Discipleship and environmental concerns

TOPSHOTS/AFP PHOTO/ROBERT ATANASOVSKI

In 2007 the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd declared climate change was the great moral challenge of our generation.  Several changes in Prime Minister and Australia is perhaps only now starting to build the political will to address the massive consequences of our collective unsustainable consumption.  As a disciple this is a subject of interest to me.  I suspect there are very few of us who do not enjoy time out in nature. Out in the beauty of creation we often find peace and connection with God. 

The situation can only be described as grim and it is not my intention to enter into the long settled science about anthropogenic climate change.  For a long time people’s views on the subject were twice as likely to be influenced by their political leanings versus anything else[1].  The facts do not care about our opinions, they just are.  The reality rapidly being realised by populations around the world is climate change is real and devastating in a host of ways.  It remains to be seen whether we can escape the impact of escalating feedback loops and contain the damage to merely awful as opposed to the apocalyptic scenarios which are possible.

Climate change has a number of very concerning impacts some of which were captured by Daniel R. DiLeo[2]:

  • climate change is a threat multiplier as essential resources like food and water become scarcer
  • it has already contributed to the recent conflict in Syria
  • the adverse effects disproportionately harm the poor (who are least responsible!)
  • the impacts are estimated to kill 14 times more women and girls than men and boys

Is Christianity responsible?

From the late 1960s a strong school of thought emerged which blamed Christianity for unleashing unchecked exploitation of the natural world.  The argument made was that Christianity disassociated humanity and nature more than any other religion and that, emboldened by Christianity, Western nations used technology to destroy nature for profit.  This criticism is still made today. 

One of the key drivers or promoters of the idea was Lynn White Jnr. whose thoughts were published in the Science Magazine in 1967.  Lynn’s primary focus was the ecological challenge but towards the end of his paper he suggested Christianity was causal.  Some of his comments to illustrate the thinking:

Christianity bears a huge burden of guilt…We shall continue to have a worsening ecologic crisis until we reject the Christian axiom that nature has no reason for existence save to serve man[3]

Lynn White Jnr

White’s argument has some serious flaws though.  He has no real basis for his declaration that Christianity was causal for the ecological degradation evidence at his time[4].  Time sadly has also rebutted White’s accusations.  Predominantly Hindu India has inflicted massive damage on its environment.  Communist China likewise has frightening levels of pollution and degradation.  The availability of technology combined with human greed NOT Christianity is the problem.[5]  Industrialisation with problematic environmental outcomes may have first emerged in the Christian West, but Christianity was neither causal nor an enabler of the damage.

Christian responses

Since the late 1960s there have been ongoing efforts to define a theological position which incorporates environmental concerns.   Responses to the ecological issues and arguments like White’s can be grouped into four basic categories, which tend to align with distinct streams of Christian theology (source: Spencer[6]):

  • Biocentrism.  This claims all life is of equal value.  Some passages like Genesis 1:28 are largely rejected.
  • Revisionism.  This approach seeks to align traditional orthodoxy with environmental concerns. 
  • Passivity.  Environmental responsibilities is considered a matter of private opinion.  Often this approach takes a ‘leave it to God/Jesus to fix later’, frequently based on an eschatological position
  • Recovery.  Treats the environment as a valid concern of discipleship based on reading Scripture in cultural context.

Passivity is the most common approach I heard growing up.  Like all these labels, passivity includes a range of views but the key point is broadly that this is not a subject for sermons but rather personal choice. 

The debate is sometimes framed as anthropocentrism versus biocentrism.  Are humans really at the centre of God’s creation with full licence to exploit the natural world as they see fit (per some readings of Genesis 1:28)?  Or should we take a biocentric model and affirm all life has equal value? 

