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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 41 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 10: Stewardship and the Environment *
Introduction: "It's all going to burn." A young friend of mine would
greet all bad news about his possessions with that statement. What
happens to your stuff is unimportant, he thought, because it will
ultimately be destroyed. Does that make sense to you? Is that the
proper Christian attitude to have about possessions? Is that the
attitude we should have about our stewardship of the earth? How about
the care of our bodies? Let's jump into our study of the Bible and
- Read Psalms 8:3-4. What is the logical answer to this
question? (The logical answer is that "humans are
unimportant." It makes no sense that God would care about
- Read Psalms 8:5-8. What is God's actual answer to the
previous question? (Against all logic, God made us "a
little lower" than those in heaven, gave us great glory
and honor, and gave us dominion over the earth. God is
- Think a moment about the original question: What reason
does God have to be concerned about us? What does this
suggest about the nature of our dominion over the earth?
(Against logic, God cares for us. This suggests that we
need to care for the less important things over which God
gives us dominion.)
- Read Genesis 1:26. When were humans given dominion over
the earth? (From the beginning.)
- Read Genesis 1:29. What is part of the dominion over
the earth? (To eat from it.)
- Read Genesis 2:15. What is another part of the
dominion over the earth? (To care for it.)
- Does the idea of both taking dominion over and taking care
of the earth create some sort of conflict of interest? (My
young daughter just leased a new car that is undisputedly
better than mine! She has had four cars in her life: the
first two I bought, and the last two she bought. I noticed
that she took much better care of the cars she bought.
This reflects the truth that we take better care of things
we own, and even better care of things we worked hard to
obtain. God gave us dominion over the earth in the hope
that it would motivate us to take better care of it.)
- God has dominion over us and we have dominion over
animals. God gave up His life for us. Should we be
willing to give up our life for an animal? Should we
consider animals to be our equal? (Read Genesis 9:1-3.
This shows God's priorities. Since it is proper to eat an
animal for the benefit of a human, it is proper to prefer
humans over animals when their interests conflict.)
- Was there a necessary conflict here between humans
and animals? Couldn't humans continue to be
vegetarians, thus leaving animals alone?
- Notice again Genesis 9:2. Does this suggest a
fundamental change in the relationship between humans
and animals? (This was a protective measure for
- Read Exodus 20:8-11. Recall the tests in which you are
required to pick out the thing that is different? If I
listed a train, airplane, car, motorcycle and rake, which
would be dissimilar?
- What is dissimilar in Exodus 20:10? (Animals.
Everything else that is listed as not working on
Sabbath is a human.)
- Why does God include animals? (This shows that
God cares about the animals and we should as
well as part of our dominion.)
- Prophecy Driving Stewardship
- Read 2 Peter 3:10. What is the future of the present
earth? (Everything will be burned.)
- Read 2 Peter 3:11-13. Peter asks the question that we
have in mind - in light of the future, how should we live
now? What answer does Peter give? (We should be good
- This suggests a focus on heavenly things, not on
earthly things. How does our care for the earth fit
into this? Is care for the earth just one of the
"earthly things" that should not be of great interest
to us? (Since God's instruction to humans at creation
was to rule over the earth, it seems that is part of
living a holy and godly life.)
- Read Romans 8:18-22. Why is the creation "groaning" and
who is responsible for that? (The text says creation is in
trouble "not by its own choice." Our choice is the cause
of the problems faced by the creation.)
- To what is the creation looking forward to in the
- What does this suggest about our obligation towards
the creation? (Read Romans 8:23. Humans and the
creation are in this mess together. Together we look
forward to a heaven and an earth made new. This
suggests living now as we would live then.)
- Read Isaiah 11:6-7. Recall that in Genesis 9 an element of
fear arose between animals and humans. What does this
suggest about the future for the creation? (That in the
earth made new animals and humans will live together
without fear. While it is true that it is all going to
burn, it is also true that God will restore the creation.
That suggests we should live in anticipation of the
- Health, Fitness and Diet
- Let's shift our focus. Read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. Is this
text referring to diet, fitness and health?
- Read 1 Corinthians 6:12-13 and 1 Corinthians 6:18. These
are the texts that provide the context for the discussion
about our body being a temple. What is and is not being
discussed? (Sex is being discussed. Food is not being
discussed. Indeed, the context indicates that food is
irrelevant to the discussion because "God will destroy
[both food and stomach].")
- Read Matthew 15:8-11. What does Jesus teach about the
importance of diet?
- Read Matthew 15:15-20. What are the important things in
the life of a Christian?
- Read Romans 14:1-3. What does Paul teach about the
importance of diet?
- Read Genesis 1:29. Recall that in our study last week we
found that one of the very first things God discussed with
humans was diet. We suggested that made diet important,
have you changed your mind now?
- Re-read Genesis 9:3. Why does God prescribe what humans
can eat? (It must have some importance.)
- Read Genesis 7:1-4, scan Leviticus 11 and read Leviticus
11:1. How long has God made a distinction between clean
and unclean animals? (We see that God not only prohibits
eating unclean animals, but that this distinction existed
from before the flood.)
- Do we have a problem here? We saw that the "your body is a
temple" is not a discussion about diet, we saw that both
Jesus and Paul said negative things about a focus on what
goes into the body, but we also read about God prescribing
human diet from the very beginning, and that God has a
very long-standing distinction between clean and unclean
animals that impacts our diet. How should we resolve this
apparent conflict? Is it a "New Testament" vs. "Old
- Read Revelation 22:1-3. Is God concerned about our
diet even in heaven - a place which transcends "New"
vs "Old" Testament issues? (I think we need to put
stewardship of our body in its proper place. Having a
right relationship with God is our first priority.
Diet is not a matter of righteousness, it is a matter
of common sense, and we should not get this confused.
God cares about our diet. He no doubt cares about
fitness and health. But, we must not fall into the
trap of the Pharisees (Matthew 15) and confuse common
sense issues with moral issues.)
- Read Matthew 25:14-18. Why did the master give all of his
servants something to do?
- Read Matthew 25:19-23. What does industry provide,
according to Jesus? (Happiness! We share in the joy of
- Read Matthew 25:24-30. We have a rising problem in the
United States of a group of citizens who do not want to
work. Where does laziness lead? (To unhappiness. Part of
our stewardship is to be productive. We use the talents
God has given us to advance God's interests and our own
interests. This provides happiness.)
- Friend, God has given us many gifts, and put us in charge
of the creation. As you consider the various aspects of
stewardship that we discussed, are you failing in some
area? Why not determine today that you will recommit to
be a faithful steward of God?
- Next week: Sabbath: A Gift From Eden.
* Copr. 2013, 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.