Christians' Beliefs About Their Responsibilities for the Universe

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Christians' Beliefs About Their Responsibilities for the Universe

The word "stewardship" is defined as "looking after something that is

not your own; caring for it on behalf of an owner and then returning

it." Human beings are the custodians and trustees of creation. Our

role is to act as 'stewards' of the world God has created for us and

look after the planet and maintain it for future generations. The

Bible discusses Christian stewardship and the human responsibility of

the created universe clearly and explicitly in Genesis. It outlines

what God has created us for and what he expects of us as humans-

created in 'his image' as described in Genesis 1:26-30[1].

Most Christians see the principle of our stewardship in these four

verses. In essence, God has told us to take care of the world for him

and that is our great responsibility. More rules however, appear in

other books of the Bible. For example in Deuteronomy 20:19-20[2], God

reminds us of the destructive nature of war as all available wood was

used to make siege towers. The people were told to leave the fruit

trees so they could get fruit. In Exodus 23: 10-11the idea of fallow

fields, giving the field a chance to revive is introduced. Similarly

in the Tenakh, the Jews were told to take care of Creation and rest

the land once every 50 years so that it would produce more in the

future.

Throughout the Bible, there are references to the beauty of the world

God has created and to his concern for it. In chapter 12 of St. Luke's

gospel, Jesus says: "Consider the ravens: ….God feeds them… Consider

how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not

even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these."

It is only quite recently that awareness about the current

environmental crisis has grown so that Christians realize that

admiration and gratitude for the gift of creation no longer represent

an adequate response. Together with the gift of creation and the

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