A biocentric model provides some interesting moral insights.  However practically when there is conflict between humans and another life form is it always practical?  If a parasite or wild animal directly threatens my welfare, or my child’s welfare, biocentrism goes out the window.  Has humanity undervalued the natural world and our fellow creatures?  Absolutely.  They are of great but not equal value.  I think biocentrism is an overreaction to human entitlement and greed – facts which have caused incalculable damage.  If we understood power brings responsibility, that rights are secondary to obligations then perhaps the biocentric extreme would be less compelling. 

As Ken Magnuson observed, the allegation of anthropocentrism and subsequent debate with biocentrists misses the point.  He maintains the heart of Christianity is theocentrism[7].  God is the centre of creation and should be the focus of human endeavour.  Humanity exists for him.  All creation similarly exists for him.    This is a powerful antidote to the selfishness of the free marketeer.  The human centric view alleged by Lynn White and others after him is inaccurate and misleading.

Some Christians are very wary of green theology seeing it as a dangerous fashionable reworking of core doctrines as expressed by Lawrence Adams:

the new Green theology presents a radical challenge to the core of Christian belief in the name of caring for the Earth. It posits a worldview that potentially moves us from understanding that “the earth is the Lord’s” to one that says the “the Earth is the Lord.”[8]

Lawrence Adams

On the other hand some large mainstream churches are embracing environmental responsibility as core to the Christian ethic.  In 2015 Pope Francis published an Encyclical Letter called in English “Praise be to you my Lord: Concerning our common home”.  In it he repeats a portion of a 1997 speech by the Eastern Orthodox Church Archbishop Bartholomew saying:

For human beings… to destroy the biological diversity of God’s creation; for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate, by stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands; for human beings to contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life – these are sins.” Further, “to commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God[9]

It’s pretty tough talk concluding that environmental damage is sin.  Now I’m not quoting either party to promote their brand.  Pope Francis’ pronouncement came with the usual Catholic assertions on abortion among other things which I would disagree with.  I merely point to the contribution of the Roman and Orthodox traditions as indicative that mainstream Christian thought is basically there in terms of bringing ecological concerns into theology.

Genesis 1

In Gen 1:28 God gave humanity authority over creation saying:

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it! Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that moves on the ground.

Gen 1:28

The quality of this rulership matters.  While the words themselves certainly convey the imposition of one will over another and the treading down of an opponent, they have to be taken in the context of all of Genesis 1.

The chapter moves from darkness and chaos, from being without form and void, to one which was teeming with life.  The world was ordered, logical and fruitful.  Yet elements of danger remained.  There were the wild beasts of the forest.  The darkness and ominous sea – a frequent symbol of chaos in the Ancient Near East – remained.  Humanity had responsibility for extending the order and fruitfulness God initiated. 

God never gave us a mandate to undo creation, to take the world back to being without form and void.  Rather consistent with the mandate to the adam in Genesis 2:18, humans were to “care and maintain “the garden.

The Mosaic Law – People above Profits

The Old Testament world was principally an agrarian society.  The laws particularly reflect that.  What is starkly obvious is that the Mosaic Law does not reconcile well with the prevailing free market philosophy which characterizes the Western world.  In many instances the Mosaic Law flatly contradicts the underlying drivers of modern economic markets.  Specifically the Law put people above profit.

The Law wasn’t environmentally focused.  There is nothing that talks about maintaining biodiversity or banning single use plastics.  The Old Testament world was a different one to ours.  However, the Law does reflect a radically different worldview and economic model to the one we live in – and that difference has significant consequences.  The Law did not focus on profit maximisation.  It actively regulated profit seeking so as to provide for sustainable production, food for the poor and wildlife, and opportunities for regeneration. 

Sometimes various statues are pointed to as examples of environmental regulation.  We need to be careful not to overstate the environmental slant of these laws.  Some examples of regulations which occasionally are quoted as being environmentally focused are:

  • The mother hen was not to be taken with her chicks Deut 22:6
  • You were not to cut down fruit trees in a siege Deut 20:19

However these regulations are not about the environment as much as maintaining a place fit for human habitation through not overexploiting resources.  There was no caution on leaving rare birds well alone.  The Law didn’t ban cutting down whole forests when you went to war, just cutting down fruit trees.  The hearers were to understand that they shouldn’t destroy sources of future human food, the laws were not about conservation.

