“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
Some listeners who have heard us refer to the false religion of environmentalism, which substitutes nature for God, may be troubled by the implications. We do not like to see garbage on the ground instead of in the trash cans, and we particularly don’t like the effect on our surroundings of factories that pollute the atmosphere and rivers. In short, is there a way that we can show our concern for the environment without adopting the false religion of environmentalism?
Yes, there is. Genesis 1:26 lays a dominion or cultural mandate on humanity. Some have labeled this mandate – rightly, in my view – as stewardship. We should be concerned about our surroundings and about pollution. Some others might ask: “What is the difference between environmentalism and stewardship?” The difference is motivation and focus. Stewardship starts from our worship of God and seeks to honor Him in everything, while environmentalism is an idolatry, caused by substituting nature for God. Stewardship acknowledges that God is center stage and reminds us of our duty to Him, whereas environmentalism moves humanity, or even just nature, into the central place of God.