What does Christianity teach about human responsibility for the world?

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Religion, Poverty and Wealth                                                Rachel Stevens

Religious Studies Coursework


  1. What does Christianity teach about human responsibility for the world?

All Christians believe that the world and everything in it have been created by God. They believe that the world is holy, special, divine, worthy of respect and honour.

‘The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.’  Psalm 24:1-2

Because ‘the earth is the Lord’s’, Christians believe they are stewards or caretakers. They should be committed to the proper management of the world and its resources. Since the earth has been delegated to people by God they have to manage it responsibly and productively for the sake of both their own and subsequent generations. The following bible quotes tell us that everything belongs to God. God made the mountains, the sea, dry land and the skies. They also show that God’s creation reveals his greatness:

‘For the Lord is the great God… In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands form the dry land’  Psalm 95:3-6

Christianity teaches us that God is the God of nature, as well as of religion. God made the physical universe, sustains it, and still pronounces it good. God is interested in, and looks after his creation.

‘God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.’  Genesis 1:31

Christians believe that God made human beings to be like himself.

‘So God created man in his  own image… male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’  Genesis 1:27-28

Human beings are godlike beings made in Gods likeness and possessing capacities which distinguish them from the animal creation. Since God is interested in the earth, so should the Christian want to care for all that God has made. God tells man to look after the earth and Christians believe they have a responsible task in God’s plan for creation. God tells man they should care for the world and Christians believe that they should look after it because he has given it to them. Therefore they should respect it and protect it.

As well as caring for the earth, Jesus taught his followers to love God with all their heart, and to love their neighbours as themselves. In Matthew 19:16-21 Jesus told a rich, young man that if he wanted eternal life he should love his neighbour as himself, which included selling his processions and giving to the poor. Love of God cannot be separated from love for humanity. Christians try to live their lives by this rule.

Christians believe they should take what they say and sing in church, in to their everyday lives, so that it affects all of their life, at home, work, school etc.

‘Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.’ James 1:27

Christians should truly love their neighbours and should be concerned for their total welfare: the well being of their soul, their body, and their community.

Christians look to Jesus for an example for their lives. Jesus humbled himself and became weak and vulnerable to serve people. He healed the sick, feed the hungry and was a friend to the dropouts. He said he did not come to be served but to serve. Therefore if the Christian models his or her life on Jesus, it will involve entering into other people’s worlds. Jesus was moved with compassion by the sight of needy human beings and Christians follow this example.

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Faith and love go together for Christians:

‘Faith by itself if it is not accompanied by action is dead…I will show you my faith by what I do.’  James 2:17-18

This implies that the Christian should show their faith by loving and serving others.

‘If anyone has material possessions and seize his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him.’  1 John 3:17

These verses give an example of how Christians should lay down their lives for others – to help those in need. ...

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