“The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” – Genesis 2:15
A couple of months ago, our family decided to get some fish as pets. We went to Petco and my two sons wanted a red guppy and Dalmatian molly. However, we didn’t realize the water we would use from home first needed to be tested for 24 hours before buying the fish to ensure the nitrate, chlorine, hardness, pH, and alkalinity were at safe levels.
Also, the aquarium required to be large enough to give each fish at least a gallon of space. So we went back home, tested the water, and then came back to get it verified by an employee.
Upon receiving the green light–we bought the recommended size aquarium, blue rocks for the bottom of the tank, a coral reef for the fish to enjoy, tropical flake food, a pH regulator, test strips, a water filter machine, and water clarifier.
In the end, I didn’t realize how much fine-tuning and hard work it was to keep and maintain the fish in a safe environment.
Taking Care of God’s Garden – Earth
From the beginning, God commanded human beings to take care of the Garden of Eden. This Garden is a carved out space that represents all we see around: the ocean, trees, sky, lakes, rivers, animals, and our own bodies.
The Hebrew word here used for “work it” is לְעָבְדָ֖הּ, which expresses this notion of cultivating, tending, and serving the physical world. The other Hebrew word for “taking care of” is וּלְשָׁמְרָֽהּ–denoting keeping, safe-guarding, and observing the land. God makes it clear throughout Scripture to be good stewards of our universe.
For instance, in Isaiah 43:20-21 the Lord says, “The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.” God is the Creator and we are His creation. He desires to take care of us.
Moreover, God indicts his people for poorly taking care of his creation. He states in Ezekiel 34:2-4, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally.”
Alarming Statistics That Show Humans Are Not Being Good Stewards
A study conducted from Nature said:
“Between 1.15 to 2.41 million tons of plastic enters the oceans via rivers annually, with peak months being between May and October. The top 20 contributing rivers, which according to the report are mostly found in Asia, contribute around 67% of all plastics flowing into the ocean.”Tweet
Moreover, according to The United Nations Environment Program, “Marine Liter: Trash that Kills,” over 1 million seabirds and 100,000 sea mammals are killed by pollution every year.
Also, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has confirmed that 40% of the lakes in America are too polluted for fishing, aquatic life, or swimming.
These facts alone should beckon us as Christians to do a better job at taking care of our environment. It’s not only for the animals sake and our own livelihood; it’s for the sake of God. The reason we need to tend to our planet, the “Garden of Eden” God gifted us, is to honor the Creator because it’s His masterpiece; for He created humanity in His image and likeness and we don’t want to pollute that which is holy.
Ways We Can Make A Difference
What are some ways we can make a difference? Here are a few ideas I can give to you. First, recycle plastics and other harmful wastes. This does not take a whole lot of effort. My grandmother was keen on this; she had boxes of cans that she would smash and make sure to recycle, and you can do the same.
Second, if you live near a beach, river, or lake, invite a few friends and take a trash bag with you to clean up any debris that would be harmful for the animals living in that area. It will also give you a great opportunity to get off social media and interact in this beautiful world God created!
Third, instead of driving your car to work or the store if they are within reasonable distance, ride a bike instead. This will be helpful for both the environment and your overall physical health.
Do you have any other ideas? I would love to hear them. Thanks for reading!
Article written by Chad A. Damitz (M.Div)