What the Law does clearly do is put people first – all people.  The well-to-do farmer had an obligation to provide opportunity for his needy neighbours.  The pursuit of profit above all else was not allowed. 

Under the law you had to fallow your field every 7th year.  This provided an opportunity for the poor as well as wild animals (Lev 25:1-7).  This practice benefited soil health and therefore the long-term sustainability of farming practices.  Sandra Richter notes there are significant cross disciplinary studies demonstrating long-term sustainable farming practices make an outsized contribution to the economically vulnerable[10].  Ritcher also notes that Hammurabi’s prohibition of fallowing practices to increase short term tax revenue was a significant contributor to the collapse of Babylonian agriculture (yields fell by 65% over 700 years due to mismanagement)[11].  The Mosaic Law provided protections against overexploitation which ultimately benefited the entire population.

As a farmer you had to leave the corners of your field for others and not go over your crops with a second gleaning (Lev 19:9, 23:22).  This meant you were prohibited from maximizing your profit.  Instead you had to leave it for others.  Provision of opportunities for others was part of your responsibility.

Land ownership is a foundation of most western economies.  The accumulation of capital (ie wealth in the hands of some) goes hand in hand with progress – it is just the way things work.  Not so in ancient Israel.  No-one owned the land in their own right.  A principle of Israel’s economy was that the nation was just a tenant in God’s land:

The land must not be sold without reclaim because the land belongs to me, for you are foreigners and residents with me

Lev 25:23

This mindset combined with the Jubilee Law fundamentally altered the basis of the economy.  You couldn’t buy the permanent title to someone’s land.  You could only lease it from the original landholders with the value being calculated based on the remaining years to the next Jubilee Year (Lev 25:13-16).  Rather than wealth concentrating over generations in the hands of a few, the Law provided a reset each generation.  The family farm came back to the traditional owners who could start again economically.  This changed the accumulation of wealth significantly in a way which runs contrary to the free market economics of our Western world.

Modern economies love 24/7 commerce.  Time is money.  Productivity is a virtue.  Downtime is waste.  Again God’s economy moved to a different rhythm.  At the heart of the Old Testament Law, it’s cultic practice and calendar, was the Sabbath – a day of rest.  Each Sabbath was a rest where economic work was banned.  This ban wasn’t just for the privileged, for Israelites.  The rest extended to slaves, foreigners and even the domestic animals Deut 5:14-15.

None of these regulations speak to ecology.  But they demonstrate that the modern free market economy isn’t aligned with God’s principles.  God’s economy provided a sustainable future for His people and opportunity for the vulnerable.  Unchecked human greed has put us in a position where human lives and livelihoods are in significant danger, particularly in poorer regions of the world.  While the Law doesn’t preach sustainability, it does contradict the ‘profit first, people and environment last’ mentality of the free market.  The accumulation of wealth above all other concerns is contrary to God’s values and the laws He set out for Israel.  This alternative ethos does have implications for our modern attitude to the environment.

The Old Testament shows God cares about Creation

God expected humans to show care for their domestic animals, including allowing them to benefit from their work (eg the ox threshing grain was not to be muzzled Deut 25:4 – a more challenging command given we know the average villager in Israel struggled to generate enough food each year[12]).  Consequently Block observes that:

according to Deuteronomy, the human disposition toward and treatment of animals is a matter of covenant righteousness[13]

Daniel Block

Proverbs takes this to its logical conclusion– how we treat the animals in our care reflects our righteousness:

“the righteous care for their beasts the wicked are cruel”

Proverbs 12:10

God’s concern for domesticated animals seems reflected in the puzzling conclusion to the book of Jonah where God states in Jonah 4:11 He cares for the 120,000 people of Ninevah as well as the many animals (traditionally translated “cattle”).

