The Bible and Environmental Law: Is There a Connection?

January 16, 2003 11:26 am — 11:26 am
Washington, DC

Biblical references are common in national debates over controversial issues such as family planning, sexual preference, stem cell research and school funding but have been notably absent for the realm of environmental law and policy. Why is this? It is certainly not the lack of environmental principles in Scriptures. Long before there was widespread recognition of environmental challenges, sacred texts such as the Bible have promoted environmental protection, including the preservation of natural resources, protection of endangered species, sustainable development and environmental justice.

On January 16, 2003, Lawrence P. Schnapf, (environmental lawyer and Adjunct Professor of environmental law at New York Law School) who teaches a course entitled “Christianity and the Environment” at the Center for Christian Studies in New York City, spoke at an ELI Associate seminar. Mr. Schnapf discussed the relationship between Biblical principles and the origins of environmental laws. He addressed questions such as, to what degree, if any, does the Bible impact current environmental law and policy? Have Scriptural teachings fostered environmental degradation? What is the appropriate role for Biblical theology in the field of environmental law and policy, and how it can be used most effectively?