Monday, May 22, 2006


Bible says to care for environment

I love "My Answer," Billy Graham's daily newspaper column. I read it religiously.

Today's is especially interesting to me -- not because I'm an environmentalist wacko, but because so many on the Christian Right are anti-environmentalist wackos.

Near as I can tell, they believe that since Jesus could come TODAY, and The End is Near, they have no responsibility or obligation to take care of this ol' earth.

Such thinking is wrong, as Brother Billy points out. Scripture says one thing, yet those who most loudly proclaim its "infallible" and "inerrant" status are the ones most likely to ignore it.

Why? I think it's because of idolatry: Those people worship the Bible -- and worse than that, they worship their own America's-business-is-business interpretation of Scripture above all.

Here's the question posed to Billy Graham.

DEAR DR. GRAHAM: Does the Bible say anything about taking care of the environment? I have some friends who are very passionate about this issue, but they don't really believe in God or Jesus the way I do, and they even claim the Bible is anti-environmental. Are they right? -- J.H.D.

Read Brother Billy's answer here.

Discuss. :-)


I have always admired brother Billy's ability to pluck Bible verses to back up any position he may be taking at the time. actually there are two accounts of creation in Genesis. Billy quotes from the second account. But a good Capitalist might prefer the first account:
Genesis 1:26-30
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, [b] and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

29 Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food." And it was so.

"Subdue and Rule Over!" A strong image isn't it?
Also note, no rib in this account.
Sorry, dude, you misinterpret Hebrew.

The appropriate interpretation as given by Talmudic scholars is "harness its potential and use its resources for your benefit." In an ancient Israelite context this would suggest cultivating its fields, mining its mineral riches, using its trees for construction, and domesticating its animals.
And, um, the errrrr rib comes later, in Chapter Two, which like all good serial stories, recaps the scene thusfar. So, there aren't TWO Creation stories in Genesis. It's the same tale.

"2:15 The Lord God took the man and placed45 him in the orchard in46 Eden to care for it and to maintain it.47 2:16 Then the Lord God commanded48 the man, “You may freely eat49 fruit50 from every tree of the orchard, 2:17 but51 you must not eat52 from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when53 you eat from it you will surely die.”54

2:18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.55 I will make a companion56 for him who corresponds to him.”57 2:19 The Lord God formed58 out of the ground every living animal of the field and every bird of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would59 name them, and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 2:20 So the man named all the animals, the birds of the air, and the living creatures of the field, but for Adam60 no companion who corresponded to him was found.61 2:21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep,62 and while he was asleep,63 he took part of the man’s side64 and closed up the place with flesh.65 2:22 Then the Lord God made66 a woman from the part he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. "

You WILL of course note the directions given to Adam, the first Man, the one whom God created and charged to, as you put it "Subdue and rule over".

He was given the land of Eden, "to care for it and to maintain it."

Nuffin' in dere about subduing or ruling, is there?

Sorta deflates your silly argument, sport.
(the footnotes in that quote indicate scholarly discussion and conjecture based on the KJV, I should point out, and are not verse references.)
"Subdue and Rule Over" or "gave them dominion over" does not translate into "rape and pillage the land without regard to the environment."

As stewards of the earth, we're supposed to take care of the critters, the water, the air. God didn't tell us to wipe out the other critters or the flora. How smart are we if God says "Here, I've given you plants for food" and we make it impossible for the earth to grow those plants? "Rule over" does not mean annihilate!

And like the previous discussion -- God doesn't require "capitalism" as an economic model, as we know it. But we can certainly prosper under His care without having to fear punishment. He's given us everything we need, plus more, so that we can share.

I don't recall anything biblical about killing off other species or polluting the air and water.
Re, "cultivating its fields, mining its mineral riches, using its trees for construction, and domesticating its animals."

Of course. But all of that can be done without being wasteful or devil-may-care ( to borrow a phrase).

Also, I'm pretty sure scholars do trace the two different creation stories in Genesis to two different eras, which means two different writers, which means two different stories.

You have a distorted view of the Story of the creation. I doubt the Church you went to as a kid explained it that way either.

Read into it what you will politically, but again, you lose the true intent of the scripture when you add the brainwash political bend you want others to know.

In your opinion, God and "Billy Graham" don't know as much as you seem to.

A pity.
Oh my ER what hath I went and wroth?
"Silly argument"?
Let's see what does it say in Hebrew?

