15 Sep

Stewards of Creation

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"
(Gen 1:26)


In the biblical creation story, all creation is God’s work and God created them all good (Gen 1). God entrusted humankind with the responsibility to rule over every living creature on earth (Gen 1:26).

This responsibility is interpreted in various ways by different biblical scholars. However, mainstream scholars agree that the authority delegated to humankind to rule over creation is to care for it within the realm of God’s higher authority.

According to this understanding, to “rule over” or to have “dominion” over the earth does not imply exploitation. Rather, it means responsibly and compassionately to care for the earth and to protect the planet’s ecological diversity and capacity to support life—including for future generations.

Most often this text is interpreted too narrowly. In my view the text is not only limited to how humans should relate to the rest of creation, but it indicates the kind of relationship that the Creator expects among human beings.

In Genesis 2:15, God expected Cain to be a keeper of his brother in the same way as “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.”

God expects human beings to care for one another; it is our responsibility and God would hold us accountable if we failed to do so. This can be extended to human institutions—political, economic, social, religious etc.—which God expects to be agents of justice and not to abuse or exploit human beings but to treat them with dignity in accordance with God’s intentions.

Therefore, the biblical creation story is indeed a theology about the interrelatedness, interdependence and indivisibility of creation under the sovereign God who created them all good. No one is more or less important than the other.

God has entrusted us to be good stewards not only of the environment but also of our fellow brothers and sisters. Just as God sees all of us as God’s good creation, we should treat each other accordingly—each of us as caring stewards.

Prayer

Creating God,

Your name is written on every leaf, every bird every river, every stone, every living being.

We praise and worship you for the magnificence of your creation.

Make us attentive to the wounds of the earth and willing to work for the healing of the whole creation through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.

Koinonia Service and Prayers, The Lutheran World Federation, 2004

Dr Ojot Miru Ojulu is Senior Advocacy Officer in the Department for Theology and Public Witness.

Season of Creation

Koinonia, Service & Prayers

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author, and not necessarily representative of Lutheran World Federation policy.