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Sacred stewardship mandate for God’s creation

  • Reverend Martin Adhikary
  • 26 November, 2021 12:00 AM
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Sacred stewardship mandate for God’s creation

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The Bible declares: “The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it ”(Psalm 24:1). God created everything and has given man the sacred trust of stewardship of all that is in this world. Genesis 1: 26-27 records that God created man in his own image and likeness and given him the mandate of faithful stewardship of all of God’s creation. Unfortunately, this creation groans for salvation. Paul said of this sad truth two thousand years ago. He said, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” This was already when there was no Industrial revolution, no mechanisations and technological development that we today have were not even thought of by anyone. Today we have polluted almost all of natural resources. We have polluted water, air, soil and even the ray of the sunshine. Mankind has miserably faith the stewardship mandate that God gave mankind at the time of creation.

Today, we are reminded of God’s mandate to care for his good creation directly or indirectly every moment of our life. The Bible speaks of God loving and sustaining care and rule over all creation. God is the sovereign creator and owner of all creation. We are not creator of anything. In the Bible, ‘Creation’ means ‘creating out of nothing’, ‘ex nihilo’ as the Latin phrase goes. God made man his representative over creation. He is entrusted with the sacred responsibility of taking care, cultivating and making it fruitful for his enjoyment and for the enjoyment of all mankind of generations. “You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8). Human beings worship and praise God for his creation and its beauty and greatness. The books of Job and of the Psalms contain doxologies for God, the Creator for all his good creation living in harmony and mutual dependence. As for examples, we can see this truth in Job 38: 39- 39:30, 40: 15-41:34; Psalm 104: 14-23. God delights in all that he created. According to the Genesis 1 God declared that everything that he had created is ‘good’. We human beings have a definite stewardship obligation for the care and nurture of his creation. Psalm 19:1-6 is a unique doxology of God. All of natures glorify his holy name. Mankind is exhorted to do the same. But, we cannot glorify and exalt God enough: we pollute, we destroy and abuse natural resources to satisfy our greed and ego. Everything is sustained and governed in the goodness and loving wisdom of the Creator. To this theological truth we have multiple scriptures in the Bible, as for examples, Genesis 2: 8-20; 9:6; Psalm 102: 25-26; Psalms 103; 104: 19-22. The New Testaments books also tell of this. Ephesians 4: 24; Colossians 1:17; 3:10; Hebrews 1: 3, 10-12, etc.

 In our world today, Carbon emission and global warming with all their harmful consequences are perhaps the greatest threats before the human race. Everyday, species become extinct from our word. One research reports that annually 1,000-1,00,000 species get extinct. Who or what is behind this ecological devastation? Regrettably, it is us, mankind and our lust and greed! It is our unfaithfulness of the command or made that our Creator gave us. Man is not the creator or owner of creation. If this is thought that he is, it is a colossal mistake. Man is part of nature, but not master of God’s creation. Western Christian theology misconstrued and misused Biblical command for having ‘dominion’ over God’s creation. Today, we face the hard consequences of that. We need to pay heed to what is said in Thessalonians 5:21 “Test everything. Hold on to the good.”

What are we doing today? It is noteworthy to literally interpret what the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel asked the greedy and haughty people recklessly using resources: “Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? It is not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? Must my flock feed on what you have trampled and drink what you have muddied with your feet?” (Ezekiel 34:18-19).

The single greatest physical problem with humanity today is wastage of God-given resources, resources of any kind. We waste all resources in diverse manners. We disturb the ecological balance in all that our all-consuming passion for so-called development drives us to do. I am a Christian. I very much love this Qur'anic verse: “Indeed the wasteful are brothers of the devil” (Al-Isra 17:27).  A renowned Christian thinker Dr Lovejoy aptly remarked: “Christian Stewardship is the greatest religious principle before the world today. It is a revolutionary principle—a principle which would change our human relationships if it were universally grasped and applied.” Previously, I wrote on this subject. But, I thought that I could write again since this is very important for all of us to be reminded of for our good, for our future. Leaders will continue to talk and decide, but perhaps no appreciable or sustainable good will result.

 

The writer is a Christian Theology teacher and Church leader