What Does The Bible Say About Taking Care Of Nature?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Are we to be stewards of the earth?  Does the Bible say that we’re responsible?

Keeping the Garden

When God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden it was said, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (Gen 2:15).  The Hebrew word used for “work” is “`abad” which means to “work” or “serve” so God is telling Adam and by extension, He tells us that we must work to care for this earth, not just our own little “Garden” where we live but the earth in general.  This is even clearer because God says, by use of the Hebrew word “shamar” where it says “keep it” as the word insinuates, “to keep, guard,” or “protect.”  I doubt very much that Adam was careless in his duty to work and keep the Garden in the way in which God commanded him.  If taken together, Genesis 2:15 actually reads “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to serve it and guard or protect it.” It is obvious then that God commanded mankind to guard and protect the creation for what applies in the Garden surely applies wherever mankind is working.  God is the God of order and not chaos (1 Cor 14:33).  Work is also commanded by God and not just keeping or guarding the creation so God holds man responsible and will hold him accountable for how he keeps the earth because it was a command from God, not a request.  The wording gives no room for allowing mankind to have a “plan B.”

In many parts of the world today they are strip mining hillsides and mountaintops for precious metals and minerals and leaving in their wake ruined land that is laid waste and doesn’t easily recover.

In many parts of the world today they are strip mining hillsides and mountaintops for precious metals and minerals and leaving in their wake ruined land that is laid waste and doesn’t easily recover.

Destroying the Destroyers

When Christ returns to judge the earth, meaning its inhabitants, and specifically those who have never repented and placed their trust in Him, He will not overlook those who misuse or abuse the earth.  In Revelation 11:18 we can see how God reacts; “The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”  There are two reasons mentioned here in Scripture for which God will judge the unrepentant; one for killing God’s servants and martyring the saints and the prophets.  This is still happening around the globe today so those who are killing Christians for their faith will be avenged by God.  The second thing that God will judge the earth’s inhabitants for and is often overlooked is for the “destroyers of the earth.”  Today, we are raping the earth and leaving behind ruined lands.  In many parts of the world today they are strip mining hillsides and mountaintops for precious metals and minerals and leaving in their wake ruined land that is laid waste and doesn’t easily recover.

Raping the Land

For those who are pumping oil out of the earth and pumping in salt-brine into the ground to force crude oil or gas out of the ground, they are polluting ground water and the abandoned wells that are left behind and when wells are left uncapped, the polluted salt water can escape and leave behind sterile ground where nothing at all can grow. The spike in the number of earthquakes in recent years in the Midwest had been scientifically proven to be tied to the activities of mankind.  It’s the process called “fracking” which uses water to extract oil and natural gas from shale and is a well-stimulation technique in which rock is fractured by hydraulically high-pressure fluids (usually chemicals and sand suspended in water) and is injected into a wellbore to create cracks in the deep-rock formations. Geologists now have direct evidence that fracking has resulted a number of earthquakes in areas where this technique has occurred.  Following hydraulic fracturing along dormant or previously unknown faults are increases in seismic activity caused by the deep-injection disposal of hydraulic fracturing flow-back and this produces a formation of brine, a byproduct of both fractured and non-fractured oil and gas wells.  It also leaves behind polluted ground water from which many people depend on for their drinking water supplies.

The Enemies Destroying the Lands

In ancient times, invading armies would come in to destroy the land by laying down salt on lands that would make the lands infertile where crops had previously been cultivated and grown.   Some of the earliest non-biblical accounts of salt sowing dates from the eighth century BC, and several sources speak of Jewish, Hittite, and Assyrian cities being sown with salt or other minerals.  Moses warned of such things in Deuteronomy 29:23-24 if Israel rejected God by prophesying, “the whole land burned out with brimstone and salt, nothing sown and nothing growing, where no plant can sprout, an overthrow like that of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which the Lord overthrew in his anger and wrath – all the nations will say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land?’”  In fact, this did happen to Israel.  Just like fracking, the land “burned out with brimstone and salt” and “nothing sown and nothing growing, where no plant can sprout,” today we are doing this to lands but instead of it being a judgment on a nation, it is being done in the interests of oil and gas production.  For Israel it was “because they abandoned the covenant of the Lord” (Deut 29:25), today, it’s being done to make money by forcing out oil or gas where it is nearly inaccessible by any other methods other than fracking. The psalmist writes about the judgment of God on the land when the people forsake Him in Psalm 107:33-34 “He turned rivers into a desert, flowing springs into thirsty ground, and fruitful land into a salt waste, because of the wickedness of those who lived there.”

Conclusion

It is clear that we are to take care of the earth because mankind was made a steward but we have not done so.  After creation “God saw everything he had made. And it was very good. There was evening, and there was morning. It was day six” (Gen 1:31) but today if you look around much of the earth it is anything but good.  We are desecrating the earth to extract wealth in the form of minerals, gas, oil, and precious metals and gems, leaving behind a wake of devastation and ruin.  God will hold us accountable for how we treat the earth because He created it good but evil has overrun the earth and “we know that the whole creation has been groaning together” (Rom 8:22) since then.  We are ignoring God’s warnings about the land that “It will be made a wasteland, parched and desolate before me; the whole land will be laid waste because there is no one who cares” (Jer 29:11) so at least those who do care should make sure and keep or guard their own gardens of Eden, wherever they might be.

Something else that might interest you: Will Heaven be Similar to the Garden of Eden?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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