, God’s eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made...’ (Romans 1:20 NRS). Jesus is the ultimate demonstration of God’s love to us. As Christians, we are God’s stewards. As the salt and light of the world we should seek to salvage the environment. Jesus had many things to say to his disciples, but left them unsaid because the ‘Spirit of truth will give guidance...’ into all the truth. That spirit is guiding us today to do something about the damage to our environment.