Msgr. Charles Pope: Man Is Not an Intruder in Creation

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Image by Jean van der Meulen from Pixabay

Reprinted with permission from Monsignor Charles Pope.

Msgr. Charles Pope, CERC

Monsignor Charles Pope. “Man Is Not an Intruder in Creation.” Archdiocese of Washington (October 1, 2019).

There is a fundamental precept among climate change activists and radical environmentalists that man is an interloper in the natural world. All would be pristine if it weren’t for us.

cpopeThere seems to be little appreciation that humans are part of creation, that we are supposed to be here, part of the interplay among living organism in which there is both giving and taking. The role of the human person in creation is developed quite explicitly in the Bible. In the very opening pages of the Scriptures we read of Adam and Eve:God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that crawls upon the earth.” Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit contains seed.  They will be yours for food” (Genesis 1:28-31).

Man is no mere observer or denizen of creation; he has the authority of a steward. The Hebrew word used in this passage is a strong one: kabash (subdue).  It means to bring something into submission, to impose a kind of order.  Scripture also says, Then the LORD God took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it(Gen 2:15).

It is remarkable that these things are said even before Original Sin. Thus, even in the paradise of Eden there is something imperfect, something undone.  Man was to work with God in the ongoing work of maintaining creation and helping it reach its potential and achieve its goals. ….

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