J. M. Houston
Geography and the Bible
phenomena of environment were depended on God alone (Psalms
104:27-30). Indeed, the Hebrews had no word for "nature," no
conception of anything but the ultimate control of God, to
whom all things were responsible (Hos. 2:21-22). Modern
environmental sciences may be much clearer than the Hebrews
were on the immediate creative and regulative physical
powers operating in the physical world, but the Hebrews'
recognition of God, as the ultimate agent of creation, gave
them insight into a realm which science makes no pretense to
Geography shares with history in being a study of the
particular, of places and events. The Bible is a
time-charged book, revealing redemption in a series of
specific events, and the physical environment is also viewed
decisively and concretely. The landscapes of the Bible are
as real and authentic as the events which it describes.
Indeed, our knowledge of the Near East in its historical
origins, and the development of its environment, is perhaps,
thanks to the Bible, the best documented in all the world.
It has been the land of three great faiths. It has been the
scene of man's invention of writing. And the Bible is the
most reliable and comprehensive document of antiquity.
To understand it properly it is essential to have some idea
of the land where the Bible was born and to know its
relationship to neighboring countries."
Houston, Contributor "Pictorial Bible Atlas" 8th Ed.
(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1981) p. 3