Bible study: Life in all its fullness

Bible studyEnvironment and climate change
Photo of the world

By Rachel Mash

Introduction

In pairs or small groups, spend a few moments sharing where each of you feels closest to God.

Then share a sentence from your partner with the bigger group (eg ‘Sipho feels closest to God walking on the mountain’). Reflect on how often people feel close to God in nature.

Read Genesis 2:4–15

In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth, the plants, the animals, the people and all our ecosystems. And God saw that it was good.

God placed human beings on this beautiful garden planet, intending them to work the land and look after it (Genesis 2:15).

But then things began to go wrong. Adam and Eve were tempted by the serpent and disobeyed God’s command. This is what we call ‘the Fall.’ We will now explore what happened after sin entered the world.

1. God and people

How would you describe the relationship between God and humans when God first placed them in the Garden of Eden?

Read Genesis 3:8–11

  • What was the relationship like between God and humans after sin came into the world?
  • How do we see this breakdown in the communities in which we live and work?

So the first breakdown was in the relationship between God and people.

2. People and people

Read Genesis 2:22–25, 3:6–7, 3:11–13 and 3:16

  • What was the relationship like between Adam and Eve in the beginning?
  • What was their relationship like after sin came into the world?
  • How do we see this breakdown in the communities in which we live and work?

Reflect on the fact that in the following generation, Cain and Abel brought jealousy, hatred and murder into human relationships. So the second breakdown was in relationships between human beings.

3. People and the environment

Read Genesis 2:8–9, 3:17–19 and 3:23

  • What was the relationship like between people and their environment in the beginning?
  • What was the relationship like after sin came into the world?
  • How do we see this breakdown in the communities in which we live and work?
  • How do we see this breakdown at a global level?

So the third breakdown was in relationships between people and the environment.

Image of cross with God, people, people and land - the environment on four points

Conclusion

God was determined that the Fall would not be the end of the story of creation. He sent Jesus to save us from sin and to make it possible for the relationships between God, humans and the environment to be restored.

Draw this image onto a flipchart and use it for a time of reflection on John 10:10.

Reflect in small groups:

  • What does it mean to have life in all its fullness?
  • How does this study affect the way we think about the environment? What practical action can we take?

We will end with a prayer for our world (see below).

Rev Dr Rachel Mash is the Environmental Coordinator for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa

Email: rmash@mweb.co.za
Website: 
www.greenanglicans.org


A prayer for our world

Almighty God,
you created the heavens and the earth
and all that is in them,
and you created humankind in your own image,
and it was very good:
grant us the courage to recognise our failure to maintain your creation
and by your grace do all that we can to halt the degradation of our environment,
through Jesus Christ our Lord
who came that we might have life in all its fullness. Amen

Taken from Season of Creation One by Green Anglicans: www.greenanglicans.org/resources/liturgical