In the first Book of the Bible it is written:
27 And GOD created man in His image; in the image of GOD He created him; male and female He created them. 28 And GOD blessed them, and GOD said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and rule over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the sky and over all the beasts that tread upon the earth. “
(Genesis 1, 27-28)
The knowledge of ” who is really that mankind” begins with the acknowledgement that we have been created in the image of GOD. Adam is different from any other living creature in that he has a direct likeness and relationship with the CREATOR, and although we are biologically similar to certain animals, we are very different in our moral, intellectual and spiritual abilities. We have a consciousness, and it is precisely this consciousness that should guide us in “subjugating” the earth (Gen 1, 28) this ability to influence the environment in which we live is not accidental, but part of GOD’s plan to empower and improve human beings.
The CREATOR elevates man and woman to stewards and guardians of Creation:
15 Now the LORD GOD took the man, and He placed him in the Garden of Eden to work it and to guard it.
(Genesis 2, 15)
The term “to guard” in Hebrew is šâmar, a verb widely used in the Bible (e.g. Psalm 17, 8 ; Psalm 119, 34 ; John 17, 11) but its first reference in (Gen 2, 15) is certainly the one that best identifies the role of אָדָם (“Adam”). The Bible uses the word “adam” in several circumstances:
- collectively to refer to the whole of “humanity”, Genesis 1, 27
- individually referring to a “man”, Genesis 2, 7
- generically referring to both “man and woman”, Genesis 5, 1-2
- in masculine, Genesis 2, 23-24
In Genesis 2, 15 the Holy Scripture consecrates אָדָם (Adam), therefore all humanity, to the guardian of the Garden, that is the Earth, and to subdue other creatures. But as also the Pope’s recent encyclical “Laudato yes” confirms: human beings are guardians and not masters. Everyone has the moral obligation to actively contribute to what is called the Tikkun Olam in Hebrew ( תיקון עולם “repairing the World”) meaning to work continuously for the good of the entire community, something that is not necessarily imposed in the Law. Being able to preserve life and the place that hosts us is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced, and the spread of this Coronavirus that has so deeply changed the daily lives of men and women on Earth must be seen as a blessing and a good opportunity to improve ourselves and our lifestyles.
The Coronavirus: we are all responsible
When the Chinese authorities first reported this new epidemic in Wuhan, China, many health experts had a similar reaction, they expected a similar event to happen, it was only a matter of time. “This event has always been on the verge of happening,” said Adrian Hyzler, the chief physician of Healix International, Wuhan with its 11 million inhabitants, a central role for transportation and the presence of live animal markets is the optimal habitat for the evolution and spread of a virus. A few weeks after its discovery, the 2019-nCoV (“2019 novel coronavirus” or COVID-19) has already infected hundreds of thousands of people and spread so quickly around the world that it was classified by the World Health Organization as a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Wuhan has a population exceeding that of New York City by about 2.6 million, and in terms of surface area, the city is more than twice the size of Shanghai and eight times larger than Hong Kong, the most densely populated city in central China. In one word: overpopulated.
Overpopulation and Coronavirus
In all of human history, there have never been so many of us on Earth. Around year zero, it is estimated that the Earth’s population was 190 million people, a thousand years later probably around 250 million, and only after the Industrial Revolution did the human population rise in an unimaginable way. It took hundreds of thousands of years of human life on Earth for man to reach one billion people (in 1804) and this number doubled around 1927. A few years later, in 1959, the number reached 3 billion, in 1974 it reached 4 billion, and then it reached the days of today when there are almost 8 billion people.
|Year||Billion of people|
Analyzing this data it really seems that humanity has taken the direction that will soon lead to an apocalypse. Human overpopulation and the resulting excessive consumption of resources are the main causes of biodiversity loss. In 2011, the IUCN Red List listed a total of 801 extinct animal species in recorded human history. Population growth is increasing levels of air pollution (but also water pollution, soil contamination and noise pollution) which is causing changes in atmospheric composition and resulting global warming. Ecological collapse no longer seems to be an unlikely possibility, we have stopped being “guardians” and instead we behave as a virus, a harmful substance capable of causing discomfort to the Earth. A true guardian works conscientiously for the protection and care of the Garden, knowing how to discern between what is good and what is not, acting responsibly, attentive to the effects of his actions in the short and long term.
The problems the World are facing are the problems of everybody, and only together can they be solved. We must not only remain aware of the problems we are bringing as a species to the planet, but we have a responsibility to commit ourselves to changing something in our daily lives. Each of us knows exactly where we can improve our way of life and where we need to change. We should learn from these international emergency situations that being at home a little more often brings benefits to us and to our Earth: we pollute less and save more. Cutting food and energy waste is a wise way not only to save money, but to help protect the planet. Even a small gesture when multiplied by 7.8 million people can make a significant difference, the real life-threatening virus is the man who does not love his Earth and the people around him. We must use social networks not only as entertainment, but mainly as a tool for mass awareness: we all belong to the same species and all to the same huge virtual community. May GOD, through this Coronavirus, show us which is the right way to proceed, improving each of us in our daily lives for the well-being of all.