Throughout its existence, mankind enjoys the benefits of nature, flora, and fauna to provide his vital necessities. But the use of nature leads also to the consumption of natural resources and environmental pollution and damage. What is the Christian view of the treatment towards nature?
The science about nature and the issues related to it is called ecology. Ecology is the science studying the relationship between living organisms, their coexistence, and their environment. The word “ecology” comes from the Greek word “οἶκος” assigning shelter, settlements and from the other word “λόγος”, which translates as “word”, also in collocations it has the meaning of the science. This term began to be used since the mid-19th century, but later its meaning was expanded and today it includes the issues of ecology, conservation of the environment.
Knowledge of the Christian view of nature is important for the solution of environmental problems. God gave power to the first men on flora and fauna: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Gen. 1:28 ). The same authority is given to Noah and his family after the flood (Gen. 9:13).
According to Christian viewpoint, the concept of power can be explained by the meaning of care shown by one person. Within Christianity, the concept of power between the relationship of the master and slave, the husband and wife and Christ and the Church (Matt. 20:28, Mark 9:34, 10:45, Eph. 5:22-25, 32) is explained in such understanding.
Therefore, the domination over nature, that according to the Scripture God gave the man, also must be understood not in the sense of possession but in the sense of care and attendance. The human beings must enjoy the benefits of nature and not have the indiscriminate use of nature or humans must use providently the benefits granted by nature and not exploit nature.
According to the Christian doctrine, the above-mentioned words of the Book of Genesis are interpreted and perceived as an approval of man as a steward and guardian of creation.
The parable that Christ told about the unjust steward (Luke 16:1-8), when the master requires an account from his steward, we can understand not only in the meaning of the report related to the disposition of personal, God-given life but also in general sense, in view of the report demanded from a man, who is approved as the steward of the world, for God requires from a man to manifest the care and concern for nature.
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