כו וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים, נַעֲשֶׂה אָדָם בְּצַלְמֵנוּ
כִּדְמוּתֵנוּ; וְיִרְדּוּ בִדְגַת הַיָּם וּבְעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם, וּבַבְּהֵמָה וּבְכָל-הָאָרֶץ, וּבְכָל-הָרֶמֶשׂ, הָרֹמֵשׂ עַל-הָאָרֶץ. 26
And God said: 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
' כז וַיִּבְרָא אֱלֹהִים אֶת-הָאָדָם בְּצַלְמוֹ, בְּצֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים בָּרָא אֹתוֹ: זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה, בָּרָא אֹתָם. 27
And God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.
כח וַיְבָרֶךְ אֹתָם, אֱלֹהִים, וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם אֱלֹהִים פְּרוּ וּרְבוּ וּמִלְאוּ אֶת-הָאָרֶץ, וְכִבְשֻׁהָ; וּרְדוּ בִּדְגַת הַיָּם, וּבְעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם, וּבְכָל-חַיָּה, הָרֹמֶשֶׂת עַל-הָאָרֶץ. 28
And God blessed them; and God said unto them: 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that creepeth upon the earth.'
כט וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים, הִנֵּה נָתַתִּי לָכֶם אֶת-כָּל-עֵשֶׂב זֹרֵעַ זֶרַע אֲשֶׁר עַל-פְּנֵי כָל-הָאָרֶץ, וְאֶת-כָּל-הָעֵץ אֲשֶׁר-בּוֹ פְרִי-עֵץ, זֹרֵעַ זָרַע: לָכֶם יִהְיֶה, לְאָכְלָה. 29 And God said: 'Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed--to you it shall be for food;
ל וּלְכָל-חַיַּת הָאָרֶץ וּלְכָל-עוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם וּלְכֹל רוֹמֵשׂ עַל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר-בּוֹ נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה, אֶת-כָּל-יֶרֶק עֵשֶׂב, לְאָכְלָה; וַיְהִי-כֵן. 30
and to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is a living soul, [I have given] every green herb for food.' And it was so.

OK, I'll go with "Dominion and subdue."
There is of course good dominion and bad dominion.
I would think the dirty rotten Capitalists would chose the one most profitable to he/she at the time.

Of course there are two stories. One is a re-hash of the Cannanite story of creation that has it happen in the fall of the year and the other is a rehash of the Babylonian creation story that has it happen in the spring of the year.

The first story retains the dualism of the Godhead as male and female (the female being Shekhina) and the second actually reverses the Babylonian creation story by reversing the female/male sequence into the more patriarchial Hebrew mode.

Sheila, no my church, just like yours most propbably, out of ignorance or collusion, gave me the basic holy roman church (protestant or catholic makes no diference)party line.
My good and dedicated church people didn't know any more than that. And Sheila you don't know me, so please don't attack me personally because I have upset you, and don't presume my relationship with God either by the way.

I once had a friend, his name was ironically Justice, he would boast from the pulpit that he believed the Bible and everything in it, even the cover, because it said , Holy Bible. I'm sure that he didn't orginate that phrase nor his other one that went, "If the King James Version was good enough for Christ it is good enough for me." He always got a round of Amens on those statements!

Be nice now or I'll bring up the Hebrew concept of Lilith and Adam.
dr LOL, (not laughing at you. YOu Verve)

I really am sorry. I didn't mean to offend you so heartily.

I thought you were taking interpretation too literally. I don't read King James anymore either. I prefer study bibles that give me more than one version, in order to understand with more depth.

BUT! Billy Graham and the Pope have are not lost on what God intended us to do with the earth. Responsible stewardship for out world is as present in the bible, no matter how you disect it. Good stewardship in all things.

So OK! Thrill me with your take on Lilith and Adam. :)
Ah yes, Carl used Bible.orgs Net Bible translators notes. But why did you not tell us all of the possible translations?

Subdue: 58tn: Elsewhere the Hebrew verb translated “subdue” means “to enslave” (2 Chr 28:10; Neh 5:5; Jer 34:11, 16), “to conquer,” (Num 32:22, 29; Josh 18:1; 2 Sam 8:11; 1 Chr 22:18; Zech 9:13; and probably Mic 7:19), and “to assault sexually” (Esth 7:8). None of these nuances adequately meets the demands of this context, for humankind is not viewed as having an adversarial relationship with the world. The general meaning of the verb appears to be “to bring under one’s control for one’s advantage.” In Gen 1:28 one might paraphrase it as follows: “harness its potential and use its resources for your benefit.” In an ancient Israelite context this would suggest cultivating its fields, mining its mineral riches, using its trees for construction, and domesticating its animals.

