Bible : The Green Verses
by Norman Lévesque, theologian and environmentalist
compilation for www.GreenChurches.ca (2014)
The Bible, the foundation of faith teachings for all Christians, contains many passages with ecological values. They often concern respect for the earth and its creatures and a right relationship with God's Creation. This page contains three "TOP" charts: the top 25 verses, the top 15 stories and the to 5 hymns on the theme of Creation in the Bible. Quotes are taken from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (NRSV 1989). This text may be reproduced elsewhere, and we thank you for indicating the source.
TOP 25 VERSES
about Creation in the Bible
God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. (Genesis 2:15)
Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every kind shall come in to you, to keep them alive. (Genesis 6:20)
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, ‘As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. (Genesis 9:8-10)
For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in their yield; but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of complete rest for the land, a sabbath for the Lord: you shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. (Leviticus 25:3-4)
If you will only heed every commandment... you will gather in your grain, your wine, and your oil; and he will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you will eat your fill. (Deuteronomy 11:13-15)
You are the Lord, you alone; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. To all of them you give life. (Nehemiah 9:6)
But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. (Job 12:7-8)
If my land has cried out against me... , let thorns grow instead of wheat, and foul weeds instead of barley. (Job 31:38-40)
The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it. (Psalm 24(23):1)
O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. (Psalm 104(103):24)
You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing. (Psalm 145:16)
The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens. (Proverbs 3:19)
For the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and humans have no advantage over the animals; for all is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 3:19)
As a lily among brambles, so is my love among maidens. As an apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among young men. (Song of Solomon 2:2-3)
The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. (Isaiah 24:5)
How long will the land mourn, and the grass of every field wither? For the wickedness of those who live in it the animals and the birds are swept away. (Jeremiah 12:4)
Therefore the land mourns, and all who live in it languish; together with the wild animals and the birds of the air, even the fish of the sea are perishing. (Hosea 4:3)
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)
Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. (Matthew 6:26)
Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. (Mark 1:13)
And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15 NKJV)
Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. (Romans 1:20)
We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now. (Romans 8:22)
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. (Revelation 21:1)
TOP 15 STORIES
about Creation in the Bible
God Creates the World (Genesis 1:1 - 2:4)
God created the heavens and the earth by establishing order over chaos. Through His Word, the land and sea produce animals and plants. Human beings are created in the image of God. Looking at all the Creation, God saw that it is very good and he rested on the seventh day.
Creation of Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:4-24)
The first human, named Adam, is fashioned from the earth, adamah, and water. God breathes air into his nostrils and man becomes a living being. He is placed in a garden to cultivate it and keep it. He discovers his territory and names the animals. His companion Eve, whose name means life, is bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh.
Noah's Ark (Genesis 6-9)
Before an imminent disaster, God gives Noah a mission: to build an ark which can hold one couple of each species. Noah and his family take care of these animals on the boat during the flood. When the waters recede, a rainbow recalls the sign of the covenant between God, humanity and all creatures.
Law of Moses: protect the weak, the animals and the earth (Exodus 23, 1-12)
According to the book of Exodus, God dictated the precepts of life which Moses then transmitted to the people. This chapter is only an excerpt, but it indicated God's concern for the weak, for animals and for the earth. Thus the people of God remain faithful to his covenant when they comply with these laws that protect life.
The Lord leads you to the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 8:6-20)
This description of the Promised Land is so beautiful it makes you want to visit. The water is clear, there is an abundance of fruit on the trees and minerals in the soil. An ideal land. It makes you wonder if God foresees a land for every nation, like the vast and rich land where the nations of Canada live.
King Solomon knows the animals and the birds (1 Kings 5:1-14)
Who was the wisest man of all time? The Bible says that it was King Solomon, who wrote thousands of proverbs and songs. A major sign of his wisdom was his ability to talk knowledgeably about plants and animals. Thus, his wisdom increased by observing God's creation. A model for us today!
