Green Bible stresses eco- passages, some may see red

October 13, 2008

The Bible has gone green.

HarperOne has published a Green Bible that highlights with green ink over 1,000 references to the earth and what the publishers say is a scriptural mandate to care for it. The inks are soy-based on recycled paper (of course!).

The Green Bible

The Green Bible will equip and encourage people to see God’s vision for creation and help them engage in the work of healing and sustaining it. With over 1,000 references to the earth in the Bible, compared to 490 references to heaven and 530 references to love, the Bible carries a powerful message for the earth,” HarperOne says on its web site about the publication.

The Green Bible is one new piece in the chain connecting the “creation care” movement, which has linked U.S. evangelicals across the political spectrum, Catholics who stress the social teachings of their church and Orthodox leaders, among others.

The movement has been galvanized by the challenge of climate change and other pressing environmental issues and their impact of the poor — and “God’s creation.”

The poor and the vulnerable are members of God’s family and are the most severely affected by droughts, high temperatures, the flooding of coastal cities, and more severe and unpredictable weather events resulting from climate change,” Archbishop Desmond Tutu says in a brief foreword to “The Green Bible.”

Highlighted lines in The Green Bible include the opening passages of Genesis and this one from Leviticus that says “You shall not strip your vineyard bare.”

But many environmentalists and scientists will no doubt question the ecological utility of some of the highlighted passages.

Take this one highlighted from Deuteronomy: “If you come on a bird’s nest, in any tree or on the ground, with fledglings or eggs, with the mother sitting on the fledglings or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young. Let the mother go, taking only the young for yourself…”

I doubt if you will find a single modern biologist who would support the removal of chicks from their nests as a conservation strategy.

The Lord bless you and keep you” is highlighted under the Priestly benediction in Numbers. One wonders what explicit ecological message is contained in that passage?

Will The Green Bible make some readers see red?


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Good Lord — now the enviromentalists are trying to corrupt the Bible! First the schools, now the churches!

I thought enviromentalists were a bunch of neo-pagans who’d rather dance around naked than actually do any work.

Posted by Gabe | Report as abusive

Too right Gabe. Dancing around naked is always better than work.
We environmentalists are working towards a clothless society in which everybody Dances Naked while we Work.

Posted by DAN | Report as abusive

Passages highlighted in green qualify as curruption? Wow guess I need to go burn my partial illumintaded bible that my family has been handing down (it has blue gold red and green highlighs depending on what the content is and these fiendish colored strands for marking out passages and prayers)

Taking care of our world is just another aspect of caring for the Lords house, a house that doesnt end once you step out of your churches front door.

Posted by Eron | Report as abusive

Do try to make this world a better place to live but if try to change GOD’s words, will definately go to HELL, so becarefull.

Posted by Bobby Victor Thomas | Report as abusive

Creation care is a great de-secularizing initiative. I’m up for the green Bible. A decade or two ago, I was a Catholic boyscout. We were told to repect nature as God’s creation. Global Warming was then widely considered as nonsense.

Posted by Luc Bomel | Report as abusive

Excuse me for being cynical, but after so many thousands of years has not religion failed miserably to make the world a really better place?

I go on experience and plain fcats – not half-baked extracts from an old book.

Posted by TheTruthIs… | Report as abusive

I cannot possibly see how highlighting relevant text in green is somehow trying “to change God’s words”. Personally, I think that Christians have often overlooked the planet and man’s responsibility toward it.

Are we not the caretakers of the Earth? Or perhaps we should just keep raping the planet and her species; after all, God will forgive us, right? Please. I’m all for anything that gets people to stop thinking only of themselves.

Posted by Shannon S. | Report as abusive

[…] your love of the Bible and your love of environmentally friendly things, look no further than The Green Bible. This version of the Holy Bible highlights in green text passages that are considered to reflect […]

Posted by Greener.Ideal » The Green Bible Emphasizes Environmental Passages | Report as abusive

I think the point of highlighting in green is a tad stupid. Sure now you can claim you are a nut as well as you believe in god but that doesn’t change anything except now the book has green in it. I get the point, put emphasis on the specific passages… but take it in another light, you are now distracting from the message as a whole. Now it isn’t about finding peace and harmony through God now it is find peace and harmony through being green (I think Jesus would think someone missed the point here). So you just made a “false idol” out of the planet so now God is not the goal to worship but the secondary and only worship him AFTER saving the planet.

This is just a devil’s advocate view of the “green bible” but when you take it into account I think someone messed up.

Posted by Ben | Report as abusive

There’s already the “promise” bible, with “all god’s promises highlighted for you” and the “poverty and justice” bible that highlights passages that ““speak of God’s heart for the poor.” It isn’t a bad way to increase appreciation of a topic that your particular congregation or ministry may not emphasize often. As noted above, highlighting is a traditional tool for mindfulness to the Word, without changing the Word. It’s a bit small-minded to say that extra attention to any set of passages is the “wrong” way to read a bible, don’t you think?

And there’s no reason to be snide about the passage on not taking the mother bird with the young (or eggs). If your food comes from foraging, leaving the mother to breed again and build another nest is not a bad start. It’s a statement about thoughtfully taking what you actually need–not more–or even deprive yourself a bit in the present if it is necessary for a healthy future. Our economy is showing us the empty lie of the “please waste more now” way of life. Welcome, green-highlighted bible.

Posted by Joy | Report as abusive

Highlighting is a classic way to focus attention on beloved passages or challenging passages…things that God does for us, or that God calls on us to do for Him or for each other. There is already the “Promise” bible that highlights God’s promises to us, and the “poverty and justice” bible that highlights passages that “speak of God’s heart for the poor.” Your pastor also “highlights” certain passages and ideas by preaching on them. How very small-minded to claim that reading the Bible with mindfulness to a particular subject is the “wrong” way to read the Bible. It is a study tool for God’s Word.

Also, about the bird and the young? If you leave the parents, they can build another nest and lay more eggs. For a hungry person, taking just eggs or young birds is absolutely an example of self-restraint in the present, in the name of sustainable food in the future. Ecology isn’t just about “them,” it’s about “us.” We are suffering right now from the false god of unquestioning greed. Welcome, green-highlighted bible. We could use a bit of mindfulness and stewardship in our lives.

Posted by Joy | Report as abusive

Has no one read “The Age of Reason” or “Self Reliance”? Regarding religion we must all become adults. We cannot work together if we constantly argue over our beliefs and differences. The Earth is dying!
Revelations 11:18,”The time has come to destroy those who are destroying your(Yahweh) Earth.”

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

[…] your love of the Bible and your love of environmentally friendly things, look no further than The Green Bible. This version of the Holy Bible highlights in green text passages that are considered to reflect […]

Posted by The Green Bible Emphasizes Environmental Passages | | Greener IdealGreener Ideal | Report as abusive