Bible Study on Our Role in Creation
This study was used at Main Street Community Church, 22 September 2009. It is being made available, so you can use it if you like. It consists of reading passages of Scripture and then discussing the questions that are set - we gave each passage to a different person to read. It is designed to be led by a leader who asks people to read a passage, poses the questions, allows suitable time for discussion, but without giving their own views, and moves people on from one question to the next. We took one hour to cover all but the final passages.
When a question says 'Quickly', this means the question is not meant intended to be discussed in depth, but only to 'orientate' those present towards this topic; usually the answer is obvious, and is here given in [square brackets]. What worked for us was to get the person who read the passage to quickly give this 'obvious' answer. The Study worked with allowing people to discover things for themselves from these passages in response to the questions, and accepting most of the comments made - but the leader might have to move people on.
A. The Place of Humanity in Creation
1. Read Genesis 1:25-28, Gen. 2:15.
- Quickly: What is the responsibility of humanity in each passage? [To rule over the rest of creation, to tend and care for it.]
- Quickly: Do those responsibilities contradict each other, or form a single picture? [Ruling and caring seem contradictory on face of it.]
- How do we bring those two views of the responsibility of humanity together into one coherent picture? [Hint: What do we know of the character of God?]
- In what ways is humanity fulfilling this responsibility today?
- In what ways is humanity fulfilling the responsibility well or badly?
2. Read Genesis 1:27.
- Think: How does being 'in the image of God' fit alongside this responsibility? For example: would not angels have been better stewards of the rest of creation?
- To what are we supposed to be in the image of God?
- Quickly: Who is in the image of God and who has this responsibility? [Both men and women equally]
- Think: What does this imply today?
3. Read Hosea 4:1-3.
- Quickly: What is cause in v.1? What is the effect in v.3? [No love in land etc., and the animals and land as well as people suffer.]
- How do we explain the "Because of this ..." v.3? [This is the crux question. Let people think about it.]
- (It might help to note that 'cursing' v.2 is not the pouring out of expletives, but 'pronouncing curses upon': an attitude to things.)
- How does this apply today? Can we see any parallels?
B. God's Love
4. Read Psalm 145:8-10, Jonah 4:11, Psalm 36:6, John 3:16.
- Quickly: From each passage, what does God love? [An obvious one from each; note 'world' not just 'people' in the last, well-known, verse.]
- What does this imply for how we relate to them?
- How can believers gaining eternal life help bring God's love to the world?
- The following might make it clearer ...
C. God's Salvation
5. Read Galatians 5:22-23.
- If the fruit of the Spirit is an attitude that believers take, in what way might this attitude be of benefit to:
- Other people
- Animals and the rest of creation?
- What relevance, if any, does this have when considering climate change? And other issues of environmental responsibility?
6. Read Romans 8:1-3, 14-17, 19-21.
- Why should the rest of creation be eager to experience the 'sons of God'?
- How do forgiveness, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the treatment of the rest of creation all link together? (Take into account Galatians 5:22-23).
- What are we going to do about this?
This page is offered to God as on-going work in developing a 'New View' in theology that is appropriate to the days that are coming upon us. Comments, queries welcome.
Copyright (c) Andrew Basden 2009, but you may use this material subject to certain conditions. Despite this copyright, please use it in any way that honours God.
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Created: 11 October 2009.