A new book, aptly titled Eco Bible, written by Rabbi Yonatan Neril and Rabbi Leo Dee, explains the link between ecology and the Hebrew Bible. This book was published by a non-profit organization, Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development (ICSD)—which focuses on religion, as well as the relationship between living organisms and the environment.
This book accumulates 450 Bible verses, with commentary from over 100 rabbis and several Jewish experts, whose ecological ideologies were added in hundreds of books. The authors of Eco Bible said that protecting all life forms on Earth from devastating threats, such as massive forests on fire, ocean plastic pollution, and dramatic climate change, "will also take strong spiritual commitment and actions."
Protecting Environment Is a Religious Thing
Eco Bible connects five books of Moses/Pentateuch, as well as biblical teachings of rabbis with the scientific understanding of the human health, biodiversity, and protection of the major environmental factors—air, land, and water.
Neril, who co-authored the book and the founding director of ICSD said that the application of Hebrew Bible teaching to the stewardship of the environment "is not an idea for today." But this is essential for the future in which "we achieve a balanced, worldwide ecosystem and thrive on a planet viable for all life."
"At a time of both ecological and spiritual crisis, understanding the Hebrew Bible can have a profound impact on human behavior towards God's creation," as billions of people all around the world consider it "a holy book," said Neril.
As per Publishers Weekly—which is an American weekly trade news magazine targeted at publishers, booksellers, and literary agents—Eco Bible is an "insightful analysis." The website also said that the book will inspire the views on "how to live in harmony with nature and the power of conservation."
Bill Brown, who is a Professor of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary, said that Eco Bible is a "rich repository of insights" for those who have faith to move forward with "wisdom, inspiration and hope, all for the sake of God's good creation."
Relationship Between Religion and Nature
It has been noticed that all the major religions in the world and their diverse religious associations share the same ideology that humans are the stewards of the environment and its resources. All the religions also agree that nature is nothing but an act of divinity and it should be treated as such.
- Christianity: There are almost a hundred verses in the Bible that talk about the protection of the environment.
- Hinduism: It is a religion deeply rooted in nature and Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, as well as epics have many references of divinity related to nature.
- Islam: Many Qur'an verses support the protection of the environment, while some Islamic organizations promote the relationship between religion and sustainability.
- Confucianism: In the Analects of Confucius, there is very little about the relation of and nature, but some principles followed in Confucianism humanism are related to environmental protection and ecology.
- Shinto: It is based on Kamis, spirits corresponding to natural entities, which are wind, rocks, water, etc.
- Taoism: Also known as Daoism, this religion is based on the divine harmony between nature and humanity.