Responses to climate change vary from acceptance of what our eyes and science is telling us to incredulity, ridicule and denial. Shrill cries of repudiation come from those most averse to change. The religious who take the name of Christ but whose god is the status quo are appalled at intimations of their dissolving security. The greedy and self-made are astonished at their evaporating misplaced and hoped for comfort. Agnostics are peeved as the icons of their supposed entitlement wane before their very eyes. But that in which they have put their faith and made their substitute god is shaking and will be shaken more.
‘At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain’ Heb 12.26.27 NIV.
In the journal Issues in Science and Technology, Andrew Revkin writes about attitudes to climate change, its implications for the life and death of ourselves and the planet and the difficulty, resistance and obstinacy that is pitted against the emerging revelation of disaster.
“Of course, eliminating a class of synthetic chemicals [like CFC’S] is a relatively simple task .. as was explained to me at one greenhouse-effect meeting. Substitutes for these destructive compounds are already being developed. “There are only thirty-eight companies worldwide that produce CFCs. You can put them all in one room; you can talk to them. But you can’t do that with the producers of carbon dioxide—all the world’s utilities and industries.” Gases such as carbon dioxide and methane are a byproduct of the processes at the heart of modern civilization: industry, transportation, power generation, and agriculture.”
THE CORE ISSUE
Sin involves the folly of seeking life independent of the life of God and calling the result life. Global warming is the result of using up the earth to create well-being. Less charitable views see it as the end result of seeking happiness in materialism and turning ourselves into consumers.
GOOD AND EVIL
Climate change is the result of who and what we are. Industry has had the effect of reducing poverty while at the same time impoverishing the earth. The results of what we have done - the retreat of glaciers, increasing droughts, more violent storms, the rising sea and raging bushfires are part and parcel of the proliferation of carbon resulting from the way we make things - the industrial revolution that began in 1785 and spread around the world with the advance of technology from the haves to the have nots. The suffocation of the earth results from our industry as well as our greed.
It is because these things have come upon us as a result of normal life, of the way we feed ourselves and create wealth; it is because the growing threat of calamity is caused by who and what we are in the course of doing what we do to make a living, that the onset is met with panic and denial. How can it be that normality has turned against us to threaten us with extinction? Well it has. We need to face the fact as the first step in progressing solutions. If you have any familiarity with hoarders you will have learned that you have to throw out the rubbish to make room for the useful.
NOT HOARDING TRASH
Jesus Christ is the Christ of God, the Christ who has been for-ordained to heal human beings and re-create the earth. He is a cosmic Christ. Not just the Jesus of churches and denominations. He is the resurrection of the world. The practice of healing people in Jesus’ name and yet being blasé about an unhealed and increasingly chaotic world needs to be seen as the folly it is.
Once we accept that the elephant in the room is ourselves we can begin to abandon what is useless and does not work and explore the many solutions that are available for a sustainable world. There are ways of multiplying the common good without destroying the earth. To do this we need to be honest, informed, willing to abandon living beyond our means and embrace a love of the earth and its people.
‘And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ--everything in heaven and on earth’ Eph 1.10 NLT.
INNER AND OUTTER RESOURCES
But a love of the earth and its people with a genuine concern for future generations is not something we can drum up in ourselves. It comes entirely from our reception of Jesus as Lord and the adoption of Christ as our life. The solution to an ailing world is less strategies and more a new you, a new us, a new humanity and a new creation. All this is found in the reception of Jesus Christ as Lord. To be aligned with Jesus is to be aligned with life and the well-being of the earth. It is to be at one with the true meaning and purpose of the universe - the core of which is love and working in the knowledge that truth, the purpose of Jesus is to draw all people and things into Himself.
‘For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together’ Col 1.16,17 NIV.
THE UNIVERSAL CHRIST
Christ as the solution to the ailing earth can pose quite a challenge to the Christian who has embraced a prosperity outlook and rationalized his faith in terms of capitalism, consumerism and infinite growth. Jesus as the savior of the world is confronting to the Christian who has imagined that God’s morality is mainly about personal ethics and chiefly sexuality at that. Jesus has a wider view than the appropriateness of Christian women wearing a bikini. This may be surprising to those who think Jesus is mainly about Moses and his commandments as they pertain to individuals and their rights.
But really the truth is that Jesus is life, is about life and the well-being of the earth and all its inhabitants. God loves the world. He is concerned with equality and justice. He has no truck with the abuse of people, the abuse of the means of production, the abuse of animals and the abuse of the environment. He is resurrection, He is life. He is the new creation and the new and living way. Above all He is love. It is meaningless to talk of the Kingdom of God and pose as Kingdom builders while neglecting the truth that Christ our life means Christ is Lord of all that we know as living and being human in a physical and social world.
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ John 3.16 NIV.
END OF ADAM, BEGINNING OF HEAVEN
The Son came to earth to end the chaos Adam started and commence the new and living way of new creation life. He came as that life, as resurrection, regeneration the life and light of the world. Some received Him. Vested interests denied Him. They rejected life itself when He came among them. They chose their own pet ideas, their own theology their own world view, their own life and interests over His and put Him to death. They put life to death but inadvertently multiplied it because life re-emerged in His person at His resurrection.
On the road to Damascus Jesus showed Paul that he had been chaining and murdering Him and snuffing out the life that God had deposited in the followers of Jesus. There is more than a passing similarity to the above rejection of life in climate change deniers, in conservatives who cling to what they know, to what they think is theirs, to the ways that will result in chaos and possible extinction. But they deny solutions and strategies that could solve the problem and advance life in the present and for future generations. This brings a new perspective on crucifying the son of God anew. It should bring a new recognition of sin and present an opportunity to repent.
I wonder if it has occurred to many that the end of the world comes about not because God did it to wicked people but because non-believing life-denying people did it to themselves? The overall chaotic effect of denying Jesus as Lord is often misapplied the wrath of God. It is really the folly and rebellion of man come to fruition.
Blindness in regard to the coming catastrophe results from a refusal to see that the elephant in the room is us, which in turns denies us the opportunity to find constructive life-multiplying solutions to the problem. Similarly in the church and the culture of Christianity we can deny that there is a problem, we can say we are alive when we are dead, we can put our faith in institutionalism and the false christ of the church. We can deny that the elephant in the room is ourselves and our addiction to idols, pseudo-christs, false christs and Christ’s stuff rather than His person. Then again we can allow Jesus to touch our eyes with eye ointment so that we can see.
‘The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small-- and for destroying those who destroy the earth’ Rev 11.18 KJV.