The Abrahamic faiths-Judaism, Christianity, and Islam-all affirm belief in a creator God and a special relationship between humans and the creator. It is hardly surprising that these faiths share a common concern for humanity to take particular responsibility for the environment. Humans, as stewards of the earth, act as God’s vice-regents on earth, since the created world is God’s gift to humanity. Lynn White, writing in the 1960s, argued that stewardship was not so benign. He suggested that the command in Genesis to have dominion over the earth encouraged domination of the earth, leading to its exploitation. Of course, biblical scholars leapt to the defense of the text. The impression remained that perhaps there was an element of truth in what he said, that somehow Christians could not altogether detach themselves from environmental destruction. For even if a focus on the worth of humans, or anthropocentrism, is deeply embedded in Greek culture, long before Christianity, it seems fair to say that Christianity did not attempt to challenge this notion. In addition, the Calvinistic tradition reinforced the possibility of exploitation by its concentration on the benefits of the work ethic, indirectly excluding ecological responsibility. Some evangelical scholars remain convinced that stewardship is an appropriate ethical model for those of religious faith, but it is couched in the language of care for the earth, not its exploitation. A possible alternative
includes a focus on the value of all parts of the earth, or biocentrism, which tries to dethrone humanity from its elevated position.