1.4 - Creation and the nature of humanity (Dominion and stewardship…
1.4 - Creation and the nature of humanity
Catholics believe human beings alone are created in the image of God
This means they have a conscience and can relate to God.
Humans should take care of the earth (stewardship) and rule over it (dominion).
What is humanity?
Catholics believe humanity is created
(in the image of God.
"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion" (Genesis 1:26)
How can humanity bear the image of God?
Rational - Humans are intelligent and can find their way to God. This is significant for Catholics as they can engage in debate about faith.
Free will and conscience - Humans can choose right or wrong; a conscience is the voice of God within. This is significant for Catholics because their conscience helps them to make moral choices that uphold the values of the Gospel.
Relate to God - Humans are able to enter a relationship with God. Catholics try to improve their relationship with God by going to weekly mass and praying daily.
Love - Humans can only find happiness within a community of love and support. This is why the vocation of the sacrament of marriage is very important in the Catholic faith.
Answerable to God - Humans are accountable to God for their actions. This is significant for Catholics because it encourages them to live a good life so that they can enter heaven
Dominion and stewardship interpretations
Catholics believe humanity is given dominion over creation, which means they have a God-given authority to rule.
Catholics also believe humanity should be stewards of creation, which means this authority is expressed in a loving care and cultivation of creation.
How might humans act if they only focused on dominion?
Over-farming to feed humans
Cutting down forests for paper/wood needs
Burning fossil fuels to create electricity
A minority of Christians believe this - some conservative evangelical Christians claim they do not need to worry about the environment as Jesus will soon return, and that will mean the end of the world anyway.
How might humans act if they also focused on stewardship?
Managing fishing and farming to ensure a balance in nature
Recycling where possible
Using 'green' energy such as wind and solar power
The majority of Christians take this view. Pope Francis wrote about care for the environment in his encyclical
Laudato is (2015)
. Non-religious people do not believe God granted humans dominion over the earth, but many would argue that humans have a moral responsibility to care for the planet