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.

Published in: on January 25, 2019 at 6:14 pm  Comments (44)  
Tags: , , ,

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?  
Tags: , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: