Forming Faith Blog

Created to Care, Created to Work

The creation stories teach us some of the foundational truths of our faith, including the goodness of creation and God’s call to us to be good stewards—to care for all that God has created.

A hand holding a small model of the Earth. We are created to care for our world.
In the Beginning…

When we, as people of faith, look at our Bible—especially the beginning of the Book of Genesis—we face an age-old quandary of factuality and truth. Many a ship of faith has run aground on the problem of how science describes the origins of humanity and our universe and how it seems the Bible describes it. That is the problem of factuality, and many biblical literalists are correct in their claims that one’s acceptance or rejection of the factuality of the creation story impacts one’s views of the factuality of the rest of Scripture. (One difference is whether this is actually a problem.)

But, while I have very definite views on this (against biblical literalism and inerrancy if you are curious), I think our shared priority here is what truths (theological understandings) these stories communicate. And the stories of creation in Scripture provide us with much of the foundation of our faith. In these first chapters, we begin to understand who our God is, who we are, and the nature of the world we live in.

Created to Care

We at Spirit & Truth Publishing have recently published a unit in our Learning Together series called Created to Care. Learning Together is a series of five-lesson units on a variety of topics (currently seven topics, but we will continue to add topics each year) that are designed to be flexible, used with children and intergenerational ministries for VBS, family/intergenerational events, Christian education classes, and even schools.

This Created to Care unit is about the story of God’s creation from Genesis 1 and 2. However, these are not traditional Bible lessons that focus on helping participants learn and understand Bible stories. Instead, the Bible passage in each lesson is a stepping off point to explore the joy and wonder of different aspects of God’s creation, as well as to learn about the damage humans have caused to the environment and what we can do to help creation heal. The topic is, indeed, environmental stewardship.

In addition to our Core Values and Theological Guidelines, this resource is based on a few key truths: God is the Creator, creation is good, work is good, and we are created as stewards of creation. This blog post is also the first in a series that explores topics NOT in this curriculum unit, including Created in God’s Image, Created for Love, Created for Worship, and Created for Community.

God as Creator

While we try to completely ignore the question of “how” God created the universe in our products, we do start with the foundational truth that God is the source of everything in the universe and takes purposeful action in the process of creation. This is one of God’s core identities. We assert that we can point out God’s metaphorical fingerprints throughout our universe and the various entities—living and not living—within this universe.

Creation Is Good

One of these “fingerprints” that the creation stories (especially in Genesis 1) show us is that the universe and everything in it is essentially good. The universe is a masterpiece of art, lovingly created by God. The goodness of creation is, in part, a rebuttal against any assertions that the physical universe is evil and only the spiritual reality is good. It also serves as the basis for our identity as beings of dignity made in God’s image, the topic for the next post in this series. The goodness of creation also drives our responsibilities to care for the earth (and everywhere else in our galaxy, once we get there).

Created to Work

A foundational truth found in the second creation story in Genesis 2 is that work is good, especially creative or care-giving work. God works in creation and placed the first humans in a garden “to till it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Not only is work necessary for survival (starting with the work of agriculture), but good work gives us pride (the good kind, dignity) and joy. And by “good work,” I mean work that creates (arts of all kinds, inventions, crafts, construction, teaching, etc.), discovers (sciences, other explorations, etc.), or gives care (to humans, to plants and animals, to the environment, etc.).*

Of course, a related truth from Genesis 1 and many other places in the Bible is that rest from work is not only good, but it is a gift from God.

Stewardship and Love

God calls us to be stewards of creation. A steward is not an owner but is designated by the owner to care for something on the owner’s behalf. As such, the universe belongs to God, who has designated us as stewards to care for it. The foundations of stewardship are the greatest commandments. We cannot follow the commandments to love God and our neighbors without caring for the environment that affects all life. Not only do we show our love for God by following God’s call, but the misuse and destruction of our world harm our neighbors—humans and other life—in the present and future, while the healing of our world helps them.

Faith Formation Connections

How can you take this perspective into your faith formation setting? Of course, you can purchase Created to Care for your VBS, intergenerational events, and/or Sunday school to teach (and learn) about caring for our environment (you can read an outside review of the unit from Practical Resources for Churches). You can also do your own reflecting on what I consider to be foundational truths to see if you agree. Then you can bring those reflections into conversations with your faith formation participants (adjusted for developmental levels).

You can also do a whole-church focus on creation. Created to Care is made in collaboration with BibleWorm, a weekly Narrative Lectionary podcast hosted by biblical scholars Amy Robertson and Robert Williamson. For Summer 2024, BibleWorm has done a six-week series on creation that parallels our Created to Care curriculum, following the Bible passages we include in our lesson background’s “Connections” section. For each week, BibleWorm provides podcasts, worship liturgies, and video Bible studies for use in worship and study. Use BibleWorm’s series with this unit to focus on stewardship of God’s creation in preaching, worship, and Christian education! See or for details.

In God’s peace,

Gregory Rawn (Publisher)

*Good work must honor the dignity of the workers and contribute to justice. Any aspect of work that increases injustice, exploits workers, causes harm to people or creation, leads to violence, or furthers greed is antithetical to God’s way.

Order Faith Formation Resources

Are you looking for resources for the summer: VBS, family/intergenerational events, or Sunday school? Check out our Learning Together series, a set of five-lesson units on a variety of topics. You can read outside reviews on both our newest Created to Care and Do Justice units! Our faith formation resources are easy-to-use, theologically sound, and inclusive.

Introducing our newest Learning Together unit: Created to Care! Wonder at God’s creation and learn about what we can do to protect and heal it in these five lessons, intended for children and intergenerational groups, family or churchwide events, or Vacation Bible School. This curriculum is published in collaboration with BibleWorm, a weekly Narrative Lectionary podcast, to accompany their summer series on Creation Care.

Our 2024-2025 resources have launched and are available to order! Narrative Lectionary, Revised Common Lectionary, Classic Sunday School, and more.

At Spirit & Truth Publishing, we might just have exactly what you are looking for:

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