The celebration of the World’s earth day reminds us of our relationship with our nature. It calls for human stewardship of the created world God put before us. In Genesis 2:15, the creation narrative placed Adam in the Garden of Eden, to “till and keep.” The basic task despite the enormous gap between there and then, of the stewardship of our environment remains. Stewardship is basically to ‘till’ and ‘keep.’ Adam and Eve were created and put there to till the ground. Stewardship is a pastoral as much as agricultural, theological, economical term. It does not matter from what subject or perspective one looks at the word; it simply remains the same with same strategy. Humans were put in the garden not to just to sit around and be vegetarian, but to be farmers, horticulturalists, miners, loggers, etc. By tilling, humans use the resource God gives for his existence and for benefit of the fellow human beings.
Adam and Eve are not only commanded to till, but to keep. There is a big difference that till must be exercised within the confinements of need, of both the human persons and need of the environment in which the environment must be able to want to keep. For the environment to keep is automated by its nature. The natural process of plant growth and production shows time in which plant gives itself in the forms of its fruits give to humans to harvest. It does this at opportune time. There are times (seasons) in which plant are naturally ready to be harvested. There are times plants are not ready for harvest. If human abuse this nature, it affects the natural system, the entire process of recycling and regeneration of plants. For instance, where huge mining or logging companies till the resources with no or little regard for other plants and animals around or on it; these plants and animals naturally die out or migrated to other places. Because environment is a system we call it ecosystem, it affects the human for its sustenance. In this God’s command of ‘till and Keep’ is a reciprocal command to both human beings and the created plants and animals. The environment seems to us, today than ever before, resist and protest against this imbalance of reciprocity. It rejects human mistreatment of tilling too much and not keeping as an integral part of stewardship.
Two things happen when the nature rejects human activity of not ‘tilling and keeping;’ but only tilling. First, the nature reacts in a very catastrophic way in the form which now becomes a global concern- the global warming and its effects. Second it slows down natural replenishment process that will affect our children whose numbers increase at a rate higher than the environment can support them. A concrete example is when a logger logs a tree that takes 50 years to mature without replacing it, then it takes twice the time for a human person to mature at the age of 25 to use a tree to build a house. It would mean that that person needs to plant another tree; it would slowly deplete the trees at a rate twice than normal. To keep means to use what is necessary and keep the rest for later use. To keep also means to replant, replace, reafforest and conserve to maintain normal ecosystem cycle so that there is balance in tilling and keeping