Wilderness is a debated term today, given that no place on Earth is free from modification via human activity, such as anthropogenic climate change or the spread of DDT through the biosphere. This is of particular interest in the Australian seen, given the challenge to the status and integrity of World Heritage Areas. Definitions of what or what doesn't count as wilderness, what should be conserved and what conservation means are philosophical as well as scientific questions because they pose questions about what is of value, how that value is measured, etc. Such issues are therefore open to theological analysis, to guide Christians through decision making processes in conservation and ecomission.
This paper will examine key Old Testament texts that speak about the role of wilderness and places beyond human settlement alongside those that set out the creation mandate to explore ideas of divine sovereignty, human stewardship, nature, the image of God and proper humility.