Sustainability has become a buzzword in recent years. As more people grow concerned about the effects of climate change and what the future will look like, more effort is made to understand it. And specifically, what the Bible says about it.
But what does sustainability mean exactly? Although there can be more specific definitions depending on context, in general sustainability is the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance and fosters the ability of people to safely co-exist on Earth over a long time.
In Christian terms, we might say we are called to care for God’s creation and to be good stewards of the earth in such a way that considers the impacts of our actions on future generations. We are called to build a world where the world’s resources are equitably distributed so that no one lacks in any needs for a quality life, the land, waters, and soil are cared for, and non-human creation is protected.
Below are fifteen Bible verses to support sustainability and caring for God’s creation.
- Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
- Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it,”
- John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, that whosoever should believe in Him would not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the World to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”
- Mark 16:15 “And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”
- Nehemiah 9:6 ““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; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.”
- Job 12:7-10 ““But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In God’s hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.”
- Leviticus 25:23-24 “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine. For you are strangers and sojourners with me. And in all the country you possess, you shall allow a redemption of the land.”
- Genesis 1:31 “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”
- Numbers 35:33 “You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it.”
- Psalm 104:25 “There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number—living things both large and small. There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there. These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.”
- John 6:12 “When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples,‘Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” “Jesus asked the disciples to ensure that nothing was wasted: nothing thrown out! And there is this fact of 12 baskets: why 12? What does it mean? Twelve is the number of the tribes of Israel, it represents symbolically the whole people. And this tells us that when the food was shared fairly, with solidarity, no one was deprived of what he needed, every community could meet the needs of its poorest members. Human and environmental ecology go hand in hand.” Pope Francis, General Audience, 2013
- Proverbs 3:9-10 “Honor the Lord with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”
- Ezekiel 4:2-4 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally."
- Isaiah 24:4-6 "The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the exalted of the earth languish. The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth's inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left."
- Jeremiah 2:7 "I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable."
Are there any other verses or passages about sustainability that you would include? Share them below!