Great site by the way, especially for those with a strong evangelical bent.
Sheila, you and Drlobojo will have fun here, I think. :-)
Lilith, ah yes, never heard about her in Sunday school. So here are excerpts from excerpts:

c) God then formed Lilith, the first woman, just as He had formed Adam, except that He used filth and sediment instead of pure dust. From Adam's union with this demoness, and with another like her named Naamah, Tubal Cain's sister, sprang Asmodeus and innumerable demons that still plague mankind. Many generations later, Lilith and Naamah came to Solomon's judgement seat, disguised as harlots of Jerusalem'. [4]

(d) Adam and Lilith never found peace together; for when he wished to lie with her, she took offence at the recumbent posture he demanded. 'Why must I lie beneath you?' she asked. 'I also was made from dust, and am therefore your equal.' Because Adam tried to compel her obedience by force, Lilith, in a rage, uttered the magic name of God, rose into the air and left him.

Adam complained to God: 'I have been deserted by my helpmeet' God at once sent the angels Senoy, Sansenoy and Semangelof to fetch Lilith back. They found her beside the Red Sea, a region abounding in lascivious demons, to whom she bore lilim at the rate of more than one hundred a day. 'Return to Adam without delay,' the angels said, `or we will drown you!' Lilith asked: `How can I return to Adam and live like an honest housewife, after my stay beside the Red Sea?? 'It will be death to refuse!' they answered. `How can I die,' Lilith asked again, `when God has ordered me to take charge of all newborn children: boys up to the eighth day of life, that of circumcision; girls up to the twentieth day. None the less, if ever I see your three names or likenesses displayed in an amulet above a newborn child, I promise to spare it.' To this they agreed; but God punished Lilith by making one hundred of her demon children perish daily; [5] and if she could not destroy a human infant, because of the angelic amulet, she would spitefully turn against her own. [6

The web source for this is:

The book source is:Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis by Robert Graves and Raphael Patai (New York: Doubleday, 1964), pp 65-69. And they quote their sources in their footnotes.

Sephardic Jews still put the amulet around their newborns neck to protect against Lilith.
Thanks for refreshing me. My brother first introduced me the legend of Lilith when I was around 13. I believe there is a dance sequence Dream Sequence)of the temptations of Lilith as a seductress in the musical "Damned Yankees. The Broadway Musical renamed her Lola. I think that was too bad.
At my small, conservative Baptist school there is a sizable contingent of what I (lovingly) call Baptist hippies. They believe dominion is responsibility and stewardship. It's quite refreshing. Re: Lilith - Isaiah 34:14- in my study Bible (NRSV) it says "there too Lilith shall repose" an in my NKJV it says "night monster" instead of Lilith. This characterization of Lilith is in line with her appearance in Gilgamesh. Nifty, huh?
Lilith is one of the many enigmas that pop up through out the Bible. Early Hebrew writings are interwoven with Egyptian, Cannanite, Mesopotamian, and Babylonian religions and mythologys. If you are interest in seeing what she looked like B.C.E. try:
Lola = Lilith, most interesting.

As ER knows, I agree with the concept that we need to be good stewards of the earth, but I don't necessarily believe that there are specific directives in the Bible to do so. Nor should we need such.
God gave us our brains (most of us) to use and if we can't figure it out, then we will reap the harvest of what we have sown.

There are so many Christian that believe that God's revelations stop at the back cover of the Bible. But we must not put a period where God has placed a comma. Otherwise the "Priest-Hood of the Believer" so valued by most protestants, and the god-head on earth of the Pope, have absolutly no meaning.
Why didn't I post them all?

Here's why, numbnuts, as you yourself posted:

None of these nuances adequately meets the demands of this context, for humankind is not viewed as having an adversarial relationship with the world.

Now, given that God gives Adam specific charge to tend to the Garden of Eden, not subdue it, you explain to me, please the relevance of YOUR STUPID POST?

*NOTE* Your ass has just been kicked courtesy of Carl, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Actor212 Enterprises, a Cayman Islands Corporation

Be sure to ask for it by name.
Ever hear of a search engine?
Didn't think someone could back-track your quote?

In other words you simply espouse the partial opinion of an unknown translator, and take that opinon as literal truth rather than thinking for yourself. That dog don't hunt here.

I think my 9:01 a.m. post explains what I was saying and why.

If you're out to kick ass, go find a bar and pick a fight with a small man. The only ass you'll find on this site is the one you have hung out yourself.
Yellow alert, Carl.

Comments directed to commenters are fine. Snark is tolerated at times -- often, in fact. Rudeness for the sake of it, not so much.
I guess I need to spray again.

And welcome, L. The world needs more Baptist hippies!
Thank you for the kind welcome, ER. Love your place here - it's a nice little piece of my sorely-missed home state along with great conversation.
Sorry to get in to this conversation so late. One of my favorite "earth" verses in the Bible comes not from Creation and the Beginning but from Revelation and the End:

"The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great — and for destroying those who destroy the earth."

Revelation 11:18

Yikes. That's not one you often hear preached or considered much, is it?
Ha. That one's about as obscure as the Old Testament prohibition on sleeping with yer mother-in-law.
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