Monday, March 16, 2009
The Green Bible
Much to my disgust, I stumbled upon the Green Bible over at CBD. Before I go any further, let me clarify that I don't have a problem with the word of God - my issue comes with the ideology that insists that global warming / climate change / environmentalism is of the utmost importance, and then to tack that ideology onto a BIble is, in my opinion, disgusting and maybe even blasphemous.
CBD's product description of the Green Bible is as follows:
The Green Bible equips and encourages you to see God's vision for creation and helps you 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. This Green-Letter edition of the Bible highlights scriptures in green ink that teach about God's care for creation and how God interacts with creation, in an effort to bring greater awareness to how this message is woven throughout the Old and New Testaments. Essays from leading conservationists and theologians on how to read the Bible through a "green lens" as well as a green topical index and Green Bible Trail Guide for personal study will be paired with teachings throughout the ages to show people how caring for God's creation is not only a calling, but a lifestyle.
I find it amusing that the reasoning put forth for the publication of the Green Bible is that the Bible talks about the earth so often. The description states, "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," as if to imply that because the earth is mentioned so frequently in scripture, it trumps those other issues like heaven and love. Did you know that Jesus talked more about money than he did about heaven and hell combined? Should we likewise then start printing the "Money Bible?"
I also find the fact that specific "earth verses" are printed in green lettering absolutely ludicrous and shameful. I've talked before about my issues with global warming / environmentalism so I won't rehash that, but from the beginning of this whole "Christian Environmentalism" movement that has become so trendy the past few years, my main objection has been twofold: 1) if God is sovereign over the earth, are we really so arrogant as to assume that he would let it be destroyed by man's doing? and 2) wouldn't it be wiser (and more productive - see number 1) to put our time and energy as Christians into saving souls, rather than the earth (a mandate which is NOT given in scripture, mind you)? It literally angers me that Christians would expend so much energy in earth care while countless millions are on their way into eternity. Perhaps it would be more productive to read through the Bible and highlight all of the verses that describe the fate of the lost, and also the verses that command us to preach the gospel to them. According to the description of the Green Bible, "...caring for God's creation is not only a calling, but a lifestyle." What then, is the rest of the Christian life? Are we to elevate earth care above evangelism? Above preaching? Above fellowship? Above doctrine and theology (which, in my opinion, the Green Bible does because the premise that created it rejects the notion of God's sovereignty over creation).
Also, the encouragement is made to read scripture through "green lenses." Let me assure you: if you read scripture through "green lenses," you are completely missing the point of scripture.
One good way to filter out all of the new, trendy Bibles that come out these days is to ask ourselves how these renditions of scripture would play out in persecuted nations. Think about this for a minute: would a persecuted Christian want to read this Bible and take note of the "green verses?" Or maybe an even more pointed question: does a persecuted Christian care about earth care, or is he or she only concerned about truth and the gospel, because that is what their very lives depend on? It's shameful to think that we have reduced God's word and the glorious truth of his gospel to helpful steps for taking care of the planet.