There has been much ado in recent weeks about the UN climate convention which took place in Copenhagen, Denmark. High level discussions lasted long into the night in order to come up with an agreement to cut the level of CO2 emissions across the world.
Some countries were all for an agreement; others were seeking to safeguard their own interests. They ultimately failed to negotiate a legally binding agreement.
It is an established fact that there has been a measured 20% increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration levels from 1958 to 2007. They have risen from 315 to 380 ppm [parts per million].
What should a Christian's view be of climate change and global warming? Is the rise in CO2 concentration levels a development to be worried and concerned about? What saith the Scriptures on this matter? Consider:
Our Creator has given His chief creation this responsibility, Gen 1:28-30; Gen 2:15. Man was commanded to subdue and have dominion over the earth. He is first to engage in a study of the earth with all its intricate processes and complex systems and then he is to utilise that knowledge for the benefit of the earth's inhabitants both animal and human. Here is the very basis for science and technology, research and development, theory and application, study and practice.
Man even in his state of innocency was a creature of work. God has no time for idleness. Part of man’s work was to look after his environment. The word 'keep' means 'to guard' or 'to be a watchman' upon a city wall. The same word is used in Ps 127:1 & Isa 21:11. This watchfulness is not so much a protecting of the earth from external enemies but the exercising of a careful and loving stewardship over it. Adam was to keep his environment beautiful and orderly, with every component in its place and in harmonious relationship with the whole.
Man is therefore commanded not to exploit his environment, rather he is to keep it.
The onus to do so became even greater after the Fall into sin and the curse of sin coming upon the whole physical world, Gen 3:17-19. The need to exercise stewardship has not lessened but increased with the Fall. The earth is marred by sin and now with the sweat of his brow man will exercise his stewardship of the earth.
A Christian should therefore always be conscious of the need to take care of the earth and is not a recent convert to the idea of preserving the earth’s resources or protecting its climate.
The concept of living off the earth is one ordained by God. For example, the concept of growing crops for food, raising animals and eating their meat is one which came directly from the God of heaven after the Flood, Gen 8:21-9:4. There are also other resources, such as fossil fuels, which are for man's use.
However, the earth and its resources are not going to last for ever. The earth is a finite resource and its duration is limited by the Lord. The world is hastening towards its close. Because the earth's resources are limited they are going to eventually run out.
This is what troubles environmentalists, NGOs and governments. Yet to a Christian it is an undisputed reality.
The earth’s limited resources ought to teach us all that neither we, nor the earth we live in, are here for ever. Moses in his prayer in Psalm 90, after having dwelt upon the earth’s and our own mortality, calls upon us to number our days and to apply our hearts unto wisdom, Ps 90:12.
Sadly, the present clamour over climate change, etc. does not make men and women do this. They give no thought for the hereafter.
While man certainly does do damage to the physical world the extent of the present global warming is very much over-hyped. While those who completely dismiss climate change and global warming are wrong, those who speak about it in cataclysmic terms are equally misguided.
They do not have a good record. There have been a host of ‘issues’ hyped up in the past and none has transpired. Not all that long ago there was great concern over ‘desertification’. Yet you hardly ever hear today of expanding deserts in Africa. A global ice age was also predicted back in the 1970s, now it's the opposite.
Scientists have discovered that many of these things go in natural cycles. That may well be the case with global warming. One thing is sure - the earth will continue as long as God intends it to.
It is extremely ironic that evolutionists are following a Creationist model in being careful about the world’s climate and resources. It highlights the inherent contradiction within much of the global warming lobby. Evolutionists believe that the world has evolved over billions of years and that we are all the product of chance, mutations, natural selection and survival of the fittest.
If this is so then why do they not trust what they believe and say that the world will continue to mutate, survive, adapt, evolve and the fittest will continue to survive?
Supposedly unknown and unobservable processes have brought the world to where it is today. If the earth has supposedly survived for these billions of years as claimed then why do they not trust their beliefs that it will continue to do so?
By their words and by their actions they are casting doubt on their own thesis.
Instead what we get is something along a creationist model where they are calling upon everyone to take care of and preserve the earth and its resources. There is a considerable degree of irony in it all.
Man in his heart knows the truth that God is the Creator and that He has given man a responsibility to look after the earth and unawares to him he is acknowledging this reality.
Gatherings like the one witnessed in Copenhagen illustrate the teaching of the Word of God that the Truth is written upon all our consciences, Rom 2:14,15 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another).
This truth may be corrupted by the Fall but it is still there to some degree nevertheless. Men and women may seek to strenuously deny this truth, however, their denial does not negate its reality.
Climate change is often built upon a distortion of the facts. Former vice-president Al Gore’s film 'An Inconvenient Truth' has been found in a court of law to contain at least eleven material falsehoods. These falsehoods relate to claims:
1. That the snows melting on Mount Kilimanjaro was evidence of global warming;
2. That evidence from ice cores proves that rising CO2 causes temperature increases over 650,000 years;
3. That Hurricane Katrina had been caused by global warming;
4. That the drying up of Lake Chad in Africa was caused by global warming;
5. That a study showed that polar bears had drowned due to disappearing Arctic ice;
6. That global warming could stop the Gulf Stream throwing Europe into an ice age;
7. Blaming global warming for species losses including coral reef bleaching;
8. That the Greenland ice covering could melt causing sea levels to rise dangerously;
9. That the Antarctic ice covering is melting;
10. That sea levels could rise by seven metres causing the displacement of millions of people;
11. That rising sea levels have already caused the evacuation of the inhabitants of certain Pacific islands to New Zealand.
The recent exposure of emails from the East Anglia's Climate Research Unit has shown individuals massaging the figures to establish climate change and global warming.
Temperature and climate fluctuations have been known in the past. Four hundred years ago and again as recently as Victorian times, the river Thames in London was frozen over. Evidently, winters were much colder than London presently experiences.
The Normans’ Domesday survey of 1086 listed no less than thirty-eight vineyards in England, with Ely marking the most northerly spot, seventy miles northeast of London. It was evidently a much warmer climate back then than presently exists.
Higher CO2 level may not lead to the problems imagined. From the levels of CO2 detected in rocks, etc. today there was a time [mostly likely prior to the Flood] when these levels were considerably higher than they are today.
It was not these levels of CO2 that brought the Flood but man's own sin!
God’s future judgment of the earth and its ungodly inhabitants is going to be of this nature, Rev 16:8,9 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. These events will take place prior to Christ's second coming.
Preparation for the new heavens and the new earth will see events of this nature, 2 Peter 3:10-13 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. This dissolving of the elements will take place many years after those which mark Christ's second return.
May we all give heed to these future events. May we be wise in the light of eternal realities, O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end! Deuteronomy 32:29.
Some further reading on the subject:
Global warming - a creationist's view
Global warming - facts & myths
The great global warming swindle