Loving the Earth is a Sacred Responsibility

Saturday, August 15, 2015

In Genesis chapter one, we read the story of creation. The light was separated from the darkness, the water from the land. Animals and plants were created to add variety and beauty to the earth. Finally, man and woman were created. The Lord blessed them in verse 28, saying "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."

Look a little deeper at these words and the way this verse was written. First the Lord blesses Adam and Eve with the ability to have children (be fruitful and multiply and replenish). The word "replenish" also means "fill". I think there is a beautiful second meaning here that is often  overlooked.
Hugh Nibley, in this article in The New Era (1981) wrote:
In commanding Adam to “be fruitful, and multiply,” God also informed him that he had given the identical command to all his other creatures, furthermore that he was putting Adam in charge of things to see to it that His purposes were fulfilled. Specifically, he was to “replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over” every living thing in the biosphere... There are two clearly marked departments—the earth itself as a storehouse and source of life, which Adam is to keep replenished (“filled” is the word), and the creatures that move about on and over the earth, over which he is to have dominion.
The ancients taught that Adam’s dominion was nothing less than the priesthood, the power to act for God and in his place. The idea is that God, while retaining his unshakable throne in the heavens, “extended his glory to a new world below in the work of the Creation; then as the culmination of that work he created man to be in charge... of all the beings he had created,” with the understanding that “from this time forth man must work to improve the earth and preserve and take care of all that is in it, exactly as God had done before.”
To summarize those powerful words, man has a calling to be a responsible steward over the earth, to watch over and ensure that all life on this world operates according to the Lord's design.

Man has a responsibility to help the trees and flowers grow. Man has a responsibility to allow the animals freedom to run, have families and friends, and have clean water to drink. Man has a responsibility to provide a sense of safety, peace, and replenishment to the earth. It is our responsibility to give all the inhabitants of this beautiful world the resources to live with joy.
Responsibility for the animals doesn't look like growth hormones, slaughterhouses, improper use of antibiotics, overcrowded coops and pastures, and inhumane treatment.
Responsibility for the plants doesn't look like toxic chemical pesticides and insecticides, deforestation, and food waste.
Responsibility for the earth doesn't look like polluted air and waterways, littered deserts, and over-mined fossil fuel stores.

The emphasis the LDS church puts on families and having children is not unwarranted: it is a commandment. Unfortunately, the narrow definition creates blindness and ignorance of the equally important charge given to man. 

What good is birthing babies if there is no place for them to live?

© Channing B. Parker. Design by FCD.