A Christian Perspective On The Environment


The Red Line Project to show glacial melt

Is there a Christian perspective on the environment? I think so. It’s not complicated. We are given a unique position in the world, by God. He put “all things in subjection to him.” He gave Adam dominion over the animals. We’re basically in charge. But that doesn’t mean we are free to use up the earth or to misuse it. To despoil it. Like all God gives us, we are to be good stewards. Which means we enjoy it, but we care for it.

At the same time, that doesn’t mean we are to place environmental concerns over human concerns. In truth, the two are linked, but at times a human need must take president.

Another consideration is, what we are to care most about in the short term verses the long term. If we want to remove waste from where people live, for instance, is it OK to dump it in the rivers and oceans? I think most people now would say, NO. Resoundingly. Loudly. But once, that was the solution reasonable people came to. They were thinking short term, not long term.

Which brings us to the issue of global warming, or more accurately called climate change. And even more accurately labeled the anthropogenic (man-made) climate change.

Depending on who you listen to, this is a settled issue, based on known science, and requires our immediate attention OR it is a manufactured alarmist non-problem, intended to bilk wealthy nations of billions in order to even the economic playing field.

The two positions are polar opposites, and they involve scientists and the UN and government agencies and lots of money.

The confusing thing to me is that you can find supporters of both positions, equally passionate, equally sure they have the numbers in their favor.

I’m a little wary of both sides, to be honest, because I know it’s possible to manipulate data to say whatever you want it to say. You can form the questions of a poll, for instance, to include a greater number of people in a category. Or less. It’s as simple as asking, Are you a Christian? or asking, Are you a Bible-believing Christian?

But we’re talking about science! That’s not subject to manipulation, is it?

We’d like to think that’s the case, but here’s the issue with climate change.

The claim is that the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), which creates a greenhouse effect, have been on the rise, and we have got to stop it. The greatest culprit is fossil fuels, so we need to replace that energy source with “clean” energy.

But is the claim true?

Certainly, CO2 is on the rise. That’s a measurable, verifiable fact. But not just humans create CO2. Also the question must be answered if in fact the rising CO2 levels can be equated with rising temperatures—i.e., a warmer climate worldwide.

Some of the measurements scientists take at the Antarctic and elsewhere certainly look as if there’s a correlation between the two.

Then I came across this 2017 article in the Boston Globe, “Why are climate-change models so flawed? Because climate science is so incomplete” by Jeff Jacoby. In part he says

. . . The list of variables that shape climate includes cloud formation, topography, altitude, proximity to the equator, plate tectonics, sunspot cycles, volcanic activity, expansion or contraction of sea ice, conversion of land to agriculture, deforestation, reforestation, direction of winds, soil quality, El Niño and La Niña ocean cycles, prevalence of aerosols (airborne soot, dust, and salt) — and, of course, atmospheric greenhouse gases, both natural and manmade. A comprehensive list would run to hundreds, if not thousands, of elements, none of which scientists would claim to understand with absolute precision.

What’s more he says, that CO2 is actually only a very small part of our atmosphere: “about 400 ppm (parts per million), or 0.04 percent.” Which begs the question? would a rise in the amount of CO2 possibly have so great an affect on the climate of the world?

The camp that believes climate change is a real, dire threat to humankind, certainly thinks so.

I may be somewhat simplistic in my approach to the topic. I believe God will do what He will do. We aren’t going to “save the planet” if He wants to destroy it. At the same time, we shouldn’t be foolishly playing tag on the freeway. By that I mean, we shouldn’t knowingly and obviously put ourselves in jeopardy.

We are though. In jeopardy.

The more serious issue is not the condition of our climate but of our spiritual lives. If we neglect our relationship with God we are definitely putting our lives, our souls in danger. And that’s for now but also on into eternity.

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Published in: on January 25, 2019 at 6:14 pm  Comments (44)  
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Guns And Plastic Bags


HandgunsConservatives, a group many evangelical Christians find themselves tied to, have been criticized for having pet topics—most notably, abortion and gay marriage. I’ve heard these topics are growing tiresome and Christians ought to accept that we’re in the minority on these issues and get over it!

Surprise, surprise. Liberals have their pet issues too—notably gun control and global warming/climate change. I find these issues as tedious as I’m sure liberals find topics I’m concerned about.

Gun control in the US has a major barrier: the Second Amendment to the US Constitution which states citizens have the right to bear arms. Of course our world is a very different place than when the founders of our government put that right in place.

All of us decry the misuse of guns—from gang drive-bys to school shootings and political assassinations or the attempts. But the debate rages whether or not passing new restrictions on gun ownership or purchase will change the climate of violence.

In other words, we all acknowledge the problem, but we don’t agree that gun control is the solution or even a solution.

So we seem to be at a sort of stalemate . . . until the state of Georgia comes along and passes a law which allows their citizens to wear sidearms in public, possibly even in churches or schools, and in parts of the airport. These are people without a police record and without reported mental illness for the last five years.

