Interfaith inspiration and climate change

image Noah/Nuh buliding the Ark
Image Noah/Nuh saving biodiversity

For World Interfaith Harmony Week
When I first heard the Bible story of Creation as a little girl I was filled with wonder. Some thirty years later I found - to my surprise - the Creation story in the Quran. Now I am looking back from the imminent climate crisis. What God saw as good, could now be threatened, or threatening. The 'greater light to rule the day' the can now become scorching, even fatal. Or it can be turned for the good, with solar panels. Living in a low country, the Netherlands, I may be anxious. 'Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.' says the Bible. Now some of the dry land is dis-appearing under the waters.

'We send down the water from the sky according to measure.'
Now there can be too much rain or not enough. The Quran makes it clear, you mankind "are not the guardians of its stores." That holds true for believers and non-believers alike. Man can try to control nature but at the end of the day, he has to accept that nature, the rain, the wind, the sea are out of his control. It is his turn to serve nature.

As for biodiversity. 'And fruits of every kind He made' Quran. 'Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind.' Bible The rich diversity of nature has been taken for granted. The creation stories remind us that nature's richness is not our possession, but a gift, to be treated with respect. The Quran sees man only as a deputy, a 'vice-regent'. The Bible notes: 'The land is mine, for ye are strangers and sojourners with me. And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant redemption of (interest on) the land'.

Mankind behaved otherwise. 'And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat its fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land and made mine inheritance an abomination. The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth.'

That is relevant description of what we are facing today.

But what remedy is there? 'O Children of Adam! wear your beautiful and drink, but do not waste by excess, for Allah does not love the wasters. Do not do mischief on the earth.'

To end on a positive note, the rainbow. It appeared at the end of that great climate disaster, the flood described in both books. Noah/Nuh was the first person in human history whose task it was to save biodiversity. Today we might identify with this Biblical/Quranic figure, the inspired but practical man, working hard, full of hope against all odds.When the struggle against climate change is hard going, we can believe and hope that there is a rainbow at the end of the tunnel.

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This text is based on my book

Sharing Mary, Bible and Quran side by side

For images of Noah/ Nuh