This concern goes broader than the domestic creatures though.  Psalm 104 describes God as having ongoing involvement in the detail of nature.  His direct intervention is the basis of vegetation to feed man and beast according to v13-17:

He waters the mountains from the upper rooms of his palace; the earth is full of the fruit you cause to grow. He provides grass for the cattle, and crops for people to cultivate, so they can produce food from the ground, as well as wine that makes people feel so good, and so they can have oil to make their faces shine, as well as food that sustains people’s lives.

The Psalmist imagines God almost hand feeding His creatures:

The trees of the Lord receive all the rain they need, the cedars of Lebanon which he planted. All of your creatures wait for you to provide them with food on a regular basis. You give food to them and they receive it; you open your hand and they are filled with food  Psalm 104:27-28

Now we might think that God hardly ensures each animal is fed each day.  Surely this is a function of God’s system rather than God’s daily activity.  Regardless the point is God is concerned about His creatures.  Ancient Israel had this spelt out to them in the Mosaic Law.  You couldn’t just kill one of God’s creatures for food without acknowledging in a cultic ritual that you had taken a life.  The blood of the animal had to be poured out on the ground in recognition of the cost of your action (Lev 17:13, Deut 15:23). 

The physical world is a witness to God’s genius and existence (Romans 1:20, Psa 19:1).  While the specific context of Psalm 50 is God not needing sacrifices, the point still stands that God regards all creatures great and small as His:

For every wild animal in the forest belongs to me, as well as the cattle that graze on a thousand hills. I keep track of every bird in the hills, and the insects of the field are mine. 

Psalm 50:10-11

Yes there is an expectation of resources being used by humanity but the Old Testament taught its hearers to not over-exploit and to treat all creatures with a level of respect as being the work of God’s hands.  As Sandra Ritcher writes:

The earth is the Lord’s and all it contains;

you may make use of it in your need,

but you shall not abuse it in your greed[14]

I don’t think Revelation 11:18 is relevant…

While the Old Testament spoke to an agrarian nation, the New Testament is written to individuals who mainly lived in cities and for the most part lacked political power.  Consequently we don’t find regulations relating to nature or much comment on creation.  Those we do are powerful.  I don’t count Revelation 11:18 as one of them. 

Revelation 11:18 says that at the time of the end God will intervene to reward the good and judge the wicked, saying:

the time has come to give to your servants, the prophets, their reward, as well as to the saints and to those who revere your name, both small and great, and the time has come to destroy those who destroy the earth

God destroying those who destroy the earth sounds a lot like punishment for environmental degradation.  However such a concept is not one the first audience would recognize, it is a relatively modern experience.  The word destroy has two senses, a literal one and a figurative one where the idea is more along the lines of corrupting something morally.  The Complete Word Study Dictionary points to the LXX use in Judges 2:19 as an example use of corrupting via idolatry – in line with the Revelation context[15].The Word Commentary by Aune lists several similar instances where verses repeat a word, once using the literal sense and the second time a figurative one[16].  The broader context of Revelation is about the abuse of power by nations and systems against people.  It is silent on the damage done by human power to animals and ice shelves. Hence I think we are on safer ground to take the figurative option and put the passage aside as not relevant to the question. 

So on to something relevant and significant.

Creation belongs to Jesus and His Reign will bring relief

When we consider Romans 8, Hebrews 2 and Colossians 1 together we get a clear message.  Jesus is the rightful ruler of Creation and the temporary experience of human control has not been good.  In a real sense the natural world is part of Jesus’ inheritance.  This suggests we should endeavour to minimise our negative impact on creation and perhaps even work to enhance Jesus’ birthright.

Romans 8:19-23 is a curious passage which has had a variety of treatments over time.  In it nature is personified somewhat as Creation with a point of view on the state of things.  Let’s unpack the passage a little at a time:

For the creation eagerly waits for the revelation of the sons of God.

