The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Genesis 2:15
Earth Day is an annual event observed on April 22. In recent years, more than one billion people in about two hundred countries have taken part in educational and service activities. Each year, Earth Day is a reminder of the importance of caring for our amazing planet. But the mandate to care for the environment is far older than this annual event—it goes all the way back to creation.
In Genesis, we learn that God created the entire universe and formed the earth as a place for humans to dwell. Not only did He fashion the mountain peaks and lush plains, God also created the garden of Eden, a beautiful place providing food, shelter, and beauty for its inhabitants (Genesis 2:8–9).
After breathing life into His most important creation, humans, God placed them in this garden (vv. 8, 22) and gave them the responsibility “to work it and take care of it” (v. 15). After Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden, caring for God’s creation became more difficult (3:17–19), but to this day God Himself cares for our planet and its creatures (Psalm 65:9–13) and asks us to do the same (Proverbs 12:10).
Whether we live in crowded cities or rural areas, we all have ways we can care for the areas God has entrusted to us. And as we tend the earth, may it be an act of gratitude to Him for this beautiful planet.
What part of creation takes your breath away? How might you care for the part of the earth God has entrusted to you?
Creator God, You’ve entrusted to us a marvelous planet that sustains and astonishes me. Please help me to respond to Your gift by caring for it as a way to express thankfulness for Your provision.
Ancient Hebrew literature often conveyed meaning through intentional wordplays. In Genesis 2, the Hebrew word translated “man”—’adam (Genesis 2:7) is very similar to the Hebrew word translated “ground” (vv. 5–7)—’adamah. If a modern translation attempted to capture this wordplay, it might translate “man” (’adam) as “earthling” and “ground” (’adamah) as “earth.” By pairing these words, the passage communicates key insights into human nature. Humanity was formed from the earth or ground (v. 7) and so is intimately connected to it. But humanity was also given a unique relationship to God, who gave human beings the “breath of life” (v. 7). Formed from the earth, human beings are also those to whom creation’s care is entrusted (v. 15).