‘Church of global warming’ fails to engage the largest problem of all

Tue, 06/17/2008 - 3:47pm
By: Letters to the ...

Global warming as a media fixation has taken back seat to the presidential primaries. But that doesn’t mean it has gone away.

The theory of man-made global warming has attracted adherents with a religious-like zeal. Former Vice President Al Gore has been the drum major for the climate-change crusaders whose ranks are filled with professional meteorologists, other scientists, politicians, and the main-stream media.

The rush to save our planet has also been joined by various Christian leaders and organizations. Mark Bergin in World Magazine recently reported, “Many other non-government relief organizations, such as Christian Aid, World Vision, and Oxfam International, are taking steps toward reducing their emissions and helping impoverished people prepare for potential changes in sea level, weather patterns, and agriculture.”

A Christian response to global warming predictions by necessity has to be multifaceted. There are many questions that have to be asked.

Is global warming taking place and if so, is it man-made?

Most would agree that there has been some increase in the climate temperature of our planet. But this does not mean that global warming is man-made.

S. Fred Singer, professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and president of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, has stated, “... every scientist knows, correlation is not causation. During much of the last century the climate was cooling while CO2 levels were rising. And we should note that the climate has not warmed in the past eight years, even though greenhouse gas levels have increased rapidly.”

Is there a “scientific consensus” that the burning of fossil fuels is the chief cause of warming today?

Again, Singer observes that there is “no such consensus” and this is “not how science works.” He adds, “Science proceeds by the scientific method and draws conclusions based on evidence, not a show of hands.”

There is also another problem with the so-called “scientific consensus” argument. This bullying tactic has been used to shut down all objections to Darwinian evolution. How many times have evolutionists, especially those in the media, attempted to shout down the opposition with variations of “most scholars believe”?

Consensus is no better than the presuppositions it brings to the discussion. But another question arises. If there is global warming, what can be done about it?

It is not the purpose of this present discussion to offer proposed solutions. However, beware of those who have a vested financial interest in combating an alleged man-made global warming.

Actually, there are some environmental advantages to a slightly warmer climate with more carbon dioxide. According to Fred Singer, “Economic studies have demonstrated that a modest warming and higher CO2 levels will increase GNP and raise standards of living, primarily by improving agriculture and forestry. It’s a well-known fact that CO2 is plant food and essential to the growth of crops and trees — and ultimately to the well-being of animals and humans.”

One of the special features of the debate over global warming is the slugfest that has started among various Christians. In a recent editorial in the AJC, the executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics in Nashville, Robert Parham, rebukes current Southern Baptist Convention leaders for being caught in “a religious disconnect on (global) warming.”

Parham, an ordained Baptist minister, thinks that “scientific consensus” should be enough to rally good Christians to the banner “of human-induced climate change.” He argues this by condescendingly chiding those who believe “in special revelation” (i.e., an inerrant and trustworthy Bible). If the Bible doesn’t speak about man-made global warming, then we can’t be sure if it is happening.

That, according to Parham, is the self-imposed dilemma of Bible believers. This kind of shallow and herd-bound thinking about global warming calls for reminders in biblical realities.

Planet earth’s original climate was perfect. It had to have been. God created it and said that it was very good. Our weather problems began at the fall of man into sin. The curse of death was pronounced upon all creation. Thorns, thistles, and sweat replaced an ideal environment. Paradise was lost. Creation was subjected to futility. Adam and Eve’s descendants were consigned to a struggle against a hostile environment.

Mankind has been trying to cope with the terrestrial thermostat since he was driven out of the garden. From the tropical climate of the pre-Flood world to the uniformity of the seasons in the post-Flood world, human beings live in a groaning creation.

Until the kingdom of God on earth when the curse on creation will be partially lifted, God has established a certain kind of uniformity in nature.

In his notes on Genesis 8:22 (“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”)

Dr. Henry Morris has commented, “Absolute uniformity of the day/night cycle and the seasonal cycles assures at least general uniformity of functioning (allowing for statistical variations) of other processes.”

In other words, the planet will function according to a principle of uniformity, even while creation groans and suffers, until that day when new heavens and a new earth become a reality (Rom. 8:22; 2 Pet. 3:13).

In the meantime human beings can do great damage to the environment. Forests can be cut down and replaced with earth-scarring erosion. Animals can be hunted to extinction. Their natural habitats can be ravaged, leaving them no place to live. Streams can be polluted by man-made pollutants. The air can be filled with enough particulate matter to make life unbearable.

No one denies that mankind can do some incredibly bad things to the water he drinks, the air he breathes, and the ground in which he grows his crops. But can finite creatures actually destroy the planet?

You would think so from listening to all the “save the planet” propaganda of recent years. What an arrogant boast. The claim is that the creature can actually do what only the Creator can do, end life on this earth as we know it.

Human beings cannot save the planet anymore than they can save themselves from the wrath of a holy God against all ungodliness and unrighteousness. Sinful, fallen human beings flatter themselves with their vaunted aspirations much like our ancestors did who set out to build a religious monument on the plains of Shinar (Gen. 11:1-4). However well-intentioned the save-the-planet mentality may be, it is a fool’s errand.

But all this is not to say that we should be indifferent to the care of creation. Through common grace (the blessings God gives to all people that are not part of salvation from sin), God makes it possible for societies to maintain acceptable living conditions (“The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made ... The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand, you satisfy the desire of every living thing” — Psalm 145:9, 15-16).

We should rejoice in and utilize all that science and technology offer us for making a better environment (clean air, pure water, and wise use of natural resources).

Christians should be in the vanguard in both micro-environmentalism and macro-environmentalism. It is not a mark of good stewardship to litter, waste, and be indifferent to recycling. Industries should not be allowed to pollute air and water without accountability.

Also to be factored into Christian environmentalism is the wise management of one’s personal resources. Money is not to be wasted. Conservation has always been important in a Christian world and life view. Conserving means economizing and economizing means the best possible use of money and time for the glory of God.

Loving one’s neighbor calls for a commitment to doing all within our power to be good stewards of God’s gift of creation.

The problem is that environmentalism has become a religion to many. Under the cover of the “greening” of life, a new totalitarianism has arisen. In the words of Charles Krauthammer, “Environmentalists, having proclaimed the ultimate commandment — carbon chastity — are preparing the supporting canonical legislation that will tell you how much you can travel, what kind of light you will read by, and at what temperature you may set your thermostat.”

The “Church of Environmentalism” with all its dogmas and its sacramental service to reverse global warming fails to engage our minds with the most serious calamity of all.

There is a coming global disaster. It is already in the making. The creation has been subjected by its Creator to futility, sometimes called the law of entropy. Decay and death are moving our planet and the universe inexorably toward dissolution.

It is waiting for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the new world order He will bring about. One day the curse that now rests upon nature will be removed and its great symphony of sighs will be a thing of the past (Rom. 8:20-21).

Therefore, God has issued a global warning. He is going to shake the earth and the heavens (Heb. 12:26-27; Rev. 6:12-14). The ultimate global warming will take place. God will destroy the heavens and the earth by fire, taking vengeance on those who do not know Him (1 Pet. 3:7; 2 Thess. 1:7-8).

What are we to do? We are to turn from our unbelief and put our trust in the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of sin and eternal life.

One day this earth will be transformed into the paradise for which it was intended. The best is yet to be for those who belong to Jesus Christ.

Dr. Howard E. Dial

Berachah Bible Church

Fayetteville, Ga.

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