Romans 8:19

So Creation’s problem will be resolved when the faithful are saved.  In v19 and v22-23 both creation and the saints are looking forward to the same event, the same time.  This is described in the context as the revelation, the adoption and the redemption.  So whatever the specifics of the problem it is solved at a specific point in time by the arrival of salvation.  I would refer to this as the coming in of the kingdom where Christ will rule on earth.  The timing of the solution gives us important context to understanding what the problem is confronting creation.

Paul goes on

For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly but because of God who subjected it—in hope

Romans 8:20

When was Creation subjected to futility by God?  There are two candidates.  Firstly Gen 1:28 where we read:

God blessed them [the humans] and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it! Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that moves on the ground.

Here we clearly have Creation being subjected to the rule of humanity – which makes it a solid option.  The second option is the curse of the ground intended to punish Adam:

But to Adam he said, “Because you obeyed your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ cursed is the ground thanks to you; in painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.  It will produce thorns and thistles for you, but you will eat the grain of the field.

Genesis 3:17-18

In this instance the ground is cursed to bring out thorns and thistles – a fact which is of not concern to Creation but it’s bad news for Adam.  This is not a unique occurrence either.  The land is cursed for Cain in Genesis 4:12 and similar curses are invoked by the prophets against the land later (eg Isa 22:4-7, Jer 23:10).  Conversely Isaac would bless the land for his favoured child (Genesis 27:28) and God blest the agricultural efforts of the tribes of Joseph (Deut 33:13-16).  The use of the language through the Old Testament suggests the curse related to Adam’s personal experience rather than a fundamental everlasting change in the nature of the soil.

In terms of Romans 8 there is no subjection in Genesis 3.  The most reasonable explanation is therefore that Creation is groaning under the rule of humanity as established in Genesis 1.

This is reinforced by Psalm 8 which sees the rulership of humanity as a blessing for humans.  Far from being a punishment or result of failure, human rulership is a privileged position of honour:

Of what importance is the human race, that you should notice them? Of what importance is mankind, that you should pay attention to them, and make them a little less than the heavenly beings? You grant mankind honor and majesty; you appoint them to rule over your creation; you have placed everything under their authority

Psalm 8:4-6

Despite the witness of Genesis and Psalm 8, some suggest Romans 8 refers to the consequences of Adam’s sin, a misunderstanding build on the next phrase Paul uses:

that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children 

Romans 8:21

Some believe there was no animal death prior to Adam’s biting into a peach (come on surely it was a peach!).  So they think death was a new thing for all Creation and read the “bondage of decay” as essentially meaning ‘subject to death’.  This reading doesn’t work.  Firstly there is no mention of introducing death to the animals in Genesis 3, only Adam and Eve are going to experience death.  Secondly it contradicts the logic of Romans 8.  When the saints are redeemed Creation moves from the ‘bondage of corruption’ to the ‘freedom of God’s children’.  What changes for Creation with the Kingdom/redemption?  One thing – new rulership.  Animals will still be mortal, they will still die, but Jesus will rule over the earth. 

So the problem Creation is experiencing today which will be solved in the day of salvation is not death or mortality.  That remains the same.  What changes is Creation is no longer in bondage to corruptible humans, rather it is subject to the reign of the incorruptible faithful saints. 

What has this got to do with the environment?  Plenty.  Romans 8 says humans are doing a bad job.  2,000 years after the book was penned we could upgrade this to an abysmal job.  Disciples should do better, especially when we consider Hebrews 2 and Colossians 1.  .  More importantly – Creation belongs to Jesus.  It is his inheritance.

