Is God Anti-Environment?
“The Bible is anti-environment,” my friend Genie said (that’s not her real name). She tossed her cigarette on the concrete patio behind our favorite bar, stomping it out with a tiny, pale foot, replete with henna tattoo, toe ring, and hemp sandal. “And he doesn’t care about animals either,” she continued, “all those sacrifices and stuff. Gross. God’s a barbarian.”
I stood there with her, in my leather knee-high boots, and an outfit consisting of clothes that were most likely manufactured in a sweatshop. And a cross necklace around my neck.
At the time, I was a recently re-converted Christian. Like many Christians, I knew so little about the Bible that I couldn’t refute her remarks. I replied, “I don’t think that’s right,” and changed the subject.
Genie’s comments made me realize that I needed to be educated about my faith and beliefs. Two read-throughs of the Bible with my husband, and many formal and self-studies later, I know much more now than I did then. I can relate several Scriptures that support that God does care about the earth and all that’s within it, humans and animals alike. Although several examples come to mind, one set of verses speaks louder to me than others:
“The Lord said to Moses on Mt. Sinai, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a sabbath of rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields and prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.’” (Leviticus 25:1-7, NIV).
I interpret these verses to mean that God cares a lot about the earth He created—so much that He didn’t want His people to destroy the land by overworking it. And He definitely took this command seriously. Look what happened when the Israelites disobeyed:
“He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power. The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.” (2 Chronicles 36:20-21, NIV).
Granted, the Israelites angered God in other ways, in addition to not allowing the land to have its sabbath rest. However, that He exiled them ten years for each seven-year sabbath they didn’t allow for the land indicates that was a factor in their punishment—after all, the Scripture from 2 Chronicles explicitly states that not only did the land have its sabbath rests, but that it “enjoyed” them. How often do we think of the earth actually enjoying anything? Even though we might not, God certainly does.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m probably not as environmentally-friendly as I could or should be. But I try to be a good steward of this earth we’re blessed with. After all, it’s only on loan.
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.”