Faith in Conservation: New Approaches to Religions and the Environment

By Martin Palmer; Victoria Finlay | Go to book overview

14
Judaism

Professor Nahum Rakover, an Orthodox legalist and Torah/Talmud scholar, was appointed by the World Jewish Congress to write this statement.

Consider the work of God; for who can make that straight, which man has
made crooked? (Eccles. 7:13)

When God created Adam, he showed him all the trees of the Garden of
Eden and said to him: “See my works, how lovely they are, how fine they
are. All I have created, I created for you. Take care not to corrupt and
destroy my universe, for if you destroy it, no one will come after you to
put it right.” (Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7)

The present paper is concerned with the vast and complex problem of protecting our natural environment from pollution and destruction, so that we can live in God’s world while enjoying its beauty and deriving from it the maximum physical and spiritual benefit.

In Jewish sources, the rationale for humanity’s obligation to protect nature may be found in the biblical expression, “For the earth is Mine” (Lev. 25:23). The Bible informs us that the Earth is not subject to man’s absolute ownership, but is rather given to us “to use and protect” (Gen. 2:15).

From biblical sources that refer to our “dominion” over nature, it would appear as though we were granted unlimited control of this world, as we find in Genesis 1:26:

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 creeps upon the earth.”

-111-

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Faith in Conservation: New Approaches to Religions and the Environment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Part 1 - Worlds of Difference 1
  • 1 - Changing Worlds 3
  • 2 - How Did We Get Here? 15
  • 3 - Changing Minds 23
  • 4 - Investing in the Future 37
  • 5 - Celebrating the Environment 49
  • Part 2 - The Faith Statements on Ecology 65
  • 6 - Introduction 67
  • 7 - Baha'i Faith 71
  • 8 - Buddhism 77
  • 9 - Christianity 83
  • 10 - Daoism 87
  • 11 - Hinduism 91
  • 12 - Islam 97
  • 13 - Jainism 107
  • 14 - Judaism 111
  • 15 - Shintoism 127
  • 16 - Sikhism 131
  • 17 - Zoroastrianism 145
  • Glossary 149
  • Selected Bibliography 153
  • About the Authors 157
  • Index 159
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