Naboth's Vineyard (1 Kings 21)
Naboth had a vineyard in Samaria near the palace of King Ahab. The king wanted to enlarge his estate and sought to dispossess Naboth of his land. First, he offered money, but Naboth said he could not sell his ancestral inheritance. The king killed Naboth and took possession of the land.
God speaks to Job (Job 38-42)
Job led a successful life, but he suddenly lost everything. From inside a hurricane, God questionned Job's perception of life. God named a list of animals over which Job has no power, insisting that these animals were not created for the benefit of humans, but coexist with humans under one creator God.
Wisdom, master worker of Creation (Proverbs 8:12-31)
Why do the atmospheric system and the ecosystems sustain life on earth? Because Creation was made with wisdom. Yes, Wisdom was on God's side as master worker and helped shape the mountains, vegetation and all living beings. Christian tradition quickly associated the figure of Wisdom to Christ, the Word of God (John 1).
Jonah, a prophet of his time (Jonah 1-4)
God asks Jonah to go to Nineveh to warn them about the consequences of their bad behavior. His first reaction is to flee in the opposite direction by taking a boat accross the Mediterranean, but God sends a storm and Jonas is swallowed by a giant fish that spits him out on shore after three days. When he proclaimed the oracle of the Lord to Nineveh, the people converted and stoped their evil deeds, which saved the city. Now what about the prophets of our time?
Look at the birds and the lilies (Matthew 6:25-34)
In a society where one's personnal budget and the economy takes on so much importance, we end up believing that our achievements are the fruits of our own efforts. And when we lack for necessities, we are terribly worried about tomorrow. Jesus confronts this logic by saying that God provides for all his creatures, including birds and flowers. Seek to live simply and justly, and God gives us what we need.
The Parable of the Sower (Mark 4, 1-20)
Even before relating a spiritual truth, this parable explains a fact of plant life: the seeds need good soil in order to grow and then the plant can bear fruit. It reminds us that God has established the ecological mechanisms to nourish all creatures, animals and humans. Can the seeds of Creation Care pring to life in the good soil of our hearts?
The Great Commission (Mark 16:9-20)
Before ascending to heaven, Jesus appears to his disciples and entrusts his mission to them: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." Thus, Jesus confirms that he did not came only for those who believe, but to renew the whole creation. Other miracles that followed, like not succombing to the poison of snakes are not to be taken literally, but rather teach us to be more aware of the creatures and not to be afraid.
The suffering of Creation (Romans 8:18-30)
We have seen pictures of oil spills, clear cutting of forests, overfishing, industrial farming, etc.. In our time, creation suffers. How can we make sense of this reality? Will we find hope in this dark history of unlimited exploitation? Saint Paul says that creation does not suffer in vain; it is groaning in labour pains, until humanity reaches its full spiritual maturity.
New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 21-22)
The book of revelation of Christ to Saint John is a highly symbolic story. The most serious scholars consider it to be an allegory of the struggle of the Christians who experienced persecution during the Roman Empire. After all these battles between good and evil, comes our great hope: a peaceful land, harmonious, where God reigns on earth, where these is no pollution, where a pure river comes from the city and waters medicinal plants. A New Earth.
TOP 5 HYMNS
about Creation in the Bible
God provides for all creatures (Psalm 104)
...these all look to you to give them their food in due season; when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things...
Praise the Lord, all the earth (Psalm 148)
...let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven...
For everything there is a season (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
...a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted...
The Word became flesh (John 1:1-18)
...and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being...
Hymn to the Cosmic Christ (Colossians 1:12-23)
...he is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created...
This compilation was written by Norman Lévesque, theologian and environmentalist. This text may be reproduced elsewhere, and we thank you for indicating the source: Lévesque, Norman. (2014). "Bible: the Green Verses", www.GreenChurches.ca .
To learn more, get a hold of "The Green Bible" (NRSV), published by HarperCollins (2008). This is a green letter edition where all the passages related to creation, creatures, earth, land are in green font. It also has a few articles written by renowned Christians of many different denominations. Plus, the paper is FSC certified and the cover is made of natural fibers.