Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
I think it’s really significant that, in Genesis 2:15, before the fall into sin, God gave the man he had created a job - to work the garden and keep it. We don’t really know what this included, but we can get a reasonable picture of it based on what a wilderness is like after the fall. There are lots of plants. This is a fertile place, well watered, and rich in natural resources. God intends his people to do some caretaking. There are plants that provide food, plants that provide shelter, warmth, and the ability to cook (I think the first humans knew about cooking, tools, and creating shelter. They were created in God’s image. They didn’t need to invent everything from scratch. They were inventive and instinctively knew a good bit about how to take care of themselves.). The goal was not to leave “nature” to itself. It was to take care of nature, to intervene when appropriate, and to use resources for good.
At times, Christians have forgotten that they still have a divine mandate to care for their surroundings and use them for good. Some have engaged in plunder and careless use. Some have decided that temporal things don’t matter and can be squandered. On the other hand, some have adopted the view of the Romantic environmentalist movement which says we want to leave nature entirely to itself and avoid human interaction of any sort.
The biblical view is somewhere in between. We are to use our environment, but carefully and gently. There’s a sort of sustainability which comes from good stewardship. Since the fall into sin, it’s harder to keep everything in order. The plants that provide food are under more active attack by plants and animals that could kill them. Plants that are overcrowded don’t mature to their full potential. However, the crowded plants might be very useful for cooking, heating, and even building. Animals that are overcrowded become sick and even starve. Animals that are over-hunted become rare and can die out. Meanwhile, we try to persuade most of the wildlife to stay in their homes (outside) and out of our homes (inside).
God gave his people a mandate to keep the garden. As human population has spread, that mandate has remained unchanged. We tend the garden where we live. And as we keep it and nurture it, we’ll have a good and pleasant place to live, abundant with food, shelter, and all sorts of interesting things to explore. The work is good.
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