Christian Ethics: The Christian Environment (Gen 2:4-17)

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The Christian Environment

Genesis 2:4-17

Mr Jack Mock

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Sermon Outline

The Christian Environment

  • Genesis 2:4-17
  • We are God’s people living and working in God’s world.
  • Man’s greed; raping and pillaging the earth
  • Fossil fuels and climatic changes

Two erroneous views

(a) A dualistic view of life. Everything that was spiritual was good and everything not spiritual was evil. So, for them the body was evil and hence sex was evil and they taught a monastic view of life. More than that all matter was evil.

(b) Our Creator God is above and separate from the world that He has made. He is with it and above it and present with us but He is not in nature. We do not believe in Pantheism


1. How then should we treat the environment?

(a) as a fellow creature b) as a manager

(a) As a fellow creature

  • Creatureliness is a humbling concept; standing in front of a 270ft tall Redwood tree
  • In Genesis 1 we are made in God’s image and placed over the animal world. We are to rule it and subdue it.
  • In Gen.2 man gives names to the animals. There is a relationship between man and the animals. Some have even recommended that we even talk to the animals?!
  • the imagery of the Good Shepherd
  • don’t think that Jesus was an animal liberationist or a vegetarian as he clearly ate the roast lamb of the Passover Feast

(b) as a manager

  • Gen.1: 27 remind us of the pinnacle of God’s creation and that was man in his own image.
  • “He made him a little lower the angels yet give him the authority over the rest of creation.” Ps 8
  • “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

    “Therefore the Lord sent him from the Garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken” and again after the flood

    Gen.9:1 “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth”.

  • Now being a manager required some estate planning, knowing the seasons, when to plant when to harvest; watering, fertilising, cutting, and pruning and yes even to get rid of those weeds!
  • creatureliness and dominion.
    Psalm 8 puts the two together like this. “When I look at the heavens, the work of your hands, the moon and the stars which you have established; what is man that you are mindful of him and the son of man that you should care for him.”
  • He then answers his own questions.
    “You have made him a little less than God; and you crown with glory and honour. You have given him dominion over the works of your hand and have put all things under his feet.”

2. The sin of domination

  • If we lose our sense of creatureliness then our dominion over nature can easily become one of harsh domination
  • This happens when a mining company rips the wealth of the minerals out of the ground but pays no heed to pollution and ravaging the surrounding environment so that wild life and normal vegetation dies off hence changing the landscape for ever.
  • Francis of Assisi reminded us to call our fellow living creature ‘brothers’
  • We must find ways and means to replenish the earth. We must all try and live a simpler lifestyle.
  • We should encourage alternatives to the fossil fuel driven car.

3. Good stewardship

Any steward has two major responsibilities. The first is to treat his resources with respect and restraint

Psalm 24: 1 declared that “the earth is still the Lord’s.” “He remains head over all” says Chronicles 29:11.

Secondly, A steward must not waste his good, but his responsibilities do not end with conservation.

  • Christians are to be green.

(a) when to cut down a tree

(b) when there is enough fish; recall last week; enough is enough;

  • do not let greed take over
  • Are we good stewards of God’s creation?
  • Waste not; want not? Do we kill for pleasure or for food?
  • Have you and I disturbed or changed the habitat of living things around us?

4. New Heavens and a New Earth

  • The good news of the Gospel is one of hope for the future and that one day this earth will pass away.
  • There will be a new Garden-City (Eden and Jerusalem combined)
  • Paul notes that this earth is looking to be rescued from its bondage to decay
  • V19. “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; why; for the creation was subjected to futility not of its own will but by him who subjected it in hope.”
  • v22 “We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now and not only creation but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”
  • We do not exist without a place to dwell in. Heaven is a physical place. How good is this!?
  • It is a mansion with many rooms.
  • It is a city in a garden setting, there is a river and that tree of life again; but this new earth does not need sun or moon for its light
  • “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had passed away.”
  • “showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God”
  • “the city does not need for the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light.”
  • In the meantime, let us look after the Earth.


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