OK, that last point disturbs me. When was the last time someone was “cured” of mental illness? Isn’t it more likely that various mental disorders are being treated or medicated, not cured? And haven’t a number of those perpetrating mass murders been discovered to have a history of mental illness?

But apparently this wasn’t a concern in Georgia. Oh, well. What I’m wondering is this—will the Georgia gun law have the same effect as the marijuana laws have had? In other words, will they catch on? Will other states think passing state laws is a good way to get around the Federal government, no matter what they have on the books or how they might try to restrict long held freedoms?

I find all these attempts at regulation or deregulation quite interesting. The gay rights efforts are an attempt to deregulate the long held beliefs about marriage. Ever since the US became a country, marriage has meant a union between one man and one woman. The deregulation efforts could turn marriage into a free-for-all.

Abortion is also a law that deregulates. Once there was a moral understanding that life is sacred, but now that view has been deregulated and life is not sacred if a woman doesn’t choose to permit life to grow in her womb.

On the other hand, new regulations are being added beyond the gun control. For example, the city council for Huntington Beach, CA, has joined San Francisco in banning plastic bags. While all plastic is frowned upon, it is bags that have received the environmentalists’ ire.

I forget all the evils that plastic bags are responsible for—all related to sea life, I believe. I just find it . . . incredible that we are so concerned for the health and well-being of fish and dolphins and seals and whales and crabs, but so unconcerned for the health and well-being of pre-born humans.

But I misspoke. There is great concern for the health and well-being of the pre-born as long as the mother decides to keep the baby. In that instance, a violent crime against a pregnant woman that results in her baby dying, can bring charges of murder against the perpetrator. And a woman who smokes when she is pregnant? She’s marked with the scarlet N for negligent.

Ocean_wavesIt’s a crazy world anymore. But it’s not really a surprise. Once we detached from our religious moral underpinnings which had been influenced by Scripture, we’ve been adrift. Now we’re moving so far from shore, we’re losing sight of solid ground. We’re following the peaks or dips of each wave, depending on who’s at the rudder and how hard we’re rowing.

I recently read this in an article posted at The Federalist:

“The censorial climate of academia extends beyond tenured professors and touches the students, both in undergraduate and graduate school. They are being taught what is and is not an ‘acceptable’ way of thinking rather than being encouraged to think through difficult questions on their own.” (“The Closing of the Academic Mind,” emphasis mine)

No wonder we have so many inconsistencies. No wonder we have key talking points and favorite liberal or conservative issues. What we actually need is a return to that moral compass that can help us find solid ground again. Maybe then we could reason out what to do about immigration and energy resources and crime and yes, the big favorites of both sides of the divide.

There really are Biblical principles that could apply to these issues, if we would accept the authority of Scripture. But the only way that will happen is one person at a time, each person reading the Bible, believing it, and choosing to live according to its dictates.

Are We Paying Attention?


Oklahoma_TornadoAnother disaster hit mainland USA. No, it wasn’t of the epic proportions that Japan experienced in 2011 when a tsunami followed a devastating earthquake which triggered a nuclear crisis. But these natural disasters are adding up. Noticeably.

2012 147 died – Hurricane Sandy
2011 160 died – Joplin tornado
2011 346 died – Six state tornado outbreak
2011 20 died – Flood Mississippi River
2010 20 died – Flood Arkansas
2008 59 died – Five state Super Tuesday tornado outbreak
2007 14 died – California wildfires
2005 1,836 died – Hurricane Katrina

I could go on, but I think you get the point.

Add to these, school shootings and mall shootings and movie theater shootings and race bombings, and America is reeling. Or ought to be.

F4_tornado_damage_exampleThe latest disaster is the category F4 tornado that swept through Moore, Oklahoma yesterday, killing as many as 51 people, though most reports expect that number to rise, while wiping out blocks and blocks of homes. I mean wiping out.

I’ve seen earthquake damage and wild fire damage, and the pictures I saw of the effects of the Moore tornado were every bit as destructive.

Of course those who espouse global warming, also known as climate change, believe all these tragic events are caused by Mankind’s careless use of the environment. I have no doubt that we are to blame, but I think there’s something greater at work.

When Israel and Judah wandered away from God, He brought calamity on them for the specific purpose of getting their attention. He was calling them to repentance, warning them of judgment. When they continued to go their own way, He brought on them the disasters He’d told them about through His prophets.

Here’s one example from Jeremiah:

if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it…Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds. (18:8, 11b)

The devastation Israel and Judah faced included an earthquake, three and a half years without rain, famine, and multiple attacks from other nations.

Daniel summed up the Jewish people’s response to God’s efforts to bring them back to Himself:

As it is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Your truth. (Daniel 9:13)

Before I go any further, please understand, I am NOT saying the people of Oklahoma brought on this disaster because they were particularly sinful.

Jesus answered this very charge when His disciples asked Him about similar circumstances in their day:

Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1-5 — emphasis added)

These people who died tragically were not suffering some judgment from God. But their deaths served as a warning to everyone else that they needed to repent because judgment awaited them.

