Eco-Justice Ministries
   Eco-Justice: "the well-being of all humankind on a thriving Earth"

Preaching on Genesis 1
Resources for Clergy

There are six pages related to the "Preaching on Genesis 1" resources:
Index &
Two Different
Creation Stories
Exegesis of
the Text
NRSV Formatted
to Show Structure
Sermon Themes &
Worship Tips

The beautiful story of creation through a series of days, Genesis 1:1-2:3, appears in the Lectionary only once, on Trinity Sunday of "Year A." Eco-Justice Ministries is delighted to provide these resources for pastors to help them deal with the text in ways that are pastoral and faithful, grounded in current scholarship, and relevant to the Earth's ecological distress.

The beloved story about the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2 and 3 is never presented comprehensively in the Lectionary. Pieces are used on the first Sunday in Lent of year A, and on two occasions in the season after Pentecost in year B. These resources are primarily focused on the Genesis 1 text, but the page on two different creation stories provides some background and perspectives that will be helpful for sermons or classes that address the Eden account.

These on-line resources are grounded in a series of workshops that Eco-Justice Ministries offered for Denver-area clergy in April, 2005.

Why is it important to pay attention to this text?
Two reasons come together in making a careful study of Genesis 1 important.

  1. It is a text that many -- both inside the church and outside -- believe gives free license to humanity to rape and pillage the Earth, and
  2. in light of the widespread ecological destruction of the Earth, the mis-representation of this text is not just a theological problem, but an urgent issue for how we try to bring about healing of the Earth.
The pairing of Genesis 1 and Psalm 8 in the Lectionary readings -- the only two passages in the Bible that speak of humanity's dominion over the Earth -- in a time of ecological crisis calls for comprehensive materials to help preachers.

There are two creation narratives at the start of Genesis!   [read more]
Any careful handling of the opening chapters of the Bible must take account of the two different creation stories -- the older story of the Garden of Eden (by the source known to scholars as "The Yahwist" and dating from about 1,000 BCE), and the "Priestly" account that is found in Genesis 1 (dating from about 500 BCE). The Flood story in Genesis 6-9 is a re-creation narrarive that is closely tied to the Priestly story, and also is an essential element in making sense of the meaning of Genesis 1 text. Please read this section before delving into the details of the Priestly account.

A structural exegesis of Genesis 1:1-2:3   [read more]
To understand the meaning of the Priestly creation story, it is helpful to look at both the structure of the whole text, and at the meaning of individual words and passages. This section walks through the whole story in detail. The New Revised Standard Version text of the story is provided in a format that displays the structure of the text.

Suggestions for dealing with Genesis 1 in worship   [read more]
Six different approaches for preaching on the text are suggested, along with an idea for how to read Genesis 1 in worship.

Helpful quotations   [read more]
To help preachers prepare their worship in relation to Genesis 1, we've extracted four extended quotations (about a half page each) that explore some significant topics in greater depth:

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Eco-Justice Ministries ended all programming on July 31, 2020. This site is an archive of writings and resources.
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