Happy Earth Day!
The First Earth Day was held April 22, 1970. Fifty years ago! 20 million Americans took to their streets, parks and auditoriums to demonstrate for a cleaner world. We stand in a Biblical tradition where indeed every day is "earth day". It started at the very beginning of the creation. (Genesis 1 -2)
God calls us to be stewards. A steward is not an owner. Biblically, we are not the owners but are called to care for God's creation wisely. The unjust steward took advantage of his position to put himself first (Luke 16: 1 -13).
The world, including us, belongs to God, and it is arrogant for humans to think otherwise.
In the first of the creation stories, God gives humans dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the animals of the land (Gen 1:1–2:4). Historically, we have distorted the mandate to “exercise dominion” to mean that creation was made for human beings and that we have a right to dominate and exploit creation for our own wants and needs. This has led to incalculable abuses of nature.
The Hebrew word for
does not mean “to dominate” or “to exploit.” Rather, it means “to take responsibility for,” as a ruler would be responsible to assure the well-being of those in the realm. Being stewards of creation is foundational to what it means to be human and faithful. Caring for creation represents our proper human relationship to Earth. This portrayal puts human beings squarely in a caretaker position in regard to environmental stewardship.
Happy Earth Day every day!