Search

Type your text, and hit enter to search:
Close This site uses cookies. If you continue to use the site you agree to this. For more details please see our cookies policy.

Having DominionGoM29 Environment I (13-09-21)

 

God On Monday

Read Previous

'When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals, that you care for them?
Yet you have…given them dominion over the works of your hands' (Psalm 8.3-4,6)

 

Welcome to the twenty-ninth God on Monday reflection! In the run-up to the crucial COP 26 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November, this is the first in a short series of reflections on purpose and the environment.

One of the first times faith came alive for me was when I was a young teenager. I was at a large Christian festival in the Peak District. One of the speakers was the astronaut Buzz Aldrin, one of the first two humans to set foot on the moon. He spoke movingly about the wonder and majesty of what he had seen during his lunar trip, which had inspired him to cite the first of the two lines above from Psalm 8 in a radio broadcast to the world from inside his spacecraft.

Around ten millennia after the lines cited from space were written, the Psalmist's insight that human beings are only a tiny part of the vast created order has become central to the environmental movement. However, the following line of that Psalm, which suggests God has given humans 'dominion' over creation (echoing Genesis 1) has proved problematic to many members of that movement. This idea, they claim, is largely responsible for the human exploitation of the natural world that has led to our current ecological crisis.

This charge against Christianity, which for many people represents a stumbling block to faith, relies on a selective reading of scripture. For the second account of creation, in Genesis 2, provides a key insight into what ‘having dominion’ really means. There we read in verse 15, ‘The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it’. The Hebrew verbs translated here as ‘to till’ and ‘to keep’ are horticultural terms that are specifically about the careful nurture of nature. They are an early example of a recurrent theme in scripture about the wise stewardship of the earth’s resources.

Christians have, of course, been amongst those who have irresponsibly exploited the earth’s resources. But when they do, they are not fulfilling God’s purpose that humans have dominion (Psalm 8 and Genesis 1) but are reflecting the fallenness of human beings depicted in Genesis 3, where the relationship between human beings and the natural world is marred by alienation and hostility. For it is only in stewarding creation that humans fulfil what on earth they are here for.

Peter S Heslam, Director of Faith in Business

Sign up to Faith in Business here to receive each God on Monday instalment. Feel free to share these reflections with your contacts via email and social media.

Glenys
Hello and welcome to Faith in Business. It would be great for us to work as Partners Together.
Click here to see more.

Partner with Us

Partnering with Faith in Business


Partner

 

Stimulating and resourcing the business world for over 30 years


Faith in Business’ vision is of business as a force for good, transforming society in a way that expresses the kingdom of God. We encourage and equip Christian business people to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ in a demanding workplace context. With an eye on the future, we are especially committed to serving young business leaders.

Faith in Business is active on many fronts. We run an annual retreat, co-publish a quarterly journal, host a monthly webinar and facilitate a business prayer network. As a volunteer-led organisation, we provide a number of ways that you can get involved with us: