29 April 2017

Conservation of the God-Created Environment in the Holy Bible

We as Christians should be conservation minded, to take care of the environments on the world that we live on. We are called to be stewards of that which we are blessed with, including our planet, earth. But where can we find this in Sacred Scripture? Let's look at this in detail, in both the New and Old Covenants/Testaments of Holy Writ.

Verses from the Books of the Old Covenant/Testament are from the Douay-Rheims Holy Bible, except for the Psalms, which are from The Orthodox Psalter: The Psalterion of the Prophet and King David According to the Seventy, with the Nine Odes and Commentary. Also consulted were The Lives of the Holy Prophets: The Major and Minor Prophets of the Old Testament and Genesis, Creation, and Early Man. Verses from the Books of the New Covenant/Testament are from the The Orthodox New Testament Volume 1: Evangelistarion - The Holy Gospels and The Orthodox New Testament: Volume 2: Praxapostolos - Acts, Epistles, and Revelation

First let's look in the Old Covenant/Testament to see to whom all of creation belongs and how we should treat it. All 5 Books of the Mosaic Law speak to this, let's find out where.
Genesis 1:6-12, 21-25, 31 And God said: Let there be a firmament made amidst the waters: and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made a firmament, and divided the waters that were under the firmament, from those that were above the firmament, and it was so. And God called the firmament, Heaven; and the evening and morning were the second day. God also said: Let the waters that are under the heaven, be gathered together into one place: and let the dry land appear. And it was so done. And God called the dry land, Earth; and the gathering together of the waters, he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.And he said: Let the earth bring forth the green herb, and such as may seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind, which may have seed in itself upon the earth. And it was so done. And the earth brought forth the green herb, and such as yieldeth seed according to its kind, and the tree that beareth fruit, having seed each one according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. [...] And God created the great whales, and every living and moving creature, which the waters brought forth, according to their kinds, and every winged fowl according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And he blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the waters of the sea: and let the birds be multiplied upon the earth. And the evening and morning were the fifth day. And God said: Let the earth bring forth the living creature in its kind, cattle and creeping things, and beasts of the earth, according to their kinds. And it was so done. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds, and cattle, and every thing that creepeth on the earth after its kind. And God saw that it was good. [...] And God saw all the things that he had made, and they were very good. And the evening and morning were the sixth day.
Genesis 2:15 And the Lord God took man, and put him into the paradise of pleasure, to dress it, and to keep it. 
Exodus 20:13-17 Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house: neither shalt thou desire his wife, nor his servant, nor his handmaid, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is his.

Exodus 23:10-11
Six years thou shalt sow thy ground, and shalt gather the corn thereof. But the seventh year thou shalt let it alone, and suffer it to rest, that the poor of thy people may eat, and whatsoever shall be left, let the beasts of the field eat it: so shalt thou do with thy vineyard and thy olive yard.

