Caring for God's creation By Rev Tim Oakley, Taita, Kenya.
Read Genesis 1:1-28.
In the first chapter of Genesis, God teaches us something about the purpose of creation. In particular we learn about the purpose of man within creation. Everything created is good – after all God himself made it! But how can it be kept good?
God’s answer comes in Day Six. He makes man and woman, who are given the job of “filling the earth”, “subduing the earth” and “ruling over all the living creatures”.
Now, the people of today read this and say: “God wants me to have as many children as possible, so that I can conquer the world completely. I have God’s full permission to use all plants and animals exactly as I want.”
But is that what the Bible really said? Discuss these questions in a group:
- Has man now “filled the earth” – or has he over-filled it? (Are there too many people for your land?)
- Has man “subdued the earth”- or has he started to do more than subdue and is he now destroying it? (Are you, as a community, caring for the place you live in or are you damaging it permanently?)
- Is man ruling properly over the animals? Does not “ruling” also mean “caring for”? So do we use our power to care for creation, as well as to control and use it? (How much do we care for the living things around us? Without that, perhaps they will not care for us?)
If you look at Genesis 2:15 you will see that this verse has the same idea: man is both to work in the garden and also to care for it. Both man and the garden will then benefit.
So this part of Genesis is not teaching us to spoil the creation, which God made good. Rather, we are to remember that we have been made by the same God, who made everything very good. We must respect, as well as subdue; we must love, as well as rule. In conclusion, we must continue in a caring relationship with God’s creation, as well as with God himself.