Does the Bible Address Climate Change?
- Dr. Roger Barrier Preach It, Teach It
- 2019 8 Oct
Does the Bible address climate change? What does it say about taking care of the planet?
Among several environmental and sociological causes, climate change involves the man-made introduction of green-house emission gases (mostly carbon dioxide) into our atmosphere. These gases are rapidly raising global temperatures. Once initiated, the process really can't be stopped. The damage done can't be undone.
From studying the data and comparing it with present rates, and recognizing humankind's difficulty in halting all carbon emissions, temperatures may continue to rise unimpeded with devastating results.
Imagine that you are out in space looking back at the circle of the earth. The breathable height level of our atmosphere is 2.6 miles thick. You think to yourself, "That's not much air." You're right. Our atmosphere is quite thin. Proportionally, our earth doesn't have much air. We are fast replacing oxygen and nitrogen with global-warming carbon dioxide.
Earth May Become Like Venus
I'll tell you what I think is eventually going to happen to earth. We will be Venus. I reached this conclusion when the first Venus probes melted as they penetrated Venus' atmosphere and arced for a landing several decades ago.
Before destruction, the Landers measured Venus' atmosphere at 840 degrees Fahrenheit. The atmosphere of Venus hovers around 100% Carbon Dioxide. It is uninhabitable. We are following in Venus' footsteps. This should not surprise us. Second Peter 3:7-10 reminds us that the end of the world will be by fiery destruction.
The Bible declares that God made Earth as a perfect creation. He delegated to men and women the responsibility of caring for it.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind...so that they may rule over the fish...and the birds...the livestock...and the wild animals..." God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful, fill the earth and subdue it" (Genesis 1:26-28).
Unfortunately, humankind is not doing a very good job. Of course, what can we expect when the entire Creation was ruined at the Fall of Adam and Eve into sin.
The Lord Will One Day Redeem His Creation
One day the Lord will redeem His creation; but, until then, the Creation is groaning in pain (Romans 8:19-22). Humankind is in the process of doubling the "pain."
The temperature of our world has been approximately constant for the past 60 million years. Occasionally a cooling (Ice Age) period will occur caused by fluctuations of earth's orbit or by slight variations in the energy outputs of the sun.
Now, for the first time in history the global temperature is no longer constant. It is steadily increasing. The global warming phenomena can be traced to the 1880s and the initiation of the Industrial Age.
Humans Are Causing Global Warming
Human-caused temperature increase is already having a global effect. Heat waves, floods, and destructive forest fires are having effects. Tornados are occurring in mountainous regions where they never could have developed in the past. Droughts are occurring in places never before afflicted and they are longer and more widespread.
Warming oceans drive changing weather patterns, including more severe and frequent hurricane activity. Higher temperatures put more energy into storms which sharply increases their intensity and destructiveness.
Melting ice is decimating both polar regions resulting in loss of habitat for polar animals with the result of a thinning out of the ranks. The release of massive amounts of fresh water results in higher sea levels and increased flooding in coastal regions.
Many animal species (elephants, birds, and butterflies for example) are becoming extinct as temperatures increase, mostly through the loss of habitat.
Revelation Details the Destruction
The next time you read the Book of Revelation, notice carefully the destruction of the earth:
The opening of the Seven Seals portend man's destruction upon man.
The Seven Trumpets describe Satan's destruction of both man and earth.
The Seven Bowls reveal God's Wrath on man and earth.
We find that during the last days of Revelation, rivers, atmosphere, vegetation, animals, sea creatures and humans are destroyed by the millions. Thousands of square miles of earth are covered with nuclear radiation. Many years pass before these areas are again habitable.
It is no wonder that God will have to make a new earth and start over (Revelation 20).
We Can Care and Recycle, But We Must Also Repent
To be the best stewards of the earth we can, we must make our homes more green. I applaud endeavors to be more energy-efficient. Programs like "Reduce, Reuse and Recycle" are absolutely essential. Hybrid gas/electric cars will be a great help in reducing emissions, along with every other measure to protect our natural resources. Using water wisely is laudable.
Unfortunately, there is one problem with all of these endeavors. The basic nature of man is to be greedy and selfish. If our hearts change, we will become wise and responsible. Let's do what we can while we can!
God clearly speaks about our response to caring for His creation by prayer and repentance:
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place." (2 Chronicles 7:13-15)
Dr. Russell Moore states: "The earth is longing for something, the apostle Paul tells us, longing for a Man, the Lord Jesus, who unseats the dragon despot of this present darkness. The earth is groaning for us, “for the revealing of the sons of God” (Rom 8:19). That’s why gospel proclamation is the most farsighted form of environmental activism. The earth is delivered when her rulers are raised from the death curse, when all things once again are under their feet, in Christ."
Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Roger will respond in as timely a manner as possible. Due to the large volume of questions, patience is requested. When questions involve mental health issues, no part of any response to an “Ask Roger” question should be interpreted as a substitute for seeking professional counseling from a licensed mental health professional. Email him your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.
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