What does the Bible say about ecology, or how we should relate to nature?
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In advance: Neiter the Old nor the New Testament contains consistent statement regarding ecology.
Nevertheless, three interesting passages:*
The dominium terrae in Gen 1:28
The passage in it's context (Gen 1:26-1:28):
The ideal world in the first chapter can be called a "Utopie of Nonviolence"1 The seeds, fruits and green plants are sufficient as a food base and neither a human nor an animal has to kill another creature for food procurement (cf. Gen 1:29). A harmony between human, animal and plant world is possible.
Only in the eary modern period (Francis Bacon, Rene Descartes), the "subdue it" (Vers 28) was interpreted as exploitation of the nature. Note that today's interpretations don't think of it as an invation for violent trampling but rather as a passage, that highlights the aspect of colonization and livestock2: The humans shall make the earth habitable by their work and tame the forces of nature.
The confrontation with the reality in Gen 9:1-7
God's blessing is still given. But here breaks through: The actual human experience of imperfection and the possibility of human error – the paradisical state of nonviolence is reduced.
Erich Zenger calls the force by which the man is equipped necessary to keep things in order. In order to prevent that the living space becomes a place of death, the man got the capability to protect threatened lives.3
In conclusion we can say …
… that the humans, as the preservers of life, received the order to deal with that in a responsibile way.
The sufferings of this present world (Rom 8:18-23)
In these passage a new eschatological dimension is added.
The eary Christian community was familiar with the thought of the World's imperfection. Paulus names that the suffering which is by the people and in the creation. By the fall of men every human-being and the whole creation is subjected to futility. But by Jesus Christ the humans and the world around is enlightend.
Ofcourse eschatology isn't interesting for ecology at all. But nevertheless this passage is to be noted from an ecological view of point because it states the close relatedness between humans and the creation.
*: Simone Birkle, Zukunft wagen, Ökologisch handeln (2002)
When this subject is raised, I always think of three passages. First is mankind being given dominion over the Earth and everything that's in it, as cited by Karl von Moor already. And the others are the Parable of the Pounds (Luke 19: 12-26), and the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25: 14-30).
These parables have slightly different setups and several details are different between the two, but in both, Jesus explains that we will be held responsible for what we do with what God gives us to take care of. Remember that the Earth is not ours, it is His; we were given temporary stewardship over it just as the servants in the parables were given stewardship over their Master's money, and expected to take good care of it, and when the Judgment comes around, an accounting of our stewardship will be required at our hands.
In regards to conservation, I believe there is a good warning in Revelation 11:18.
(emphasis added by me)