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Except for a few reprinted old documents, articles on this site are copyrighted by the author, and may not be reprinted without permission. You are, however, free to link to any article or page on this site without prior permission although it's nice to know who's linking to us.

Bill Samuel, August 4, 2002
Bill Samuel
Webservant
QuakerInfo.com

Biblical Notes for
Quaker Environmentalism

by Marshall Massey
  1. Matthew 18:20; Psalm 46:10.
  2. Luke 19:1-10.
  3. "Conscience" literally means "the place where we know with God" -- from the Latin con-, "with", plus sciens, "knowing". The Biblical word for conscience is even clearer: syneidesis, from syn-, "with", plus eidesis, "the act of seeing or perceiving": the place where we perceive with God what God perceives about things.
  4. John 14:26, 16:7-8, 16:13; Acts 2:16-18.
  5. Psalm 25:4-5, Isaiah 30:21, I John 2:27.
  6. The world cites the "dominion" verses in Genesis 1 and Psalm 8 to justify its callousness toward nature in the same way that the Pharisees cited Moses to justify their callousness toward their marriages. (See Christ's words about marriage in Mark 10:4-9.) A closer look, though, suggests that the "dominion" verses have been mistranslated -- that the verbs in question do not mean "to have dominion" in these passages, but mean something much gentler and less open to abuse: "to have the starring role in the cast, or the pivotal role in the drama." Still, this is a matter beyond the scope of this brief essay.
  7. And it is also not what the Bible teaches. Nowhere in the Bible are nature and the creatures portrayed as mere resources to be exploited.
  8. This view is consistent with the Bible. The covenants of Noah (Genesis 9:8-17) and of Hosea (Hosea 2:14-20) both speak of the non-human creatures as nations entitled to treat with God and humanity on a covenantal basis. In other words, the non-human creatures are seen as our fellow sentient beings -- beings who are fully capable of entering into agreements with us and with God, and whom God finds deserving of being included as full parties to such agreements. This makes them far more than mere objects or properties or resources. The covenant of Hosea (v 2:14) also speaks of the wilderness as a holy place where God is rediscovered and hope is reborn.
  9. II Samuel 12:1-12.
  10. I John 3:21.
  11. It might be noted that Nathan spoke to David, and Christ to his listeners, in similarly down-to-earth fashion, without any heavy reliance on logical arguments from scripture.
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Recommended Books: see all items
A Living Faith: An Historical and Comparative Study of Quaker Beliefs
Cover imageWilmer Cooper, founding Dean of Earlham School of Religion, provides an historical look at the beliefs of Friends (Quakers). Includes study questions.
Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home
Cover imageRichard J. Foster. Describes 21 types of Christian prayer. Harper San Francisco, 1992. 288 pages.
Journal of George Fox
Cover imageThe auto- biography of the founder of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).
Celebration of Discipline
Cover image20th Anniversary Edition of Richard J. Foster's million- selling work on Christian spiritual disciplines.
Imagination & Spirit: A Contemporary Quaker Reader
Cover imageA selection of excerpts from 15 contemporary Quaker authors who reached the mainstream market. See review.

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