Climate Change: A Biblical Perspective

A brief biblical perspective on climate change.

A naturalistic worldview dominates public policy on climate change in California and elsewhere. Naturalism posits that the universe evolved through random physical processes. This entails that our earth is extremely fragile, and that man, who is often viewed as a clumsy Johnny-come-lately, could completely destroy it…A biblical worldview posits that God is the creator, sustainer, and ruler of all things, including the weather. It posits that man is his vice-regent on earth, appointed to work, develop, and care for the home he gave us.

 

Author’s Note: Not a week goes by that I don’t read one or two letters to the editor of our local newspaper decrying the supposed effects of man-made climate change. The fear is palpable, and the misinformation egregious. So, in hopes of shedding a little light and warmth into people’s hearts, I decided to submit this short essay on the subject. Since our community is quite progressive, I felt it wise not to include too many biblical citations. I did, however, very much want to introduce folks to the biblical worldview, and to show how in the face of so much climate alarmism and doomsaying it has great power to calm our fears and fill us with hope.

My subject is global, but for Press Democrat [Santa Rosa, CA] readers it will strike close to home. In biblical perspective, I would like to address climate change.

Presently, a naturalistic worldview dominates public policy on climate change in California and elsewhere. Naturalism posits that the universe evolved through random physical processes. This entails that our earth is extremely fragile, and that man, who is often viewed as a clumsy Johnny-come-lately, could completely destroy it if he’s not careful. Therefore an observed trend towards global warming, possibly caused by us humans, generates existential alarm both in naturalistic scientists and the people who listen to them.

The biblical worldview (BWV) posits that God is the creator, sustainer, and ruler of all things, including the weather. It posits that man is his vice-regent on earth, appointed to work, develop, and care for the home he gave us. Because of man’s fall into sin, God has temporarily burdened his originally perfect creation with various natural evils such as extremes of heat and cold, drought, storm, quake, etc. Ultimately, these “severe mercies” are designed to bring the wanderers back to him.

Sinful man can and does damage his environment, but the Bible assures us he can never destroy the earth. That prerogative is reserved for God alone, who has explicitly said he will preserve the earth in its customary cycles until the return of Christ (Genesis 8:22). Only then will he destroy it, after which he will create new heavens and a new earth, the eternal home of the redeemed (2 Peter 3). Knowing all this, conscientious Christian citizens are concerned about environmental abuse, but also confident that we can never “destroy the planet.”

With these thoughts in mind, let’s look at climate change in biblical perspective.

Christians acknowledge that for the last 150 years there has been a modest warming trend, together with periodic melting of portions of the polar ice caps. They point out, however, that within this time frame, and also throughout prior centuries, there have always been climatic fluctuations. Following the Medieval Warm Period there came the Little Ice Age. Back in the 1970’s a brief cooling trend engendered fears of a new Ice Age. Last winter a Polar Vortex clobbered the mid-west with record cold. The BWV predicts such changes. They are normal for a world under divine discipline. We will always have good and bad weather; we should try to hear what God is telling us in both.

Note:

  1. Material for this essay was taken from the little book Global Warming: A Scientific and Biblical Expose’ of Climate Change, published by Answers in Genesis (2016). For helpful information on the scientific, economic, and political aspects of this issue, please visit the website of The Heartland Institute, available here.

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