If the Earth is the Lord’s, Then We’re in big Trouble

Psalm 24
24:1 The Lord owns the earth and all it contains,
the world and all who live in it.
24:2 For he set its foundation upon the seas,
and established it upon the ocean currents.

Let’s say someone is house sitting a moderately sized home with tremendous historical value and a decent plot of land. 30 acres or so should do the the trick. I like colonial houses, so we’ll say it’s a colonial.

He doesn’t have to pay any rent. In fact, the owner encourages him to use the house to keep himself warm. The gardens outside, if properly tended, should provide a good bit of food. The land beyond the gardens can supply lumber and animals to eat. This is a bit far-fetched, but bear with me.

Now let’s say this fellah doesn’t want to go all of the way back into the woods to find food, lumber, or whatever else is needed. He decides to just tear down one or two rooms, chop up some of the furniture, and tear apart some books for his fires.

He also begins stealing from his neighbors’ gardens. This is a much more cost effective way to find food. With all of the time and money he saves, he is able to engage in all kinds of leisure activities such as lawn darts, croquet, and basket weaving.

Over time he decides to start selling parts of the land to others for lumber, mining, or whatever else they want with it. He doesn’t really care what happens to the land so long as he can make a good profit off it.

To make matters worse, he decides to cut back on utilities and services, so he begins to dump his garbage out back. This only destroys his garden and the gardens of his neighbors.

Over time he finds that he doesn’t like what has happened to the house or to the land, but he’s already stuck in a cycle of theft and exploitation. He finds change to be costly and disruptive.

Please pardon the overdone parable. I hope to start blogging a bit about God’s ownership of this world and the implications for our lifestyle and treatment of the environment. This is my cheesy way of introducing this topic.

How often do we consider that this world belongs to God? Are we really aware that he’s invested quite a lot into creating this world? I think he spent a heck of a lot longer than six, 24-hour days, and that should make him all of the more infuriated with our poor management of the world.

Some topics that I hope to hit on are:

  • energy
  • organic food
  • farms
  • lifestyle
  • streams and rivers
  • household products
  • global responsibility

For now I’ll leave you with a snippet from the creation account of Genesis. The translator’s note will be of particular significance for future discussion here.

Genesis, Chapter 1
1:28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it!(58) Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that moves on the ground.” 1:29 Then God said, “I now give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the entire earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 1:30 And to all the animals of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to all the creatures that move on the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food.” It was so.

Part of the Translator’s Note on Verse 28:
“58tn The general meaning of the verb appears to be “to bring under one’s control for one’s advantage.” In Gen 1:28 one might paraphrase it as follows: “harness its potential and use its resources for your benefit.” In an ancient Israelite context this would suggest cultivating its fields, mining its mineral riches, using its trees for construction, and domesticating its animals.”

3 thoughts on “If the Earth is the Lord’s, Then We’re in big Trouble

  1. Adam Malliet


    That’s all well and good Ed, but I think we know that Jesus is going to come down from heaven and join up with Kirk Cameron to destroy the earth so as to make way for the New Earth.

  2. Ed Post author

    Thanks for the reminder Adam that Kirk Cameron is on supposedly on our side . . .

    That brings up an interesting point. Isn’t that kind of theology, driven by end-time destruction of the world, a poor excuse for Gnosticism? (the philosophy that separates the good spirit world from the evil material world)

    Think about this . . . how are we saved? Isn’t by believing or shall we say, accepting "special knowledge"? Doesn’t our fixation on heaven and the spiritual realm take away from the value we should also place on God’s creation and his work in this world?

    It’s just a thought. I’m not saying that we’ve become heretics, but we should at least not consider ourselves to be above such an ignominious title.

  3. Adam Malliet

    I have been having this discussion with some friends about how evangelical conservatism smacks of gnostic thinking. The emphasis placed on the struggle between good and evil as voiced by our fearless leader, the secret personal salvation that has lead us to individualize our faith, the dualistic language of scared vs. secular. Sure they have left out the weird creepy stuff about Jesus and Mary Magdalene and a metaphorical resurrection, but the basic Gnostic framework exists and the new heresy’s seem to coming out of Dallas and they are suggesting that Revelation has some secret mystical information only available to "the elect"

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