Begin main content

Creation's Sabbath

Course overview

Take a look out your window—something remarkable is happening in the world outside. Air pollution and fossil fuel consumption are down. Animals are re-emerging in spaces normally dominated by people. Creation is experiencing a remarkable sabbath rest.

But this rest comes only because of a pandemic that is causing widespread human suffering, both physical and economic. How should Christians reflect on this situation? What lessons can we learn? And, after the pandemic, how should Christians live differently so that both humans and the nonhuman world can flourish?

In this course, you'll dive deep into the biblical concept of "sabbath rest." You'll explore the ways that our lifestyle choices affect the world around us. You'll wrestle with tough questions about the environmental costs of our activities. And with the knowledge you gain, you'll be ready to help your community make wise, sustainable choices.

Course distinctives

Faith that informs - You’ll evaluate everything you read, watch, or discuss from a Christian perspective that longs to see humans and God’s creation thrive together.
Questions that matter - Ask tough questions about big topics like global warming, species extinction, and environmental stewardship.
Teaching that inspires - Your teacher, James Skillen, has deep experience with wilderness preservation and sustainability. He’s led off-campus courses in places like Yosemite National Park.

Course details

There is no set meeting time for this course. You will have opportunities for live collaboration with the professor and other students. If you choose to audit the course, plan to spend 10-14 hours over the course of three weeks reading, writing, watching videos, and having discussions. You won't be graded. If you are taking the course for academic credit, expect an additional 20 hours of course work. Credit-seekers are awarded a credit on a completed/not-completed basis without a letter grade.


James Skillen's staff photo

James Skillen

James Skillen is a professor in the department of geology, geography & environmental studies at Calvin. His research covers topics like federal land policy and ecosystem management. He worked for several seasons with the U.S. Forest Service before earning a master’s in theology from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a PhD in natural resource policy from Cornell University.

Basic information

IDIS 170
$400 for college credit (1 semester hour)
$200 to audit the course
June 22—July 12, 2020
James Skillen


Enroll today!

Guest applicants:

Enroll here »

Current Calvin students:

Enroll here »


The latest sights & sounds | #calvinuniversity