The writer of Hebrews adapts Psalm 2 to say that while humanity was given dominion, this control really is about Jesus who is the rightful ruler of Creation and will take up this position in the future:

For he did not put the world to come, about which we are speaking, under the control of angels.  Instead someone testified somewhere: “What is man that you think of him or the son of man that you care for him?  You made him lower than the angels for a little while. You crowned him with glory and honor. You put all things under his control.” For when he put all things under his control, he left nothing outside of his control. At present we do not yet see all things under his control 

Hebrews 2:5-8

Colossians 1 has what is probably an early hymn on the position of Christ.  It commences with the following line:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation

Colossians 1:15

This has echos of Genesis 1 with Jesus as the ultimate imager of God.  Also Jesus as the firstborn, the centre of creation, inherits creation.  The rest of the hymn expands Jesus’ position to speak more of powers than the physical creation in my opinion.  Regardless, the point in v15 is clear.  The natural world belongs to Jesus, it is his birthright.

What does ‘love your neighbour’ even mean if we don’t address climate change?

Loving your neighbour is the greatest commandment according to Mark 12:31 

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the hero shows love which:

  • Answered a call which wasn’t expressed
  • Was extended to an enemy
  • Went beyond the immediate need to future needs (he paid for accommodation for the injured man and provided for future unknown costs)

Kenneth Himes suggests that love has two forms:[17]

  1. Charitable works express love in the context of personal and interpersonal settings requiring care and compassion in direct engagements that demand immediate attention.
  2. Social justice is love’s expression in the context of human relationships dealing with human dignity and political, economic, and cultural systems.

I would recast these fractionally into short-term and long-term aspects.  Charitable works deal with short term needs.  In the case of environmental issues it is dealing with symptoms, raising funds for bushfire victims perhaps.  The social justice aspect of long is a longer term addressing of root causes in the environmental space. 

We live in a world where the health of the environment is critical to human flourishing.  Healthy people need a healthy ecology.  Loving our neighbour means we have to take seriously the catastrophic impact of climate change (let alone other environmental problems).

Then it gets hard

Can I claim to love my neighbour while living with a laisse faire approach to the environment?  The reality is my lifestyle will impact climate change.  And therefore will impact my neighbour.  Yet it seems like the choices are impossible.  Like most westerners, I live in a system where I only have so much freedom.  I have to commute to work.  I can’t grow my own food.  Most of us are unable to extricate ourselves from the modern C02 emitting world.

There are choices we can make, some are easy some not so much.  Perhaps we could change our meat consumption.  Should we ease back on travel, or at least pay for carbon offsets?  Recycling isn’t difficult in my country.  Should we alter the thermostat on our heating or cooling a little to reduce power consumption?  Everything makes a difference – though so so small.  Regardless of the impact though perhaps we have some uncomfortable moral choices to make.  Examples of these difficult choices could be multiplied, we all know more questions we could and should ask ourselves.

Aside from our personal lifestyles, loving our neighbour perhaps means we speak up to improve environmental performance at our place of work or worship.  Maybe we engage with politicians to express our opinion as to what a better course of action is.  Many in the Western world benefit from pension funds which increasingly allow us to direct the investments into green funds and companies rather than say fossil fuels. 

Not everything is within our ability to do.  We live within a society and contribution not guilt is what matters.  We have a history – a cultural context which we cannot escape.  I’m Australian and our context is a high emitting one – partly a consequence of our geographic spread, partly because of poor political leadership over the last few decades.  Beating ourselves with a stick and living in a cave because of the macro context we can’t control won’t make any positive difference.  However momentum is a powerful thing and we can add to positive momentum through our actions, spending pattens and advocacy.

In Mark 14 a woman came to Jesus.  She dedicated a year’s salary to anointing Jesus’ head with costly perfume.  Some questioned the logic of her choice.  You can imagine the criticisms:

  • If you really loved Jesus you would aid the poor. 
  • Put a dob of oil on Jesus then sell the rest to help the orphans. 
  • She was selfish. 
  • She was narrow minded, not translating her love for Jesus into transformative action.   

