Introduction: The Bible in Romans 1:25 warns us against worshiping
the creation rather than the Creator. Such worship, the Bible tells
us, trades truth for a lie. On the other hand, the Bible tells us
in Psalms 19:1 that the heavens declare the glory of God. How, then,
should we react to our environment? Should we treat it as a trust
from God? Should we consider it an idol? Should we say “It is all
going to burn,” and look forward to a new heaven and a new earth?
Let’s jump into our study of what the Bible says about the
environment and find out more!

  1. First Assignment

    1. Read Genesis 1:27-28 and Genesis 2:15. What was the
      original work of Adam and Eve? (They were to “work” and
      “take care of” the garden. They were to “subdue” the
      earth and “rule” over the animals.)

      1. What does that suggest should be our attitude
        toward’s God’s creation? (Taking care of it is part
        of the original assignment for humans.)

      2. Imagine you are a teenager and your father gives you
        a new car and tells you to “work,” “take care of,”
        “subdue” and “rule” over your new car? How would you
        understand your relationship to the gift? (God’s
        gift teaches us that we are superior to the creation
        and that it was created for us and not the other way
        around. But, God gives us the responsibility to care
        for the creation. In our parallel to the teenager,
        the car is to be kept under control and cared for.)

      3. As you contemplate the creation, do you think that
        Adam and Eve needed to work to have enough to eat?
        (Probably not.)

        1. If you are right, why did God ( Genesis 2:15)
          tell them to “work” and “take car of” the
          garden? (God’s plan for us is to work. Idleness
          is not the plan. Their work was to aid the
          environment in which they found themselves.)

      4. Let’s look again at the idea of ( Genesis 1:28) of
        ruling the creation. What does this suggest about
        the idea of worshiping the creation or putting the
        needs of the creation ahead of the needs of humans?
        (Humans are the superior beings, not the creation.
        Those who put the needs of animals above the needs
        of humans have the roles reversed.)

        1. Are the needs of humans and animals mutually

    2. Read Genesis 3:17-19. Does sin change the relationship
      between humans and the creation? (Adam is still working
      the ground, but his work is much harder. The creation is
      no longer cooperating with him.)

  2. First Rest

    1. Read Genesis 2:1-3. We have the creation. We have the
      assignment to humans to work to take care of the
      creation. Now we have a rest. What does rest have to do
      with the environment? (Part of our personal environment
      is to rest. Rest commemorates the creation.)

      1. Why would God make this rest “holy?” (Something that
        is holy is set apart from the common. This teaches
        us that work to improve our environment is the
        common, but celebrating the Creator by taking a
        break from work is special and holy.)

        1. Does it matter which day God rested? (If the
          designated day is holy, and the rest of the
          days are common, then “yes,” it makes a

  3. First Environmental Consideration

    1. Read Leviticus 18:1-5. How were God’s people to live
      compared to the lifestyles of the Egyptians and the
      Canaanites? (They were to follow God’s laws and not live
      a pagan lifestyle.)

      1. Leviticus 18:6-19 lists prohibited sexual
        relationships. Let’s read Leviticus 18:20-23. What
        sins of today’s popular culture are listed?
        (Adultery, abortion, homosexual relationships.)

        1. Why is having sex with an animal listed next to
          homosexual sex? (Our culture has deadened our
          sensitivity to the one sin, but not to the
          other. God views them both as sin.)

    2. Read Leviticus 18:24-25 and Leviticus 18:27-28. What
      “new” view of environmentalism is presented here? (One
      aspect of Christian environmentalism is that sexual sin
      defiles the environment.)

      1. How can that be true? What does sex have to do with
        the environment? (God is not talking about clean air
        and clean water. He is talking about clean lives.
        Just as Adam’s sin (which logically has no
        relationship to the environment) resulted in an
        uncooperative environment, so our sins will cause
        the land to “vomit” us out.)

    3. Read Jeremiah 8:1-3. What caused God to predict,
      approvingly, digging up the bodies of kings, officials,
      priests, prophets and people, and leaving them out of the
      ground? (They worshiped the sun, moon, and stars, and
      consulted the position of these celestial objects to
      determine their behavior.)

      1. Does that sound familiar? (Horoscopes are created
        based on the positions of the sun, moon and planets.
        This astrology is directly condemned by the Bible.)

        1. Why? Isn’t the study of the bodies of the
          universe important? (Read Romans 1:25. There is
          nothing wrong with studying the heavens or
          nature. Indeed, David tells us in Psalms 19:1
          that they declare the glory of God. The
          problem comes in attributing importance to the
          creation rather than the Creator.)

      2. Can you be a true environmentalist without believing
        in God? (No. You are missing the main point. God
        created the heavens and the earth. If you don’t
        understand this, you don’t understand our
        environment. It is like someone who loves the Shelby
        Cobra automobile and does not know about the man
        Carroll Shelby. If you think that the Shelby Cobra
        was a chance event in an automotive junkyard, you
        don’t understand the Shelby Cobra.)

    4. I was recently reading a book about Plato and a series of
      lectures on astronomy. Plato was convinced, as are
      scientists today, that “math” can explain most things. By
      that they mean there are rules by which the universe
      operates. What logically follows from such a premise?
      (First, that an Intelligence created us, we are not the
      product of random accidents. Second, if rules apply to
      everything else, why should they not apply to us? What is
      so surprising about a rule-driven universe vomiting out
      those participants who do not follow the rules?)

  4. Renters versus Owners

    1. Read Psalms 24:1-2. A popular environmental claim is
      that we are trustees of the environment for future
      generations of humans. Who does the Bible say owns the
      environment? (God.)

      1. At present, I have a home that I own about 200 miles
        from where I teach, and a second place that I rent
        which is close to the university. I know about being
        both an owner and a renter. What obligation does the
        renter have that an owner does not have? (I feel
        like I have to be careful not to harm the place I
        rent. On the other hand, I have a much greater
        personal interest in the home I own.)

        1. Is there an environmental lesson in the fact
          that God owns the earth and everything in it?
          (It provides a Biblical basis for the idea of
          humans being “trustees” of the earth. We are
          trustees not so much for our descendants
          (although that makes logical sense), as we are
          for God.)

    2. One of the blessings of being a renter is that I do not
      have to worry about the general maintenance of the
      building. Read Revelation 16:1-3 and Revelation 16:8-9.
      What is the Owner doing to the environment?

      1. Right now we have a scientific debate about whether
        “global warming” has anything do with the conduct of
        us “renters.” There is clear historical evidence of
        prior periods of warming and cooling of the earth.
        One of the earliest maps in existence shows a
        shoreline at the polar cap! How should we react to
        the message that God will send “intense heat” that
        will “sear” people? (The Owner can do what He wants
        with His property. As a renter, I still have an
        obligation to try to avoid injuring the Owner’s

    3. Friend, God’s original assignment to humans was to take
      care of the earth. Part of that assignment, however, is
      to live a life in accord with a rule-governed universe.
      Will you, right now, ask the Holy Spirit to come into
      your heart to guide you into becoming an obedient and
      helpful steward of God’s Kingdom?

  5. Next week: Faith and Healing.