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Reflections on biodiversity and the Bible
Christianity is often accused of asserting humanity’s dominion over nature – an attitude that has led to so much environmental destruction – and of viewing it as somehow ‘fallen’, instead of teaching that we are merely a part of creation and that ‘what we do to the earth, we do to ourselves’.
In fact, the Bible is teeming with information about plants and biodiversity and different animals and their behaviour, revealing that its writers, like King Solomon and the oracle Agur, had intimate everyday knowledge of the natural world around them and learned from it. Likewise, Jesus was a close observer of nature and was earthed in the here and now, as his parables show.
In this book of biblical reflections botanist Ghillean Prance draws richly from his experiences exploring the Amazon and many other regions – from the White Mountains of Turkey to the Hawaiian Archipelago. It is his hope that this book will move Christians to wonder at some of the marvels of nature, and so to treat God’s creation with reverence and more respect. God’s Word is to be read not only in the Bible, but in God’s ‘big book’.
Ghillean Prance is Scientific Director and a Trustee of the Eden Project in Cornwall and Visiting Professor at Reading University. He was Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew from 1988 to 1999.