First, God made light: day and night. Then, the sky and the earth.
God next made vegetation, then the living creatures, and finally humankind.
Genesis 1:28 reads:
God blessed [humankind], and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
In that passage, God instructs humankind to “subdue” the Earth and have “dominion” over it. In other words, the implication of that statement is that humankind has power over all other living beings. Our God-given power over all other living things is not something to be taken lightly.
With great power comes great responsibility.
Humans, as we have been granted such power, have the responsibility to use it for good. If all other creatures and plants on Earth are lower in status, shouldn’t we protect them and care for them? Why else would God have given us this power?
Thus far, humankind has not done its job. To say that the current state of our environment has room for improvement would be an understatement. Our climate is changing as a result of our actions. Global warming is a massive threat to our plants and animals.
Glaciers are melting, natural habitats are being exploited for resources, and temperatures are changing like never before. However, that’s just the beginning. Animals and plants, which we explicitly had been assigned leadership over by God, are dying.
Working on improving our environment serves as justice for humans too, not just animals and plants because as we destroy it, we are putting our own lives at risk. We need the other creatures of the Earth to be in our ecosystem in order to survive. When one species goes extinct, other species in its food chain multiply in unprecedented ways which can affect humankind negatively. For example, if bees go extinct, our plant supply will weaken, taking away much of our food and oxygen.
We also rely directly upon many different types of plants and animals for survival. For example, plants give us oxygen as a result of photosynthesis. However, we are constantly destroying rainforests to suit our needs. As the human population grows and our plant numbers decline, we endanger ourselves. Many humans also rely on animals for meat and other resources. As we destroy the homes of animals, we eliminate those resources.
Humankind has not been using its powers over Earth’s other beings entirely for good, and we are seeing the repercussions every day. However, not all hope is lost. Because we have the power to destroy, we have the power to rebuild. Rebuilding is harder than destroying, though.
There are many ways in which one can help expedite the process of reparations for the living things that God gives us dominion over. For example, one of the easiest things to do is donate. Even a dollar helps. One should also ensure that their apartment building, office, home, etc. has a recycling system and uses renewable energy. Plant trees, use fewer paper towels and toilet paper, and pick up trash when you see it.
With great power comes great responsibility. We must start using our God-given dominion for good.