Saying Yes to Life Session 6
Saying Yes to Life Session 6
Session 6 of the Saying Yes To Life lent study explores the literary and historical context of the creation account of Genesis 1 and the significance of living creatures and humankind
Saying Yes to Life

Let the land produce living creatures and let us make humankind in our image

Featured Bible Verse

Genesis 1:24-31


This home group lent study explores the place of humans and other land creatures within God’s wider creation. It aims to inspire practical action towards a world filled with God’s justice. It also features an interview with Archbishop Justin Welby. 

This session is formed from the discussion questions from the end of chapter 6 of Ruth Valerio’s book Saying Yes to Life. As such, the questions often reference the book.   


The final interview features Archbishop Justin. As Saying Yes to Life draws to a close and we head into the Conclusion, watch it and consider: what have you learnt through the book? What has been most memorable? Are there things for which you need to repent? What changes are you making as a result? 

Lent Course Notes from the Diocese of Bristol

Many of us know the pleasure of seeing a deer leap across a field, a hedgehog scurry under a hedge or perhaps the warmth of being welcomed home by a much-loved dog. Encounters like these are precious as they underline the connection between us humans and the wider animal world. In her 2016 Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent book, I Am With You, Episcopal priest Kathryn Greene McCreight said: ‘There is no true humanity without other creatures of God.’ This underlines the point that there is no true humanity without other humans: a human on their own is not fully who they are meant to be. But humanity does not only exist within the human community: without the wider community of creatures that God has created, we cannot be what we have been created to be and we are the poorer for it. {page 137}.

As with the creation of vegetation, sea creatures and birds, the land creatures are made ‘according to their kinds’. This reflects the overall stress in the Hebrew Bible on appreciating and respecting the distinct nature of different kinds of creature. Rabbi Norman Solomon argues that God and the text are concerned with biodiversity and the preservation of each separate and distinct species. In other words, we share this world with the most incredible and wonderful mix of strange, colourful, funny, scary, cuddly, scaly, odd, tiny, huge creatures that we could ever possibly imagine! Pause for a moment to think about the animals that live around you and give thanks to God for such an abundance of life. {pages 138-139}

As we have worked our way through Genesis 1 during this course, we have seen how the Bible is not only a story about human beings but a story about the whole world – indeed the whole universe! The story centres around people and God’s unfolding relationship with them, but the wider natural world is never far away, and the biblical text is full of trees, birds, fish, fields, gardens, stars, insects, the sun and moon, flowers, seas, rivers, rain, clouds, wind and animals. However, a world that God has created to be teeming with life is instead losing its life at an unparalleled rate. Thoughtlessness and selfishness make us all complicit. But alongside our sinfulness, we also bear the imprint of God in our own lives and that means we can act and bring about hope. {pages 140, 146}

What Action Will You Take?

  1. Justice
    • We know that men and women of all racial and religious backgrounds are made in God’s image. In what ways do/can you reflect God’s image in your own life in relation to other people and the wider world?
  2. Eat and Ask!
    • What am I eating? How fast do I eat my food? Where do I eat? With whom do I eat? Where has my food come from?

List of Questions for home groups from Chapter 6 of the Book Saying Yes To Life

  1. Pope Francis calls this world ‘our common home’ and Richard Bauckham talks of ‘the community of creation’. Reflect on those two terms. What do they say to you? 
  2. Phil Newell writes, ‘The extent to which we fail to reflect the image of God in our lives is the extent to which we have become less than truly human.’47 What does it mean to you that all people have been made in God’s image? Are there people in your circles or society you need to remind yourself have been made in God’s image? In what ways do/can you reflect God’s image in your own life in relation to other people and the wider world? 
  3. We have talked a lot in this book about food and the role it plays in many of the issues we have considered. We have looked at eating fish sustainably; using less plastic in our food; cutting out or reducing our consumption of meat; growing our own food, and supporting farmer who look after their land and don’t use lots of chemical inputs. How willing are you to change the way you eat? What will you commit to doing? 

A prayer from France

Lord be praised for the immensity and the beauty of your creation.
I pray with humility to be every single day more aware of the variety of species on earth and to seek for their protection.
I thank you for this calling to take care of our planet that you put in many hearts, and I pray many others will follow.
I ask you the grace of being able to see the world with your eyes and to always be amazed by the places I’m blessed to go.
In this time of Lent, Lord help me to discern what specific choice
I can make to reduce my ecological imprint on the earth and how
I can be an encouragement to people around me to think and act about it.

At times when I can be discouraged by the amount of ecological issues, help me to remember I stand before holy ground when
I encounter another person and to believe that you can make everything possible.

Prisca Liotard is a French Catholic with a heart for the unity of Christians. She was part of the Community of St Anselm in 2017-2018 where her sisters and brothers gave her the ‘Environment’ award, a cause that truly matters to her! 

Useful Links:

To get your church engaged in caring for God’s world, join A Rocha’s Eco Church scheme. It provides a range of resources and advice.


Further Church Resources:


Painting © Jon White