Hi everyone. Thanks for reading my first scriptural commentary. I’m starting off my reading (and this series) with the Old Testament, Book of Genesis.
In the first two chapters, we have a beautiful account of the Earth’s creation and the creation of Man. There’s been a lot written about these passages by great scholars and theologians so I won’t touch much on the above-mentioned themes.
There’s an important principle that caught my attention in Chapter 2.
First off, we know the Lord gave Man dominion over the earth per Genesis 1:
26. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let hem have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
28. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful , and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion…
(Genesis 1: 26&28, italics added for emphasis)
It’s pretty clear, then, that Man is given a unique role above all other creatures. But it’s in chapter 2 that we get some more information about what this entails. The verse is very brief but full of insight:
15. And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
(Genesis 2:15 , italics added for emphasis)
The key is in that last phrase, that the Lord put Adam in the Garden to “dress and keep it.” To dress implies adorning and grooming; to keep means to cultivate and care for.
What was the purpose of God’s commandment to Adam to dress and keep the Garden of Eden? It couldn’t have been to produce food for Adam’s nourishment. The Garden produced fruit spontaneously without any effort on Adam’s part. It wasn’t until after the fall of Man that Adam had to grow fruit from the earth through the sweat of his face.
If Adam didn’t have to keep the garden for sustenance, why do it? Because as God’s crowning creation, made in God’s image, Adam was being commanded to show his reverence for the extensive work of his Maker.
Here’s the lesson for us: we may have dominion over the earth, but that doesn’t mean our relationship with it is one-sided. We’re to use nature for our benefit, but it doesn’t exist solely for our benefit. We aren’t free to destroy nature or natural resources simply because it makes our life more convenient. The principle of stewardship is very much part of the Lord’s commandment.
Of course, the actual specifics of managing our needs with our charge to protect the environment is complicated. Most human activity can become destructive of the environment. But we should continually be striving for that balance, constantly looking for ways to reduce the harm done to nature. Our attitude should never be one of disregard for the earth, but respect.
Thanks for reading. Wish you the best in what’s left of this year.