So where do you sit in the debate about global warming and climate change? What is the responsibility human beings have in addressing this? The political landscape is intense in taking sides and people take this as an emotional and personal issue. Christians must give consideration to this with a clear eye on Scripture. We must allow the Bible to have a place at the table as we ponder the political and social and scientific debate that rages. If we do that, some general parameters will be set.
The world we live in was created by God.
It is a good world that God created as a setting for human life. Human beings are unique in the world as creations of God made in his very image. God gave dominion over the world to human beings, but it was clear we were to take our cue for how to “dominate” from the nature of the God whose image we bear.
We are to care for this world. By doing so, we are demonstrating love for our fellow man. If any actions we take infringe on the lives of others, we need to be careful. If something I do negatively impacts the environment of someone else, I am to care and consider it deeply. In addition, we know that this world has the fingerprints of God in it so that other people can come to a knowledge of God (Psalm 19; Romans 1:20). One of the saddest things about war is how precious, irreplaceable things are lost. Museums that house precious treasures of history are destroyed and items perish. They can never be replaced. If this world is a museum that houses some of the evidence of the Creator’s work, then damage to the world has the same effect! For us to in any way diminish the fingerprint evidence of God would perhaps jeopardize the ability of others to see Him from it. So there is a social and spiritual responsibility that comes from how we interact with the world. Christians must care deeply about what happens with this world and view the issues with it theologically, not just politically or individualistically. This is my father’s world!
The world we live in heading toward a destiny that God controls and has revealed.
This is a little confusing in the Bible because it is possible to get mixed signals. Romans 8:18-25 suggests that all of creation will share in the redemption that awaits humanity. This passage, along with Colossians 1:20, seems to teach that this world will be redeemed at the same time that humanity is. Others will object, arguing that 2 Peter 3:10-12 proves that the world will be destroyed and replaced by a new heaven and new earth, as described in Revelation 22:1. Yet this language could indicate that the world will be purged and purified of all impact of sin so that it is fully refined into what God intended. The new world is new because the old world is refined.
It may not be true that This World is Not My Home, but it is certainly true that this world as it is right now is not! That is what will happen with the human body as well in the transformation that awaits it. It is my contention that God will redeem this world, which means there is some continuity between the world as we know it and the world as God has in mind for us for eternity. If that is the case, we are doing the work of God by treating the world with the respect God obviously has for it. But even if not, until the time that God makes the new earth, this one is good for what we need and is the setting for human life to learn of God and respond to him. And only God should decide when the end of it should come. So either way, we care deeply about what happens here.
These two truths do not resolve the entire dilemma.
Whether humans contribute to global warming is not answered by these concerns. That remains a human conclusion of science. Regardless of the answer to that, however, our love for our neighbors and our stewardship of God’s provision of the world and our concern for evangelism converge in this issue of how we treat the physical globe. Christians do care about ecology. We do concern ourselves with the environment.
We do have an obligation to track how our actions impact the rest of the world. Whatever your political stance and your scientific evaluation, these truths are absolute for us believers! Take these concerns with you into that debate and make sure your stance reflects the truth of the faith.