Conversation #7 – What is the Relationship I Want With the Earth?

What is the relationship I want with the earth?  Definitely not something like this.  The stories of the oil slick in the gulf are heartbreaking about the impact that is already being felt, what is predicted to be, and how long the Gulf and the Gulf Coast will take to recover from this.  The sad part of this is that this is far from the only significant environmental issue that our world is facing.  Even taking out the discussions around global warming are the countless areas that we have utterly polluted in the world.  Power and Energy Magazine recently posted their list of the nine worst polluted places on Earth.

For me, the key scripture about our care of God’s creation comes out of Genesis 1:26-28.  We read:

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.” 27So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

One reading of this passage is that we have full right to do whatever we want to do with the earth because we’ve been told to subdue it and have dominion over it.  I have heard sermons and read messages many times to that direction.  I, however, feel that there is a different reading of it.  Its like when you receive a precious gift from a loved one.  Yes, we have every right to take that gift and abuse it, break it, etc.  Yes we can do that.  But should we?  Do actions such as that honor the giver as well as use the gift?  I feel similarly about our care of the earth as not only people of faith (as I happen to be), but each one of us as we live and breathe here.

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