Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:26)
God saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1:31)
The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it. (Psalm 24:1)
Three simple truths. God created the earth and declared it good. God created humankind and gave us dominion, that is, stewardship of the creation. The earth is the Lord’s, the world and all who live in it.
Living in Southwest Florida, fondly referred to as paradise, it is easy to nod our heads in agreement that God’s creation is good. We are surrounded by beauty and revel in the ability to enjoy the outdoors year-round. Most of us have lived, or continue to live part-time, in other places of great beauty. Many of us have traveled to other states and countries where God’s handiwork is displayed in spectacular ways.
The Bible tells us that God gave humanity dominion over the earth. Another way of saying that is that God gave us responsibility to care for God’s creation. At our best, we have been informed stewards striving to understand the complexities of all living things and the environment needed for them to thrive, and adopting practices and policies that promote life and protect the environment. At our worst, dominion has been misinterpreted as the power to subdue, allowing us to demolish habitats and the plants and animals living in them; pollute the air, land, and ocean; and promote a myriad of practices that have led to climate change and all of its damaging effects.
The earth is the Lord’s. It is not ours. We are tenants blessed to live in a beautiful world. We have been given the responsibility to care for it, not the permission to destroy it.
The pandemic has given me more time outdoors to see the bee on a flower and the moon in the sky, to feel the grass under my feet and the breeze on my face, and to hear the songs of birds and the claps of thunder. On this day, I confess my part in doing what has been harmful and offer my commitment to doing what I can to be helpful to caring for the earth God has entrusted to us.
Rev. Dr. Sharon Harris-Ewing
Creator God: Thank you for the world you created. Thank you for loving us and trusting us to care for this incredible gift. Give us the wisdom and power we need to be the stewards the earth needs and you desire. Amen.
Photo credit: Rev. Dr. Sharon Harris-Ewing. Mt. Moran, Grand Teton National Park, September 2018