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Sabbath School Lessons on Health & Healing
About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 40 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 5: The Environment *
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!
- First Assignment
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- As you contemplate the creation, do you think that
Adam and Eve needed to work to have enough to eat?
- 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.)
- 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.)
- Are the needs of humans and animals mutually
- 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.)
- First Rest
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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
- First Environmental Consideration
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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?)
- Renters versus Owners
- 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
- 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.)
- 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
- 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?
- 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
- 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?
- Next week: Faith and Healing.
* Copr. 2010, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.