Some people ask, “Does God care about how bad things are on this planet?” What we should be asking is, “What have we done with God’s good earth that He gave to us for our home?”
Let’s review some of the facts:
- God originally gave humans responsibility to “fill the earth and govern it.” To “Reign over” or “rule over” the sub-human order (Genesis 1:28).
- The repeated phrase, “I give you every…” (in Genesis 1:29-30) revealed that the earth was originally God’s gift to us for our benefit.
- When originally given, the earth was (in God’s own words) “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
- So the earth is in a sense ours “to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15).
- Ultimately “the earth is the Lord’s…” (Psalm 24:1:I Corinthians 10:26), but we’ve been entrusted with it as stewards.
- Humans were created as moral beings with a capacity for choosing and for accountability. Although (as created beings) humans are dependent on their Creator, God gave them freedom without coercion. This gift was given to humans to honor or to abuse – to confirm for themselves.
- Very early in human history, God grieved over the world because He “saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled” (Genesis 6:5-6).
- The historian tells us, “the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways” (Genesis 6:11-12). The word “corrupt” implies the diminishing of something that was good. We humans turned away from the glory of God’s image.
- God’s grief over human wickedness resulted in His judgment against it. God said, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them” (Genesis 6:13).
- Gratefully, there was one man who “found favor in the eyes of the Lord” and was spared along with his family (Genesis 6:7).
Responsibility returned to humans:
After God’s judgment only eight people remained and God once again handed responsibility over to humanity. This time it involved the punishment of murderers. Because violence filled the earth, God ordained a role for human government to end violence. Of the possible ordinances God could have given for life in the new world, consider the implications of the one he gave:
“And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow-man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image” (Genesis 9:5-6).
We should give much more consideration to the stewardship and responsibility God gave us for conditions on earth. Let’s be quick to ask what we should be doing in the face of evil.
Three agents of restraint:
- God’s will for parents is that they bring their children up “in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:1).
- God’s will for human authorities is that they “punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right” (I Peter 2:14; Romans 13:1-5).
- God’s will for the Church is to be salt and light to the world and to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 5:13-16; 28:18-20).
More faithful attention to these God-ordained means of influence would bring many good changes to our world.
Audio message here.