It has become fashionable for Christians to talk about the duty to be good stewards of creation. Sounds good. Untrue however. The Bible nowhere tells us to be stewards of creation.
If we have been burdened with a stewardship, it is a stewardship of the mystery of the Gospel. A steward is a manager, someone who keeps things running smoothly but doesn’t mess with the underlying formula that produces the object of his attention. He does just what he’s told to do and leaves innovation to “The Man.” The apostle Paul said he was a steward of the doctrines of God. He wasn’t supposed to come up with his own ideas or make improvements. He was just supposed to see to it that the machinery ran according to plan. Certainly that was a major responsibility. It remains so today.
Yet, one who considers himself a steward of creation sees his job as maintaining the delicate balance of nature. A steward approaches creation gingerly, nervous lest he manages the rain forest improperly and the world loses a potential cure for athlete’s foot.
Stewardship of creation elevates nature to a place it is not supposed to occupy. To the unregenerate, this results in worship of creation. For the Believer, it results in a divided mind and an inability to do much of anything constructive in the realm of environmental affairs. The best the Christian community can do is to jump on board the band wagon of the world and try to baptize the neo-pagan agenda of the green groups.
The Bible says when God created mankind, He commanded him to fill the earth, to subdue it and to exercise dominion in imitation of His own work ethic. God’s work ethic (so to speak), is displayed in the way He went about the business of subduing the earth and taking dominion over it. We may be uncomfortable describing God’s creative activity with terms like “subdue” and “dominion” because it seems to imply God happened upon the stuff of creation one day while out for a stroll and decided to take charge of the situation. There are those who believe this way; yet the Bible clearly says God created the time-space-matter universe out of nothing. He spoke into existence that which did not exist. As Creator, creation is automatically under His absolute power. But once He brought the universe into being, He moved through the process of creation in a manner which we could imitate. He subdued creation and took dominion.