Is America paying attention? Can we think that God is uninvolved in what’s happening, that He doesn’t want us to wake up, come to our senses, and repent?

He has told you, O Man, what is good,
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

If we took any one of those three–justice, kindness, walking humbly with God (bowing to His sovereign reign over our lives)–I think we wouldn’t have to go far before we see that the course of our nation is bent in the wrong direction.

“Justice” has turned into a court game of “who can win,” with truth playing only a small part, if any. And that’s when a case actually makes it to court. How about all the crimes that go unreported or the criminals who are never apprehended? What about intimidation that creates protection rackets, child pornography, sex trafficking, gang activity, welfare fraud, insider trading, bribery, corruption … And that doesn’t take into account the ways in which we are now calling evil, good and good, evil.

When I think about what we are as a society, I think, how can God stomach all this? And I haven’t even examined how we measure up in the kindness or humility departments.

Isn’t it clear that we as a nation, as a people have some repenting to do? How can we not pay attention? How can we think God is so uncaring or so absent that we can continue ignoring Him? It seems to me, the only people who can miss His hand at work in our land are those who think “Mother Nature” is to blame or who limit our responsibility to crimes against our environment, not to sins against our Creator.

Published in: on May 21, 2013 at 6:53 pm  Comments Off on Are We Paying Attention?  
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Embracing Climate Change


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The Topic. Climate change? What does that have to do with fiction or a Christian worldview? A lot, I think, at least when it comes to the latter.

Climate change, many in the media say, is a direct cause of man’s misuse of the environment, and if we but change our habits we can preserve the earth for future generations.

Christians often counter with skepticism. For one thing “climate change” used to be called “global warming,” but since the science isn’t there to support the theory that the earth is heating up, the term has changed.

Also, the cause of any perceived change can’t actually be traced to human practices (manufacturing, use of fossil fuels, etc.) since there are too many other factors and no way to run an experiment isolating one potential cause over the others. In other words, there is no real way to use the scientific method to determine the truth or error of the hypothesis.

So in view of this shaky science, why am I suggesting we should embrace global warming?

I believe liberals unintentionally are reporting what the Bible said nearly two thousand years ago, namely that Man is to blame for the decay of our environment. The difference is that liberal environmentalists claim this decay started with man’s use of fossil fuels whereas the Bible says the decay started when Man first sinned.

For one thing, God told Adam he would have to earn his food by the sweat of his brow. Perhaps this was only because of Adam’s change of address—from #1 Place, Garden, to Some Where, Out There.

But other changes occurred. The animals, once friendly with each other and with Man, no longer were. The land mass which was at one time together, divided. A catastrophic flood covered the earth. Devastating plagues decimated the Nile basin.

In fact, the Bible records numerous droughts and resulting famines. Major rivers the Bible mentions have all but dried up; some have vanished. According to Hillary Mayell of the National Geographic News, “8,000 to 10,000 years ago, what is now desert was probably lush savannah and grasslands. Today the Sahara is hot and arid, the land sandy, rainfall minimal, and vegetation sparse.”

A study in 2008 at Lake Yoa in Chad bears this out:

[The study] found evidence for a slow decline in tropical plants, followed by the gradual loss of savanna-type grasslands, and then the eventual spread of desert species.

Pollen samples revealed, for example, that the decrease in tropical trees accelerated after 4,800 years ago, while desert plants took root between 3,900 and 3,100 years ago.
– James Owens, “Once Lush Sahara Dried Up Over Millennia, Study Says,” National Geographic News.

Zoom forward to more recent times. Scientists have noted that for years the Sahara Desert, larger than the size of the US, has been encroaching on bordering savanna. In the decade between 1980 and 1990, the southern boundary moved south over 80 miles.

Of course, one scientist has now reported that in the last twenty years images reveal “extensive regreening” of the semiarid savanna in the south due to global warming.

The transition may be occurring because hotter air has more capacity to hold moisture, which in turn creates more rain, said Martin Claussen of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany
– James Owen, “Sahara Desert Greening Due to Climate Change?” National Geographic News.

I can’t help but wonder just how warm the air has to become for it to hold moisture. Weren’t the hundred-plus-degree days previous to “global warming” enough to hold moisture? But I’m getting sidetracked.

Why should we embrace climate change? Because the idea that the earth isn’t what it once was is completely consistent with what the Bible says:

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
– Rom 8:20-22 (emphasis mine)

In addition, taking care of our environment is completely consistent with God’s direction to Adam in the beginning.

Why, then, should we not embrace what the Bible says? The liberal media may have the facts wrong and certainly have the wrong idea that Man can fix a broken earth, but their conclusions and Scripture lead to the same place: Man is at fault for the mess we’re in, and Man should act responsibly to care for our world.

Why would we fight those conclusions?

Published in: on May 10, 2010 at 4:43 pm  Comments (18)  
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