Led On Line
Presentazione - About us
Novita' - What's new
Lededizioni Home Page Ricerca - Search
Catalogo - Catalogue
Per contattarci - Contacts
Per gli Autori - For the Authors
Statistiche - Statistics
Cookie Policy
Privacy Policy

God, the Bible and the Environment. An Historical Excursus on the Relationship between Christian Religion and Ecology

Marco Damonte


The aim of this paper is double. On the one hand, it focuses on the relationship between Christian religion and ecology in order to inquire into the most common charges that environmentalist movements address to Christians and to evaluate them showing their historical roots. On the other, this study will show how some recent suggestions taken from Catholic authors – who, at the same time, are the traditional ones – and from the teachings of the Church, could be useful to encourage and to promote ecological ethics founded on human responsibility. In order to do so, an historical method will be used. In the first part, some authors from the Patristic-Scholastic age will be take into consideration, with particular care to Augustine. In the second part an article by Lynn White will be presented as an emblematic turning point in the relationship between Christian religion and ecologists, paying attention first, to the Puritan context of his writings, and, second, to the birth of contemporary environmentalist theories. In the last part Romano Guardini’s work and Francis’ Laudato sì will be considered. My attention will be focused on the interpretation of some relevant verses taken from the Bible book of Genesis.


Ecology; Ethics of Environment; Patristic Age; Augustine; Romano Guardini; Bible; Christian Religion; Puritans; Lynn White; Power (in Modern Age)

Full Text:



Baricalla, Vilma. 1998. “L’attesa del creato. Riflessioni su alcuni capitoli del Genesi.” In Le creature dimenticate. Per un’analisi dei rapporti tra Cristianesimo e questione animale, edited by Luisella Battaglia, 1-23. Cesena: Macro.

Beatty, John. 1998. “Ecology.” In Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward Craig, 202-205, vol. III. London: Routledge.

Bondi, Damiano. 2015. Fine del mondo o fine dell’uomo? Saggio su ecologia e religione. Verona: Fondazione centro Studi Campostrini.

Brennan, Andrew. 1998. “Environmental Ethics.” In Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward Craig, 333-336, vol. III. London: Routledge.

Damonte, Marco. 2009. “Confrontation Between Civilization, Religions and Professions of Faith.” Études Maritainiennes / Maritain Studies 25: 46-57.

Damonte, Marco. 2013. “Ecologia dell’ambiente ed ecologia dell’uomo.” In Ma dì soltanto una parola... economia, ecologia, speranza per i nostri giorni, edited by Enrico Garlaschelli, Giovanni Salmeri, and Paolo Trianni, 235-247. Milano: EDUCatt.

Damonte, Marco. 2016. “Storie a piè di pagina. Una lettura filosofica della “Laudato sì”.” Fogli Campostrini 11: 38-59.

Devall, Bill, and Session George. 1985. Deep Ecology. Salt Lake: Peregrine Smith.

Dubos, René. 1973. “A Theology of the Earth”. In Western Man and Environmental Ethics, edited by Ian G. Barbour, 43-54. Massachussets: Reading.

Francis. 2015. Encycical Letter Laudato sì. On Care of Our Common Home. Rome: Vatican Press.

Gottlieb, Roger S., ed. 2004. This Sacred Earth. Religion, Nature, Environment. New York and London : Routledge.

Guardini, Romano. 1961. Power and Responsibility. A Course of Action for the New Age. Chicago: Henry Regnery Company.

Jonas, Hans. 1985. The Imperative of the Responsibility: In Search of An Ethics for the Technological Age. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Leopold, Aldo. 1993. “The Land Ethics.” In Environmental Philosophy: From Animal Rights to Radical Ecology, edited by Zimmerman, Michael, and Callicott, Baird J. Cliffs: Prentice Hall.

Louth, Andrew, 2001. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, Old Testament I, Genesis I-II. Illinois: Inter Varsity.

Kundera, Milan. 1999. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. New York City: Harper Perennial.

Mathews, Freya. 1998. “Ecological Philosophy.” In Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward Craig, 197-202, vol. III. London: Routledge.

Mendieta, Eduardo, and vanAntwerpen, Jonathan. 2001. The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere. New York: The Social Science Research Council.

Naess, Arne. 1987. Ecology, Community and Lifestyle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nash, Roderick F. 1989. The Rights of Nature. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

Neri, Umberto, ed. 1995. Biblia. I libri della Bibbia interpretati dalla grande Tradizione. Bologna: Dehoniane.

Pois, Robert A. 1986. National Socialism and the religion of Nature. London: Croom Helm.

Sagoff, Mark. 1988. The Economy of the Earth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Shea, William R. 1993. “L’ambiente della fede e la fede nell’ambiente.” In Filosofia della religione. Indagini storiche e riflessioni critiche, edited by Mario Micheletti, and Armando Savignano, 199-215. Genova: Marietti.

Testa, Emanuele, ed. 1977. La Sacra Bibbia. Genesi. Introduzione – Storia primitiva. Torino e Roma: Marietti.

Watson, Richard A. 1983. “A Critique of Anti-Anthropocentric Biocentrism.” Environmental Ethics 5: 246-267.

White, Lynn Jr. 1967. “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis.” Science. New Series 155: 1203-1207.

Wordsworth, William. 1904. “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey.” In The Poetic Complete Poetical Works of Wordsworth, ed. by Andrew J. George. Boston-New York: Cambridge Edition.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/rela-2017-001-damo

Relations. Beyond Anthropocentrism
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (04/05/2012 n. 211)
Online ISSN 2280-9643 - Print ISSN 2283-3196

Executive Editor: Francesco Allegri
Associate Editor: Matteo Andreozzi 
Review Editors: Sofia Bonicalzi - Eleonora Adorni
Editorial Board:
Ralph R. Acampora - Carol J. Adams - Vilma Baricalla - Luisella Battaglia - Rod Bennison - Matthew R. Calarco - Piergiorgio Donatelli - William Grove-Fanning - Serenella Iovino - Luigi Lombardi Vallauri - Christoph Lumer - Joel MacClellan - Dario Martinelli - Roberto Marchesini - Alma Massaro - Barbara Muraca - Serpil Oppermann - Simone Pollo - Paola Sobbrio - Kim Stallwood - Sabrina Tonutti - Jessica Ullrich - Federico Zuolo