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Whose world?

“Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1.28

You can read God's instruction to Adam and Eve in two ways: as a sacred trust or as a license to exploit. In the eyes of a greedy and pitiless dictator it reads like an open invitation to indulge, exploit and plunder. But that is not the model we are presented in the Bible. As long as they remained in Eden our human prototypes exercise a much gentler interpretation of their divine mandate, respectful to their environment and towards their fellow creatures, rejoicing in the companionship of God who created them all.

That sacred bond was broken when Satan entered the scene, infecting the whole world with sin. Among the tragic consequences is that Adam and Eve's descendants, including ourselves, have tended towards the former, more aggressive interpretation of that divine mandate. So we have become exploiters, as opposed to stewards. Not that we have any excuse! The prophets warned us of the bitter harvest we shall reap if we continue to defy God and spite creation. And we have Jesus, who not only modelled faithful living - at whose heart is reverence for God and creation - but who has prepared for us a way back to Eden.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30.21



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