Theological Reasons for Protecting Biodiversity
For theology students, the high value placed on biodiversity in the Bible and theology often comes as a surprise, since their focus, at least to begin with, is primarily on the relationship between God and human beings. They soon discover, however, that the biblical vision of life is far more inclusive. At Columbia Theological Seminary, we have hosted a number of educational events, many of them funded by the “Science for Seminaries” program administered through DoSER (www.scienceforseminaries.org), that have helped students broaden their view of God’s love for creation and humanity’s responsibility for the natural world.
Field trips that provide theology students opportunity to witness biodiversity firsthand has proven to be an effective way of cultivating an environmental consciousness for faith-based communities. In addition, public lectures given by scientists and informed theologians have shared some of the science of biodiversity and humanity’s evolutionary kinship with all of life. Also new multimedia resources are being developed for classroom use that extend the biblical catalogues of animal life by including references to endangered species as objects of God’s care. Lastly, collaborative work between theological schools and Interfaith Power and Light (www.interfaithpowerandlight.org) is exploring effective ways to inform people of faith about species extinction and what to do about it. These are only a few of the ways institutions that prepare faith-leaders are stressing the value of biodiversity and its importance for humanity.