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The Bible on Stewards of the Environment

Updated on February 8, 2017
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GetFactsnotHype has been a Biblical scholar for the better part of 19 years, and has dug deeper to explore Christian facts and expose myths.

1st in a series: Is caring for earth scriptural or a made-up myth?

The Bible on Stewards of Environment asks if caring for earth is scriptural. The 1st in a series of Christianity myths (and facts) asks if there is Biblical evidence for preserving earth. Must we respect the land, or provide for earth?

Bible on Stewards of Earth

What does it mean to be a steward of earth?

Stewards of the earth are in charge of taking care of or providing for the earth, but first I'll cite other examples so you get a feel for it. The Bible has several examples of stewards, which I'll explain. It can be used many ways, but some examples are: in charge of the household; in charge of certain property belonging to another; overseers of congregations; one with oversight of business affairs; or a man in charge of workers /employees. You notice the repeated theme of "in charge of" or "overseeing" someone or something?

In fact, the Bible contains an example of stewardship at Matthew 20:8, whereas Jesus provided an illustration of a man in charge of vineyard laborers. God too gave a command at Genesis 2:15 to till the ground (or earth) and keep it, meaning keep it up or take care of it.

Even kings and other persons of wealth or distinction had stewards and the degree of authority given to the stewards of such persons varied. There were times the Bible actually used the word "stewards" and other times the word itself was not used but implied, for those persons were entrusted to others.

God created the earth and everything on it, protected the animals, blessed the plants and every living creature, and also asked us to protect/ guard or care for the earth and that my friends IS stewardship. As humans, we are entrusted to God to care for what he has provided.

Many Christian religions as well as those of the Jewish, Islamic and Buddhist faiths have joined in the fight to green their churches, synagogues, and temples and the environment around them. They are not just preaching about God's green earth, but many have programs for kids, educational seminars, and bicycle programs. Christians believe they should be caretakers or stewards of the earth and each other, and since this webpage is about Christianity, I will focus on that denomination.

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Below are some green facts taken from the Bible.


Green Facts of the Bible

Old Testament green facts

The Bible contains green facts, but many stop at the 10th commandment, and there were hundreds. For example, many people might point out that there is no 11th commandment "thou shalt not pollute the earth." That would be fact, however there is also no commandment that says, ... thou shalt not smoke cigarettes, but the Bible does say treat your body as a temple. Probably the best scripture on how to take care of earth is listed below, taken from the Old Testament.

Since there is no commandment "thou shalt not pollute", it is also of interesting merit that originally there were more than ten (10) commandments; there were in fact more than 600 initially, as well as about a dozen covenants. This would be found near the beginning of the Old Testament (or properly termed Hebrew scriptures) in the first five books namely Genesis through Deuteronomy. In this section you will find those 600 plus laws as well as obligations involving fellow creatures such as: care for the poor; for widows and orphans; for the handicapped; the treatment towards alien residents, the respect for property, and treatment of animals. Some of the highlights pertaining to this subject are seen below.

I will quote only part of some scriptures for brevity's sake, but will give you the book, chapter, and verse so you can see it for yourself.

On plants and animals:

  • let the land produce vegetation (Ge 1:11 & 12)
  • let the water teem with living creatures (Ge 1:20 & 21)
  • let the land produce living creatures (Ge 1:24 & 25)
  • two of every kind in the ark and keep them alive with you - meaning Noah (Ge 6:19-21)
  • on birds and sea animals - God "blessed" them and also said increase in number (Ge 1:22)
  • God's covenant with Noah, his descendants and every living creature with him - (Ge 9:8 & 9)
  • covenant with Noah and all generations to come, and between God and earth (Ge 9:12&13)

Green earth not specific to Mosaic Law only:

In a previous paragraph above, I focused on the laws in the first 5 books of the Bible, which some call the Law Covenant or the Mosaic Law. Although the Law of God to Israel through Moses was not started until Exodus Chapter 20, many of the earlier patriarchal laws were incorporated in the Law given through Moses. Many may argue that the Mosaic Law was abolished when Jesus was impaled, and while that is fact, many of the scriptures above were from the earlier patriarchal laws (prior to Moses) and two of them (below) are from the book of Psalms, not governed by the Mosaic Law.

The 2 examples from Psalms:

  • let the seas resound and all that is in it (Ps 96:10-13)
  • let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them (Ps 96:10-13)

The fact is that the Bible gives commands on taking care of the earth and the creatures on it (listed above) in both the Law Covenant and elsewhere in the Old Testament. The Bible also addresses the same concerns in the New Testament, which we will see in the next section.

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Best Bible Eco Scripture

The best scripture on greening earth is in Leviticus, which is eco conscience on the redemption of land.

At Leviticus 25:23 & 24, God states, ... the land is mine, and you (we) are mere tenants who must provide for the redemption of the land. Another Bible version uses the phrase " ... alien residents and settlers from my standpoint" (seen above) and also "... you should grant to the land the right of buying back." So if we must provide or take care of the land then WE ARE caretakers or we are supposed to be, and that leads us back to the beginning as stewards of the earth.

See the picture below from the book of Leviticus , and then in the next text section, you can read about the violators of green earth and some scriptures from the New Testament.

Earth's Care and Violators

Bible mentions earth's care and violators of it

Although we have a Biblical responsibility to be Earth's caretakers, that does not mean people have been responsible in doing so. When people, even as far back as Biblical times did not provide for the earth, God did in fact take notice and here are some scriptures that reference that.

