Quotable Creation Care: John Calvin on Stewardship of the Land

Calvin reminds us God cares about what we do with the fruits of the land.

The custody of the garden was given in charge to Adam, to show that we possess the things which God has committed to our hands, on the condition that, being content with a frugal and moderate use of them, we should take care of what shall remain. Let him who possesses a field so partake of its yearly fruits that he may not suffer the ground to be injured by his negligence; but let him endeavor to hand it down to posterity as he received it, or even better cultivated. Let him so feed on its fruits that he neither dissipates it by luxury, nor permits it to be marred or ruined by neglect . . . Let every one regard himself as the steward of God in all things which he possesses. John Calvin. Commentary on Genesis.

500 years ago John Calvin advocated sustainable treatment of the land. His words are just as true now as they were then, and much more in need of being heard. Calvin reminds that “custody of the garden was given to Adam” and we, the descendants of Adam, still retain that custody. God committed the earth into our care. What will we do with that responsibility?

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