April 12, 2012, 11:00 am
Glaske C101, LeTourneau University
Addressing Perceptions of Non-Science Majors
Toward a Biblical Interpretation of Environmental Stewardship
Troy A. Ladine
As a Christ-centered University, part of the mission of ETBU is to educate students to the commands and desires of God. Genesis 1:28 states that we are to increase in number and to have dominion (rule) over the earth. Prior to that Genesis 1:26 states that we are to have dominion over all creatures and the earth. Further emphasis that we are stewards is in Leviticus 25:23-24, we are told that we hold the country as a possession and must provide for the redemption of the land. There are several other instances in which God tells us that we are to take care of the Earth and all inhabitants.
Perceptions of non-science majors toward environmental stewardship at ETBU range from a total lack of concern to a recognition that we are stewards of the planet, with the appearance of the majority being the former. For the latter, the concern is what can I as an individual do? The former are more concerned with either the immediate time frame or state that the economy is more important than the environment. These impressions come from questions posed as opinion questions during the Man and the Environment biology course I teach at ETBU. This course is part of the general education lab courses offered and is taken primarily by non-science majors.
The two most enlightening questions revealing the perceptions of students were 1) How are we doing following the directive God has given us in Genesis 1:28? and 2) Should economic recovery be placed ahead of environmental concerns? Opinions varied for the first question but most students were of the opinion that we rule the planet in a positive manner. One student stated we are the rulers God intended us to be. We are fruitful according to the students. However, at least one student stated we should be more fruitful. The second question is eye-opening in relation to stewardship. All students were of the opinion that the environment takes a back-seat to the economy. It is these perceptions that will be addressed during this presentation.