Old Testament on nature and violaters of it:

  • God provided clear water, and people muddied the rest (Ez 34:17 & 18)
  • God provided fertile land, and humans defiled it (Jer 2:7)
  • transgressed the laws, violated statutes, and broke covenant; a curse consumes earth, and its people must bear their guilt (Is 24:4-6)

New Testament explains how earth is ruined by greed:

  • guard against every form of greed; also abundance of possessions does not consist of life (Lu 12:15, 23 & 34)
  • treasure is where your heart is (Mt 6:21)
  • destroying those who destroy the earth, (or some Bibles say bring ruin to those ruining earth) (Rev 11:18)

The one in Revelation (above) is a biggie, and the one prior to that in Matthew is also interesting. Take note again of Matthew, which says treasure is where your heart is. Hhmm think about that a moment. CEO's and CFO's of big oil and gas companies may or may not have their heart in oil or gas, but they do have their heart in profit. They also may or may not go to church, but even if they believe in God and say they love God, one can love what is good, but still not hate the bad enough to stop one's bad behavior or actions.

I really do not see how big oil and gas companies do any of these things. Did God give the Ok or command TO pollute the Gulf waters? Although there is no specific command "not to pollute the earth" there is certainly no permissiveness to do so either. The Bible instructs us to take care of the earth and how violators will be punished. Big businesses ax the Bible with hydrofracking, which is a perfect example of how greed and pollution go hand in hand.

Conclusion and Related Reading


FACT: yes - there are scriptures for caretakers of the earth; and yes that is stewardship. FACT: yes - green earth is Biblical and not hype. Sorry folks this one's real. Since we are on the subject of The Bible and environment, it is also interesting to note that ancient civilizations knew how to recycle, reuse, and reduce, and they knew it before we did. To read about the history of go green, see the link to the article I've provided below.

Article original, Copyright retained

Related Reading:

For more info on this subject, see related reading on the History of Go green and Waste and Recycling in Ancient Civilizations - Recycling is milleniums old.

Ted Turner Regrets Quote

Ted Turner once remarked that Christianity was "a religion for losers" but now regrets that remark. After realizing how some churches were involved in fighting malaria in Africa, he changed his opinion, and he too is a go-green advocate.

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© 2010 GetFactsnotHype

Green Stewardship Comments

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    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 

      7 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      This is all true as I see it. Nicely done! ~*~Angel blessings~*~

    • GetFactsnotHype profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @SgtCecil: @SgtCecil glad I could still make sense to and reach someone that is not all that religious and still have them like the page. Thanks

    • SgtCecil profile image

      Cecil Kenmill 

      7 years ago from Osaka, Japan

      excellent lens! i'm not all that religious but i agree completely. it's loaves and fishes, friends. i can't wait to read your other lenses!

    • WhitU4ever profile image


      7 years ago

      @norma-holt: Oh, and calling God a he doesn't make me feel trapped at all. ;)

    • WhitU4ever profile image


      7 years ago

      @norma-holt: The English language uses the masculine to define God because God is powerful and men are the strongest of the two sexes. We don't consider God to be male or female either. We just don't have a pronoun in the English language, other than "it" (inappropriate) that shows the proper respect for a holy God, so he/him is the next best thing. I don't think it's worth getting stuck on, frankly.

    • WhitU4ever profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens! God originally gave us the responsibility to care for the environment, but we gave that up right from the get-go.

    • GetFactsnotHype profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      @norma-holt: @skiesgreen Did not intend on nominating God as a man, and IF I misled you I didn't mean to, perhaps I should check my wording on a word here and a word there. Of course God has NO gender - agreed.

    • norma-holt profile image


      8 years ago

      Great discussion except that you fall into the religious trap of nominating God as a man. In my knowledge it is Spirit without sex. Only men could envision a supreme creator as one of them. Duhhh! - not possible in my book. Nice stuff and well appointed biblical quotes,

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Very interesting read on an important topic with a unique take on what the Bible has to say on the subject. Taking care of the earth is definitely an essential part of being a good steward, just as we are to take care of our bodies.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I like this, I am beginning to find out some "New" information about the Bible and the Beliefs that are taught and used from within it. So I thank you for helping to further this process with this Lens!!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I like your disclaimer and might need to place one on a couple of my more controversial lenses regarding spirituality and religion.

    • shoumo lm profile image

      shoumo lm 

      8 years ago

      Interesting lens. Practicing Hindus in India regard some trees as holy. (Yes not only a "Holy Cow" but also a "Holy Tree") Most of these trees are slow growing ones (like ficus benghalensis) and perhaps would have perished without this "divinity" bestowed on them. There are some trees that are protected for medicinal values but that is an entirely different genre.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      A very interesting, thought-provoking lens. Keep up the good work!

    • MTLwordsmith profile image


      9 years ago

      I really, really enjoyed reading this lens! Biblical study has always fascinated me (although a non-christian), and I can only say that I wish more and ever more people could put this much thought and effort and good critical thinking into their daily lives!

    • mythphile profile image

      Ellen Brundige 

      9 years ago from California

      This is the kind of research into religion I really like to see. Even my own, which is not Christian, gets swept up in trying to promote certain causes by citing a historical basis for modern notions. News flash: sometimes we have learned something since ancient times! But sometimes, yes, there is basis in the ancient texts and practices... so let's go look and see what they really said, and meant! We forget to check the rich treasure of our heritage. There's wisdom (and folly) buried in it that we have forgotten.

    • delia-delia profile image


      9 years ago

      Very nicely done lens and a great subject! I believe we are to respect God...His Ever-loving Kindness gave us life on this Earth, it is a sustain life, we have to take care of the earth....and that is a choice, even for DocBob below *!*

    • compugraphd profile image


      9 years ago


      I'm not Christian, but I found this interesting.

      If I recall correctly, in Genesis G-d makes people stewards of the earth, which can be interpreted as telling us to watch over G-d's earth and keep it healthy.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      The words in the Bible can be interpreted to mean just about anything. What you choose to see is precisely what you get.


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