Leviticus 25:3-5 Six years thou shalt sow thy field and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and shalt gather the fruits thereof: But in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath to the land, of the resting of the Lord: thou shalt not sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. What the ground shall bring forth of itself, thou shalt not reap: neither shalt thou gather the grapes of the firstfruits as a vintage: for it is a year of rest to the land. 
Leviticus 25:23-24 The land also shall not be sold forever: because it is Mine, and you are strangers and sojourners with Me. For which cause all the country of your possession shall be under the condition of redemption. 
Numbers 35:33-34 Defile not the land of your habitation, which is stained with the blood of the innocent: neither can it otherwise be expiated, but by his blood that hath shed the blood of another. And thus shall your possession he cleansed, myself abiding with you. For I AM the Lord that dwell among the children of Israel. 
Deuteronomy 20:19 When thou hast besieged a city a long time, and hath compassed it with bulwarks to take it, thou shalt not cut down the trees that may be eaten of, neither shalt thou spoil the country round about with axes: for it is a tree, and not a man, neither can it increase the number of them that fight against thee.
Now let's look at 4 (of the 9 Books) of the Books of Wisdom from the Old Covenant/Testament which remind us of the above lessons, and that humans can learn about God from His creation, but also warns us not to fall into the error of worshipping the earth or her creatures, who were so beautifully created by God.
Psalm 23(24):1-2 The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the inhabited world and all those dwelling in her. He founded her upon the seas, and upon the rivers He prepared her. 
Psalm 94(95):3-5 For the Lord is a great God and a great King over all the earth. For in His hand are the ends of the earth, and the heights of the mountains are His. For the sea is His, and He made her; and the dry land did His hands fashion. 
Job 12:7-12 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee: and the birds of the air, and they shall tell thee. Speak to the earth, and it shall answer thee: and the fishes of the sea shall tell. Who is ignorant that the hand of the Lord hath made all these things? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the spirit of all flesh of man. Doth not the ear discern words, and the palate of him that eateth, the taste? In the ancient is wisdom, and in length of days prudence. 
Proverbs 12:10-11 The just regardeth the lives of his beasts: but the bowels of the wicked are cruel. He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that pursueth idleness is very foolish. He that is delighted in passing his time over wine, leaveth a reproach in his strong holds. 
Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-15 For God made not death, neither hath he pleasure in the destruction of the living. For he created all things that they might be: and he made the nations of the earth for health: and there is no poison of destruction in them, nor kingdom of hades upon the earth. For justice is perpetual and immortal. 
Wisdom of Solomon 2:1, 6-9, 21-24 For they have said, reasoning with themselves, but not right: [...] The time of our life is short and tedious, and in the end of a man there is no remedy, and no man hath been known to have returned from hell: Come therefore, and let us enjoy the good things that are present, and let us speedily use the creatures as in youth. Let us fill ourselves with costly wine, and ointments: and let not the flower of the time pass by us. Let us crown ourselves with roses, before they be withered: let no meadow escape our riot. Let none of us go without his part in luxury: let us everywhere leave tokens of joy: for this is our portion, and this our lot. [...] These things they thought, and were deceived: for their own malice blinded them. And they knew not the secrets of God, nor hoped for the wages of justice, nor esteemed the honour of holy souls. For God created man incorruptible, and to the image of his own likeness he made him. But by the envy of the devil, death came into the world: And they follow him that are of his side. 
Wisdom of Solomon 13:1-7 But all men are vain, in whom there is not the knowledge of God: and who by these good things that are seen, could not understand him that is, neither by attending to the works have acknowledged who was the workman: But have imagined either the fire, or the wind, or the swift air, or the circle of the stars, or the great water, or the sun and moon, to be the gods that rule the world. With whose beauty, if they, being delighted, took them to be gods: let them know how much the Lord of them is more beautiful than they: for the first author of beauty made all those things. Or if they admired their power and their effects, let them understand by them, that he that made them, is mightier than they: For by the greatness of the beauty, and of the creature, the creator of them may be seen, so as to be known thereby. But yet as to these they are less to be blamed. For they perhaps err, seeking God, and desirous to find him. For being conversant among his works, they search: and they are persuaded that the things are good which are seen.
Next, we will look at the 19 Books of Prophecy, specifically 3 (of the 7 Books) of the Major Prophets of the Old Covenant/Testament who tell us not to harm the earth.
Isaias(Isaiah) 24:4-5 The earth mourned, and faded away, and is weakened: the world faded away, the height of the people of the earth is weakened. And the earth is infected by the inhabitants thereof: because they have transgressed the laws, they have changed the ordinance, they have broken the everlasting covenant. 
Jeremias(Jeremiah) 2:7, 9-10 And I brought you into a fruitful, plentiful land, to eat the fruit thereof, and the best things thereof: and when ye entered in, you defiled my land, and made my inheritance an abomination. [...] Therefore will I yet contend in judgement with you, saith the Lord, and I will plead with your children. Pass over to the isles of Cethim, and see: and send into Cedar, and consider diligently: and see if there hath been done anything like this. 
Ezekiel 34:18 Was it not enough for you to feed upon good pastures? But you must also tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures: and when you drank the clearest water, you troubled the rest with your feet.
Now we will move on to the New Covenant/Testament. First let us check 1 of the (4) Holy Gospels written by the Holy Evangelists which shows us how to be stewards of what we are given, including the earth from the Word of Our Lord and Saviour, God the Son, the Son of Man, and the Sun of Righteousness, Jesus Christ
The Gospel According to Saint Luke 19:11-26 And as they heard these things He added and spake a parable, because He was near Jerusalem and they thought that the kingdom of God was immediately about to be shown forth. He saith therefore, "A certain well-born man went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And having called his own ten slaves, he gave ten minas to them, and said to them, 'Transact business while I go and return.' But his citizens kept on hating him, and sent forth an embassy after him, saying 'We are unwilling for this man to reign over us.' And it came to pass, when he returned, having received the kingdom, that he commanded those slaves to be called to him, to whom he gave money, in order that he might find out what each gained by trading. And the first came up, saying, 'Lord, thy mina gained ten minas.' And he said to him, 'Well done, good slave! Because in a very little thou wast faithful, be thou having authority over ten cities.' And the second came, saying, 'Lord,thy mina made five minas.' And he said also to this one, 'Be thou also over five cities.' And another came saying, 'Lord, behold thy mina, which I was keeping laid up in a napkin. For I was afraid of thee, because thou art an austere man. Thou takest up what thou didst not lay down, and reapest what thou didst not sow, and gatherest together where thou didst not winnow. He saith to him, 'Out of thy mouth will I judge thee, O wicked slave. Thou knowest that I am an austere man, taking up what I did not lay down, and reaping what I did not sow, and gathering together where I did not winnow; and why didst thou not give my money to the bank, and indeed after I came I would have exacted payment from it with interest?' And to those standing by he said, 'Take away the mina from him, and give it to the one who hath the ten minas.' And they said to him, 'Lord he hath ten minas.' For I say to you that to everyone who hath shall be given; but from the one who hath not, even what he hath shall be taken away from him."
Now let's check from 1 of the (21) Epistles that the Holy Apostles wrote in the New Covenant/Testament, teaching the Word of Christ to the local individual churches of the Church.
The Epistle of Saint Paul to the Romans 8:19-22 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly awaiteth the revelation of the sons of God. For creation was subjected to vanity, not willingly, but on account of Him Who subjected it in hope, that the creation itself shall be freed from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth together and travaileth together until now.
And finally we will check 1 of the Apocalyptic Books written by the Saints of the New Covenant/Testament that warn us about our future and the consequences of our actions.
The Revelation of Saint John the Theologian 11:18 And the nations were angry, and Thy wrath did come, and the time of the nations to be judged and to give the reward to Thy slaves the prophets and to the saints, to those fearing Thy name, to the small and to the great, and to destroy those destroying the earth.
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