WE ARE CALLED TO BE RESPONSIBLE STEWARDS OVER MOTHER EARTH
The poets of the Old Testament loved to describe the natural world. Like all people in that ancient time, they lived closer to nature than do most of us. They enjoyed nature’s beautiful and fascinating manifestations. They observed the ways of birds and badgers, the flowing rivers, and the pulsing of the waves. In this respect, the biblical poets have much in common with many other poets throughout history.
Nevertheless, in two important ways the biblical poets were different from their neighbors in the ancient Middle East. First, they resisted the temptation to deify nature. Their neighbors did not merely rhapsodize about birds and trees, hills and seas they worshiped them. The biblical poets learned to do something truly new. Namely, they loved nature but did not bow to it. They enjoyed nature but did not worship it.
The second distinctive of the biblical poets was their identification of “nature.” For them, nature was always “creation.” The word nature does not itself deify the world, but it still implies that the world has its own sense of being, its own power, and its own dynamic. On the other hand, the word creation is a term of faith. It expresses the belief that everything that exists is made by God. All the beauty and splendor of the universe comes from God’s creative hands.
In some ways, the modern emphasis on “Mother Earth” is simply a revival of the goddess cults of the ancient Middle East. However, the authors of the creation psalms have the right perspective. We can express our enjoyment of creation without worshiping it. We can love the earth because we first love its Creator. We can rejoice in the marvels of nature, the sparkling waterfall and the soaring eagle, because we know they are the handiwork of God. Any efforts to “save” the earth should arise from our worship of its Creator and our knowledge that we are called to responsible stewardship because everything God created is a gift from Him.