Living in Harmony with Nature: Opinion Essay

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We live in a pluralistic world, where each tradition has its own grandeur and limitations, its successes and failures. One thing we see that is common to all, at least in recent times, is that they all are trying to address the question of how we human species should live on Earth, and in my opinion, the answer is - in harmony.

There has been always a considerable amount of debate about creation as ‘static’ or ‘evolving’. In other words, was the universe created once and for all as a finished product, or was it created in such a way so as to evolve and to become. In the past, it has been considered that the universe came into existence as a finished product. In recent times, many believe that the universe and everything within it did not come into existence as finished products, but appeared in the course of a gradual, continuous, and progressive process. This process started as far back as our knowledge can reach. Thus, it is meaningful only when we talk about cosmogenesis rather than mere cosmos because the whole of knowable reality is in a state of becoming. Thus creation is not a finished product, but ever-evolving, progressing, and developing. The glory of God in His original purpose is revealed when the world (matter), and the presence of God (spirit) are not apart from the physical world, but rather through matter, and in a certain sense, in union with it. Teilhard de Chardin recognized correctly that God creates by unifying: “Creation has become visible to us under the basic aspect of the union as an ongoing process of bringing forth new beings that emerge from but are not identical with, the elements they unite. Therefore, we can say that more beings come into existence through union”.

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In the first creation story in Genesis 1:26, we see that “let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea…upon the earth”. It is seen by many commentators as a key text in shaping the Human-Earth relationship in the Bible. Stating this same view Rene Descartes in his ‘Discourse on Method’ coins the characterization of humankind as “master and possessor of nature”. However, biblical scholars disagree on how such dominion is to be interpreted. On the other hand, the dominion or the commission is best understood as an invitation to human beings to act as the viceroys (stewards) of God. So, creation is not just the possession of human beings, it is something that is entrusted to humanity, which is responsible for its safekeeping and maintenance. This stewardship pictures human beings in harmony with nature, standing before God and ultimately responsible to God for their management of human affairs and creation. This vocation of human beings within creation is to image God. Acting in the image of God (Dominus) as described in the tradition of Jerusalem, would mean exercising the dominion of stewardship.

We must be aware that even this idea of dominion as stewardship can give way to the attitude of separation of human beings from the rest of the creation. Therefore, if we are to affirm dominion as stewardship, the emphasis must be added that stewards themselves are part of the creatures of the universe. Interestingly, even though human beings are separated from the rest of the creation by being created in the image of God (Gen 1:27), human dependence on the natural world and the interdependence of the elements within nature itself cannot be overlooked. This interdependence assumes the harmony that should exist between human beings and the natural world. Viewing human beings as part of nature and their dependency on nature is not striping of human beings’ privileges and position over nature, but it calls for a different outlook and leadership. The new leadership that is required of reflective disciples of Christ is a form of servanthood, and it does not hold much promise of fame and fortune. It is a matter of stewardship. The stewardship pictures human beings in harmony with nature and is singled out with special responsibility. As stewards and viceroys of God, human beings are confronted by an inalienable duty towards creation and are truly answerable for what happens to the household of creation. But, can we call ourselves stewards in the present world, given the fact of widespread damage done to the creation? How can we call ourselves protectors of the earth, given the situation of our time, with all the destructive activities like terrorism, violence, and hatred? I feel this is the call for each one of us to reconsider our role through true stewardship, in promoting and safeguarding creation.

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Living in Harmony with Nature: Opinion Essay. (2024, February 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/living-in-harmony-with-nature-opinion-essay/
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