Biodiversity is God's Glory

The Bible portrays 'the earth and the fullness thereof' as the stuff of the divine presence. Diminishing biodiversity, then, diminishes God's glory.

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Needed: Job’s Humility and Isaiah’s Passion

In our day the lessons of Job and Isaiah complement each other. For many, modernity has muted the experience of the vast natural world that taught Job and the ancients humility. We may have more “knowledge,” but we have attained it at the expense of wisdom. And how many of us behave as if “the fullness of the whole earth” were truly God’s own presence and glory? That fullness is being tragically diminished in our lifetimes. If the taking of a single human life, created in the image of God, is understood in Jewish tradition as a diminution of the divine, how much more so the global decimation of biodiversity, the loss of many hundreds of whole species every year? Isaiah’s political challenges may have been different than these particularly modern threats, but God’s answer to his question of “How long?” is eerily apt: “Till towns lie waste without inhabitants, and houses without people; and the ground lies waste and desolate...” (6:11). Isaiah’s response was “Here I am,” passionately dedicated to repairing the world. What will ours be?

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Jeremy Benstein

Jeremy Benstein is the fellowship director of the Abraham Joshua Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership in Tel Aviv.