“We are all going to die” seems to be the newspaper headline of my generation. The apocalypse is always just round the corner. The human race seems to be in constant danger of being wiped out by the Millennium bug, ice ages, avian flu, swine flu, asteroid strikes, nuclear war or good old fashioned invasion by an extra terrestrial species.
But the big one, the best one, the be all that end all of disasters is known simply as Climate Change. The basic theory says that mankind is pumping too much greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and because of this the climate is going to crazy and to avoid our impending doom we must cut CO2. NOW!
What is the Christian view on the environment?
As Christians we know that we are called to be good stewards of this Earth. This can be seen from the very beginning when God took man and put him in charge of the Garden of Eden.
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”
And in the Psalms:
“You made him ruler over the works of your hand;
You put everything under his feet.”
Christians therefore have a responsibility to the environment; we should seek to look after what God has given us whilst at the same time remembering that God has given it to us! We are allowed to use Earth’s resources, indeed, as the resources we use are gifts from God we are glorifying God by using the Earth’s resources. We should be careful then not to follow some scientist’s calls for a complete renouncement of our Western lifestyle.
So, in general we must look after the environment. But specifically what about climate change? What should the Christian’s view about climate change be?
There is a fundamental difference between stewardship of the Earth and stewardship of the climate that I would like to draw your attention by asking a very simple question: can you be a steward over the weather? Stewardship would involve some form of control over it or some influence over it. Can man control the weather? Even with all our advanced technology we cannot, in fact we can’t even predict it correctly! We can be stewards of the physical resources of our world. We cannot be stewards of the weather because we cannot control it.
What! Who then is in control of the weather?
God. Want proof? Well, where do I stop? Here are just two verses:
“They do not say to themselves,
‘Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season,
who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.”
Jeremiah 5 v 24
“He spreads the snow like wool
And scatters the frost like ashes
He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
Who can withstand his icy blasts?”
Psalm 147 v 16 – 17
What we can see from just these two verses is that God is in control of the weather, not man, not some other force but God and God only. He determines when it should rain; he decided how the seasons will run their course. So, like in all other things, as Christians we need to submit to his authority over the weather. We do this when we pray that the weather may be good for a particular event.
God controls the weather. Ok, what has this to do with climate change?
Everything! If God controls the seasons and the weather then by definition he must control the climate. As Wikipedia says:
“Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and numerous other meteorological elements in a given region over long periods of time.”
What more can I say? Climate is just the long term weather conditions. Weather is just short term climate conditions. God controls the weather and therefore God controls the climate. Weather and climate are the same thing just on different time scales. This leads us onto an amazing fact: We shouldn’t believe in man-made climate change but in God-made climate change! That’s right, any change in the Earth’s climate is down to the direct decree of God, He is in control of it!
But, I still believe in man made climate change!
That would be unbelief. It’s like saying to God ‘Yeah, I know you’re in control of everything but not climate change, not this, only mankind is.” The arrogance! The pride! Is God not powerful enough to control the climate? Does mankind really have more influence on the climate than God?
What if God is going to cause [insert world wide climate disaster here]?
I give you as evidence against this fact: the humble rainbow (pictured above).
What does the rainbow mean?
It was given by God to Noah and every living creature as a sign of God’s promise to the Earth not to ever again flood it and destroy all life. We can be sure then that our planet is not about to dissolve into some global environmental disaster.
I’m still not convinced.
“As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”
Those were God’s direct words to Noah upon Noah leaving the Arc. Now considering that climate change disasters in all their glory usually involve the breaking of at least a few of the above we can be confident that the disasters predicted by climate change scientists are not going to happen. I’ll stress that again: the Bible gives us every reason to be confident in the earth’s continual existence without a catastrophic change in its climate.
What about pollution?
Pollution effects the local environment and is perfectly controllable so falls under God’s commands on stewardship.
What about CO2/ greenhouse gas emission?
The largest producer of greenhouse gases is the natural world. A good volcanic eruption would undo any good done by any emission cuts. God is in control of volcanoes and the natural world. God is in direct control of the vast majority of CO2 emissions (and technically in indirect control over the man produced stuff too). In addition the science behind CO2 emissions causing global warming is not as certain as many people would have us believe. Also apply some logical thought to the whole affair. God designed this earth knowing all of human history. It would be quite silly if God had designed an earth that failed as soon as mankind reached a certain level of technological progress.
Bah. What if CO2 emissions are a product of sin?
Ha ha ha! We breath out CO2, get a grip.
What if large scale CO2 emissions are a product of sin?
A better question but as I’ve said before in the grand scheme of things man’s contribution to greenhouses gases is tiny. CO2 exists in large quantites in the natural world and would have existed before sin entered the world. And again I restate my argument that God is in control of the climate of this earth. Not man. God.
Why is everyone worried about climate change then?
Because they are lost sinners with no sense of God’s power and authority. Additionally they are rebelling against God’s power and authority by claiming that man has complete power and authority over the climate. Also in the words of one secular commentator climate change is “the new original sin” i.e. a new idol. Fourthly they fail to understand the Bible’s implicit statements about God’s control over the weather (and therefore climate) of the whole Earth.
Above all things we need to trust in our good God. Where is your faith in God’s supreme authority over all things? Why worry about climate change? Do you think that you can change it? Do you think that you have the power of God? Instead worry about things you can change: you’re attitude to God and your faith in His unfailing goodness, his complete authority and unrivalled power.
Disclaimer: This is not a scientific debate about Climate Change but a theological one. For an alternative view on the science (or lack thereof) behind climate change feel free to visit: www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/4990704/Nobody-listens-to-the-real-climate-change-experts.html
I realise that some people may find this view a bit extreme so I encourage you to email me with any questions regarding my Biblical argument.