The reality is this woman made a decision and right or wrong she dedicated herself to Jesus and his commendation is amazing – she did what she could.

What should I do?  How should I care for God’s creation?  There is literally no end of demand.  And others might question how we individually take on the need and prioritise our resources and decisions.  Everything we do has a trade-off.   I don’t know the right answer for you.  No doubt we could all do more, but engaging in criticism isn’t going to help.  We need to get in and do what we can.

Conclusion

God created with an expectation that all life would flourish, human and animal.  Humanity was given responsibility for creation, to continue the mission of bringing order, fruitfulness and life.  It is not that creation was human centric, rather it was God centred.  Humans have abandoned this perspective to our cost.  Our greed has done tremendous damage. 

While the Old Testament Bible doesn’t teach environmentalism, it restrained human greed and the profit first mentality of capitalism.  Providing for the poor, caring for creatures under your control and ensuring ongoing opportunity for all rather than the building of intergenerational wealth (and consequently poverty for others) were part of Israel’s law code.  Throughout, God communicated His care for all creatures and interest in, and love of, Creation.

While humans were given dominion, in reality this was foreshadowing Jesus reigning over Creation.  This is his birthright and when his kingdom commences Creation will pass from bondage to corruptible humans to the reign of God’s children.

Until this hope is realised we are to love our neighbour.  In today’s interconnected world a full love means addressing the root causes of so much suffering – climate change.  Care for the environment, including tough personal choices, is an unavoidable part of loving your neighbour.

May we all do what we can.

by Daniel Edgecombe


[1] https://www.nature.com/articles/nclimate2943

[2] Daniel R. DiLeo, “Introduction: The ‘Climate Emergency’ and US Catholic Responses to Laudato Si’,” Journal of Moral Theology 9, no. 1 (2020): 4.

[3] White, Lynn Jnr (1967)  “The Historical Roots of our Ecological Crisis” 

[4] Andrew J. Spencer, “The Modernistic Roots of Our Ecological Crisis: The Lynn White Thesis at Fifty,” Journal of Markets & Morality (Spring and Fall) 22, no. 2 (2019): 357.

[5] Richter, Sandra “Environmental Law: Wisdom from the Ancients,” Bulletin for Biblical Research 24, no. 3 (2014): 309.

[6] Spencer, Andrew J. “The Modernistic Roots of Our Ecological Crisis: The Lynn White Thesis at Fifty,” Journal of Markets & Morality (Spring and Fall) 22, no. 2 (2019): 358.

[7] Ken Magnuson, Invitation to Christian Ethics: Moral Reasoning and Contemporary Issues, Invitation to Theological Studies Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2020), 509.

[8] Lawrence Adams, “The Snare of Green Theology,” ed. R. C. Sproul Jr., Tabletalk Magazine, October 1993: “The Earth Is the Lord”: Radical Environmentalism (Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries, 1993), 53.

[9] Laudato si’ (24 May 2015)  https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html  visited 8/10/2022

[10] Sandra L. Richter, Stewards of Eden: What Scripture Says about the Environment and Why It Matters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2020), 23.

[11] Sandra L. Richter, Stewards of Eden: What Scripture Says about the Environment and Why It Matters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2020), 23.

[12] Sandra L. Richter, Stewards of Eden: What Scripture Says about the Environment and Why It Matters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2020), 33–34.

[13] Daniel I. Block, The Gospel according to Moses: Theological and Ethical Reflections on the Book of Deuteronomy (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2012), 181–182.

[14] Sandra L. Richter, Stewards of Eden: What Scripture Says about the Environment and Why It Matters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2020), 108.

[15] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[16] David E. Aune, Revelation 6–16, vol. 52B, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1998), 646.

[17] Kenneth R. Himes and Daniel R. DiLeo, Laudato Si’ in the United States: Reflections on Love, Charitable Works, and Social Justice,” Journal of Moral Theology 9, no. 1 (2020): 102.

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