Devotional - Health topics

The Environment and Health

Monday, December 10, 2018

The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come . . . for destroying those who destroy the earth. Rev. 11:18, NIV.

Consider these facts:
  • In 1960 the average U.S. citizen produced three pounds of trash per day; today five pounds per person per day go into the trash.
  • Ten thousand people die each year from pesticide poisoning, and another 40,000 fall ill. The rapidly increasing use of such chemicals throughout the world threatens water quality and poses risks of increased cancer and birth defects.
  • Each year human beings clear an area of tropical forest the size of Scotland; the soil then erodes, the climate begins changing, and the forest’s replenishing resources have vanished.
  • Scientists estimate that as many as one million species of plant and animal life will have become extinct from the human destruction of forests and ecosystems by the end of the twentieth century.
The beginning of Hosea 4 describes the Lord’s “controversy with the inhabitants of the land” (verse 1). He says that they lack kindness and faithfulness, replacing it with lying, stealing, cheating, adultery, and murder. And what is the result? “The land mourns, and all who live in it waste away” (verse 3, NIV) and the beasts, birds, and even fish disappear.

The Bible clearly laments the deterioration of the environment. When you contrast it with the wondrous pictures of creation’s intended harmony and wholeness given in Scripture, you realize that environmental ruin is an offense against God.

At Creation God gave humanity “dominion” over all the earth (Gen. 1:26-28). However, the biblical term dominion does not mean arrogant domination. The biblical concept of dominion is connected to two other key ideas-covenant and stewardship. The Bible expresses not only God’s covenant with humanity, but also His covenant with all of nature (see Gen. 9:13-15). Dominion implies the responsibility to serve nature in what is essentially a stewardship relationship. God calls upon the Christian to exhibit dominion over nature without being destructive.

Unfortunately, God’s command to “subdue” the earth (Gen. 1:28) has served as a sweeping rationalization for mindless exploitation of natural resources. Christians, of all people, should not be the destroyers. We should treat nature with an overwhelming respect.

What can I do to help preserve the national resources that God created for our use and management?

Used by permission of Health Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.