Scripture

scriptureScripture is one of the bedrocks of a faithful life.  In this section, you will find recommended Hebrew and New Testament scripture to be used in a creation-honoring worship service.  Additionally, we offer some resources for reading scripture with an environmental perspective.

Creation-Honoring Christian Scriptures:

Old Testament
New Testament
The Scriptural Basis for Creation Care

Old Testament

(All verses are from the New Revised Standard Version.)

Genesis 1:3-31
“God saw everything that [God] had made, and indeed, it was very good.” (verse 31)

Genesis 2:7 and 15
“…then the Lord God formed [the human, adam] out of the dust of the ground [adamah]. …The Lord took the [human] and put [the human] in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.”

Genesis 9:8-11  “Then God said to Noah. . ., ‘As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark.’”

Exodus 23:10-11“For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield; but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the wild animals may eat. …”

Leviticus 19:9-20“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap all the way to the edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest … you shall leave them for the poor and the alien….” (verses 9 & 10)

Leviticus 25:2-7“…the land shall observe a sabbath for the Lord.  Six years you shall sow your field . . . but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of complete rest for the land….” (verses 2-4)

Leviticus 26:3-4, 14-15, 33-35“If you follow my statutes and keep my commandments and observe them faithfully, I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its produce ….” (verses 3-4)

Deuteronomy 20:19-20  “If you besiege a town . . . you must not destroy its trees by wielding an ax against them….” (cf. 22:6-7)

Deuteronomy 25:4  “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.”

Job 12:7-10  “But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you.  Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?  In [the Lord’s] hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being.”

Job 38-39  “The Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind . . . ‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?  Tell me, if you have understanding.  Who determined its measurements … Or who stretched the line upon it?  On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together …? ’” (chapter 38, verses 1 & 4-7)

Psalm 19:1-6 “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims [God’s] handiwork.” (verse 1)

Psalm 24:1-2  “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it; …” (verse 1)

Psalm 74:16-17  “Yours is the day, yours also the night; you established the luminaries and the sun.  You have fixed all the bounds of the earth; you made the summer and winter.”

Psalm 96:11-13  “Let the heavens rejoice and the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it.  Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord….”

Psalm 104 “O Lord, how manifold are your works!  In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. …These all look to you to give them their food in due season; when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.” (verses 24-28)

Psalm 148“Praise [the Lord], sun and moon; praise [the Lord], you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!  … Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and frost … Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!  Wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds! …”  (verses 3-4, 7-10)

Song of Songs 2:10-13 “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.  The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land….” (verses 10-12)

Isaiah 5:8  “Ah, you who join house to house, who add field to field until there is room for no one but you, and you are left to live alone in the midst of the land!”

Isaiah 11:6-9  “The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together … The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. …They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”

Isaiah 24:4-5  “The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers; the heavens languish together with the earth.  The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants … .”

Jeremiah 23: 23-24  “Am I a God near by, says the Lord, and not a God far off? …Do I not fill heaven and earth?”

Ezekiel 34:18  “Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, but you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture?  When you drink of clear water, must you foul the rest with your feet?”

Joel 2:21  “Do not fear, O soil; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things!  Do not fear, you animals of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness are green…”

Amos 5:8  “The one who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning, and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the Lord is [your] name…”

Wisdom of Solomon 11:24-12:1 (from the Apocrypha)  “For you [God] love all things that exist, and detest none of the things that you have made, for you would not have made anything if you had hated it.  How would anything have endured if you had not willed it?  Or how would anything not called forth by you have been preserved?  You spare all things, for they are yours, O Lord, you who love the living.  For your immortal spirit is in all things.”

Sirach 42:15-25 & 43 (from the Apocrypha)  “The works of God in creation.  “Look at the rainbow, and praise [God] who made it; it is exceedingly beautiful in its brightness.  It encircles the sky with its glorious arc; the hands of the Most High have stretched it out.” (chapter 43, verses 11-12)

New Testament

(All verses are from the New Revised Standard Version.)

Matthew 6:26 
“Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.”

Luke 12:6
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?  And not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight.”

John 1  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being…And the Word became flesh and lived among us …” (verses 1-3, 14)

John 3:16-17  “For God so loved the world…” (“world” in Greek translates as “cosmos”).

Matthew 12:33-37, 13:24-30, 18:10-14;
Mark 4:26-29, 30-32;
Luke 15:1-7;
John 15:1-7
Examples of parables and analogies that call upon the natural world.

Acts 17:27-28  “…indeed [God] is not far from us.  For ‘In [God] we live and move and have our being’….”

Romans 8:19-23  “…the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now …” (verses 21-22)

Ephesians 1:7-10  “… [God] set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things to him, things in heaven and things on earth.”  (verses 9-10)

Colossians 1:15-20  “[Christ] himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together … and through him God was pleased to reconcile to [God-self] all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.”  (verses 17, 20)

Revelation 4:6b-11  “And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to the one who is seated on the throne . . . they cast their crowns before the throne, singing, ‘You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.’” (verses 9-11)

Revelation 21:1-5  Heaven and Earth made one.

Revelation 22:1-2“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, through the middle of the street of the city.  On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”

The Scriptural Basis for Creation Care

The earth is the Lord’s! (Psalm 24:1)
Simple self-interest is one reason to care for creation.  As creatures ourselves, our lives are dependent upon our fellow creatures and upon a properly functioning eco-system.  But Christians have a reason beyond self-interest for caring for creation.  The earth is not ours; it belongs to God.  We love and care for creation because of our love for the Creator.

Praise God all creatures here below!
“Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!” sings the Psalmist (Psalm 150:6).  From the music of the planets spinning deep in space, to the calls of the humpback whales deep in the oceans to the trills of the thrushes deep in the forests, all creation praises the maker.  When we sing the doxology, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.  Praise God all creatures here below!” we join our human voices to the whole chorus of creation that is already singing its praises to God.  We care for fellow creatures so that they, with us, can continue to sing God’s praises.

The responsibility of humankind: “to till and to keep.”
God has given human beings a special responsibility to care for creation.  “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden to till it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15).  The Bible is wonderfully ambiguous at this point.  Did God make the garden because humans needed a place to live?  Or did God create humanity because the garden needed someone to care for it?  The Hebrew verb to keep, “shamar,” is the same word in the Aaronic blessing with which we sometimes conclude our worship services: “May the Lord bless and keep you” (Numbers 6:24).  We are to nurture, sustain, and care for creation the way God nurtures, sustains, and cares for us.

A God who saves humans and animals alike. (Psalm 36:6)
God’s promised redemption encompasses both the human and non-human creation.  Isaiah’s vision of new heavens and a new earth included vineyards, wolves, lambs, and lions (Isaiah 65); the Apostle Paul wrote of creation waiting to be set free from its bondage (Romans 8:21); an early Christian hymn praises Jesus Christ, the one for whom and through whom all things were created and the one through whom God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things on earth and in heaven (Colossians 1:15-20).  To seek to protect and care for the creatures God has made is to witness to God’s love for them and to acknowledge that they, with us, will share in God’s new creation.

We cannot by our own efforts, “save the earth.”  Only God, who is the Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer of all creation, can do that.  But as Christians, we are expected to join God in that good work.  In our homes, at our places of work, in our times of recreation, and in our congregations, we can begin to model that kind of love and care for the earth that God has for us and for all creation.