Beckett: What Should Christians Think on Climate Change?

Lately, it seems as if there’s a Cold War between liberals and conservatives. On the one hand, liberals claim the earth’s global climate is changing so drastically that if we don’t do something about it, it’s going to wipe out all life on earth and mankind is to blame because how we treat the earth is an unforgivable sin. (They also can’t seem to make up their minds if it’s global warming or global cooling.) On the other hand, conservatives interpret the data differently and either claim climate change is a myth or challenge liberals with the question, “Why does climate change have to be a bad thing,” whilst giving other data showing the benefits for farmers’ products.

This isn’t going to be one of those articles that analyzes both sides of the argument and comes to an “objective” conclusion at the end. I’m not going to tell you what I think either (and yes, I do have an opinion). And I’m also not going to tell you what you should think on climate change—whether it’s myth or real. No one should tell you what you should think. If your pastor preaches from the pulpit what you should think, it’s an abuse of the pastoral office. “But Ricky,” you might say, “the title says, ‘What Should Christians Think on Climate Change?'” Yes, it does, but you assumed I was going to give a political or scientific stance on it. I’m not a politician; I hate politics because all they’re good for is breeding quarrels and causing division. I could list my political platitudes like all the other bloggers do and risk losing liberal followers (I’ll probably end up losing followers anyway after publishing this piece). I’m not a scientist; I would make a crummy scientist because I’m not good at science. I’m not going to pretend I have some scientific authority by listing all the scientific “evidence” for and against climate change; it would be a disservice to you and give me no credibility because neither do I hold a degree in a scientific field nor would I actually fathom any of the research. I am, however, a theologian, and I am going to be pastor. So, as a Christian, this is what you should think on climate change:

Creation is in the hands of the Creator. Why have we forgotten this? Oh yeah, we’re sinners, so we always want to take control of everything, even our salvation! The Lord God said, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22). He said these words after the waters of the Great Flood subsided. The daily, hourly, minute-by-minute functions of the earth are not going to cease so long as God is taking care of it. We are stewards of the earth and we should exercise our right stewardship in taking care of the earth, but creation is ultimately in the hands of the Creator. It is also true that Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). As Christians, we have to face the reality that this earth and Heaven are going to pass away, but also recreated into something new. In John’s Apocalypse, God said, “Behold, I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:5). This earth isn’t going to last forever, but it will last as long as God deems necessary until He decides Jesus’ second return and creates all things new.

Whether climate change is myth or real, should you be worried? If you’re a baptised Christian, no. The book of Revelation is often viewed as the scariest book in the Bible, but it’s only scary if you’re an unbeliever. If you’re not in Christ, Revelation serves as the Law that crushes you in order to lead you to repentance and dependence on the Word of God in Christ Jesus. If you are in Christ, Revelation is Gospel and serves as our hope to look forward to the return of our Lord to destroy our enemies and the enemy, Satan, and bring us to our true home: the new earth and the new Heaven.

Could climate change be the means by which God makes the earth pass away in order to create the new earth? I don’t know. And I think it’s foolish and presumptuous to say it is or isn’t because now you’re venturing into the territory of Deus absconditus—the hidden God—that is, stuff God has not revealed about Himself and does not want us to know. So, leave it alone. Stop worrying about it. Preach the revealed God, which is that His Son Jesus Christ announced and established the reign of God the Creator over His creation, which was inaugurated in Jesus’ casting out demons, healing the sick, raising the dead, and forgiving sins; and He was killed for this whose blood covers the guilt of our sins. Believe this, and there is no reason to fear, for although we do die in this life, our souls and bodies are in the care of our Creator who will raise us into the new life that is to come.

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