Cries of alarm go out about the future of Earth, along with accusations that people are destroying it and must take immediate, drastic measures or else face ruin. It used to be conventional “wisdom” was that the climate was cooling, then it came to be thought the climate was warming. Now, it seems enough for proponents of doom to simply say the climate is changing, and, whichever the direction, it is our fault. “Man-made climate change” has become a sacred tenet of political and cultural “progressives” that is used to scare, intimidate, tax, regulate, and even obliterate certain freedoms to grow government in the name of saving us all. If the thermometer goes down, they say they were right. If the temperature goes up, they say they were right. Proponents of man-made climate change have crafted a belief that ends up “proven” by whatever happens. Win-win for them. Treating their view as impossible to falsify, and adhering to it with religious fervor, they become bolder by the day. To be a “denier” is to be held a fool, akin to believing the earth is flat, and to invite the scorn and retribution of those who, with few facts from the past, think they already know the future.
Much that we hear is untrue. Much that is called “science” is not. Data can be manipulated, statistics skewed, studies misrepresented or misconducted, outright lies told. For that matter, we don’t even have records for most of history. What we have are some shrill voices in an increasingly secular culture forecasting their vision of the future—a vision devoid of any Bible knowledge—and they demand the entire world listen, bow to their warning, and pay whatever cost to conform.
What should Christians think about the climate? For purposes of this piece, we are not interested in studies and statistics (which are available, and used both to support and deny man-made climate change). Our interest is in God’s word. Where do the Scriptures weigh in? The Bible does not contain the words “climate,” or “environment,” or “global warming.” The word “weather” is found once. There are many biblical references to specific weather events, such as rain, floods, storms, lightning, hail, heat, cold, snow, ice. However much can be said, here are six things that cannot be omitted from any accurate understanding of our world.
First, God created the earth (Gen. 1:1). He made the sun and put us the perfect distance from it to sustain life on this planet. He made the earth’s annual orbit and daily rotation for days, seasons, years. Any climate theory that begins without God is handicapped from the start.
Second, God surveyed his creation and “it was very good” (Gen. 1:31). After God cursed the ground in the wake of Adam’s sin (Gen. 3:17-19), man would have to engage in agriculture while battling thorn and thistle, but that difficulty in farming does not imply delicacy of the planet. And, since the curse came while the first people were still alive, that means God intended the whole human race live in a post-curse climate.
Third, God is omniscient, “declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose’” (Isa. 46:10, ESV). Before the beginning, God knew what natural resources would be needed to sustain humanity until Christ’s return. Is it reasonable to think that God made the world, that it was very good, that he put people in it, but then shortchanged us on the food, or water, or fuel, or space that we would need? Of course not. Jesus indicated that, when he comes back, things will be going on just as they were in Noah’s day before the Flood broke and “swept them all away” (Matt. 24:38-39). What will get mankind in the end is not nuclear winter, global warming, or some pandemic disease. Rather, it will be the return of Christ. To suggest man has the power to destroy Earth is an implicit attack on the omniscience and omnipotence of God.
Fourth, God told humanity, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen. 1:28). Man was to go out and conquer the planet—not serve it. He was to gain mastery over animals—not simply co-exist with them. Nowhere did God say to Adam (or anyone else) that we should be concerned with overpopulation. Nowhere did God say that people are the planet’s problem. Many today think it our duty to make sure parents don’t have too many children. They think we should live in fear of affecting the environment in which we live. If we venture into the woods, we should try not to leave a footprint, not to break a twig, not to pluck a flower, not to do anything that would “harm” nature. Every variety of species, no matter how insignificant or unhelpful, must be jealously protected, no matter the cost or how detrimental it is to the human population. It is as though people are an unnatural, unwanted, poisonous presence on Earth. That is not what God said. This is my Father’s world, and He does not care if I touch it!
Fifth, God makes the weather. That is not to say every storm or drought is intentionally inflicted by God on someone, but it is to say He is in charge of it to do as he pleases, as with the rest of the cosmos. Jesus said that God “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45). Notice the sun is “His sun.” He made it. He controls it. He never told us to live in fear of it. Numerous verses affirm divine control of weather (e.g. Psa. 65:9-10, etc.). If the climate is in God’s hands, it is absurd to think government regulation and education can put us in the driver’s seat to steer it where we will.
Sixth, God made a promise. When the waters subsided, and Noah came off the ark, God made a statement still in effect: “While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease” (Gen. 8:22). He did not say we would have cold and heat, and summer and winter as long as we listen to Al Gore, or as long as we sign the Kyoto Accord or the Paris Agreement, or as long as we drive smaller cars, or as long as we cut emissions, or as long as we reduce greenhouse gases, or as long as we recycle, or as long as we curb drilling for oil, etc. God said there would be definite seasons with wide temperature fluctuations as long as “the earth remains.” And He is in charge of that.
In conclusion, man-made climate change theory is fueled by a godless worldview. Doubtless, many have bought into it because of indoctrination, peer pressure, constant conditioning, or ignorance, and not because they had an anti-Christian bias. Nevertheless, man-made climate change is a theory propelled by a godless worldview. That is the only way the view can work. Because, if you believe God created and is in control, and you trust God’s promise on the subject, what is there to be afraid of when it comes to the climate? Fear kicks in when God is kicked out. Man without God is a scary proposition. Man puts himself in God’s place and then concludes he is the root of planetary destruction, working himself into a frenzy of fright, seeking at the eleventh hour to manage what he cannot possibly control: Earth’s climate.
Our view of the climate should be tempered by our knowledge of what God wrote about it. We should not be wantonly wasteful, intentionally polluting or needlessly contaminating. But we should remember man is the apex of creation week, made in God’s own image (Gen. 1:27). Earth is about us—not animals, plants, oceans, ice caps, or the ozone layer. Rather than climate change, our focus should be on character change. The only thing that can accomplish that is the gospel of Christ. If not, judgment is coming.
“But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly” (2 Pet. 3:7).
In the end, clean is better than green.