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AbstractThe article argues that discourse about the Bible and the environment is often insufficiently materialistic and insufficiently theological. Ideas are not the motive force of history, but arise in a complex dialectic in which humans create and are created by their environment (Marx). This is briefly illustrated by examples from the Old Testament, focusing on how Israel encountered her environment as promise and problem. When it comes to disinterested concern for the earth, however, we have to go beyond this – closer to God, not closer to nature which offers no unambiguous moral resources. This too is implicit in the Bible.