Genesis 1:24-26 Caring for Creation

And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” – Genesis 1:24-26

Man is given dominion over the animals, birds and fish, livestock and insects. Dominion does not mean we can do what we want with the environment, but rather mankind is tasked as caretakers of the Earth. If you leave your dog or cat in the care of someone, you’d expect them, at the very least, to be fed and watered, let out. At best: taken for walks and given scratches and lots of loving.

God gave man dominion over the world to give it lots of loving, so it will remain livable for future generations. Having grown up as somewhat of an environmentalist, I’m familiar with many organizations striving to protect animal species and ecosystems, oceans and forests. Many of these organizations are not religious in nature, however. In fact, many active environmentalists that I know are agnostics and atheists. This is troubling because we are called by God from our very beginnings to tend to his Creation, first in the Garden, then in whatever personal garden He has given each of us.

On the other hand, many active environmentalists (and I’m generalizing to make a point) have a decidedly negative view of their fellow man, and sometimes appear to care more for a spotted owl than a family living hand to mouth in the poorer regions of the world. In this latter vein, however, we believers shine. Caring for the sick, poor and outcast is the mission Jesus tasked us with during and after His ministry on Earth. Hospitals and orphanages were invented by the Church, as were many homeless shelters and outreach programs.

There is a balance God calls us to. One should never look to a forest or an animal species as a god unto itself, as people sometimes run the risk of doing. Never forget, however, that from the beginning of our time on Earth we have been commissioned to not only love and care for each other, but the world around us. Without forests, we have no breathable air. Without laws governing industrial waste, we have no drinkable water, both now and for our children’s children. Caring for “nature” and addressing human needs should never be a political or sociological ideology, nor a one-or-the-other consideration. Since the days of Adam, God gave us this commission: to protect His Creation, human and otherwise. Finding a balance between the two is vitally important because, in the end, they’re the same thing.


Father, guide us in following Your ways when it comes to caring for the environment and your children who live in it. Let us see them as two aspects of your command to us since the beginning of the world.