Having backed off from further comment on the tired old subject of Climate Change some time ago, perhaps in the hope that it would eventually blow away with the wind, I feel obliged to make a return foray now that the issue is back at the top of the media’s agenda.
Nearly 200 nations are represented at a leaders’ summit being held in Paris, where the real threat to our way of life showed its ugly teeth so recently through the massacre of 130 people by terrorists on a mission to enslave the world to Islam.
Yet there are those – including Christians – who have suggested that what used to be described as ‘global warming’ is the greatest threat of all, with politicians and others engaged in their own form of gospel crusade urging us to help ‘save the planet’.
Among these ‘evangelists’ is Britain’s former Opposition Leader and one-time Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Miliband – an MP from my home town, Doncaster – who will shortly be presenting a call for action to a Christian congregation in his constituency.
Relief agencies Christian Aid and CAFOD (the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) are among many faith-based organizations who have bought this thoroughly secular idea lock, stock and empty barrel. The message is even being put out by an evangelical theatrical group touring the country with a play called Baked Alaska.
CAFOD says it is the world’s poorest who are being hardest hit by increasing droughts, floods and extreme weather which it blames squarely on ‘climate change’, which I guess you’ve noticed has largely replaced ‘global warming’ in common use following a series of unusually cold winters.
So the theory is now being generally accepted that somehow it is man, and his pollution, that is entirely responsible for this – assuming that the earth is heating up – and that catastrophe awaits unless we do something about reducing our carbon emissions.
Yes, scientists have put this theory forward, but there are equally eminent scientists who disagree with it – only they don’t get much media coverage.
At the heart of the campaign to convince us of the need for it being top priority is the humanistic idea that everything depends on us because, with this thinking, God did not create the world. And if we want to save the planet, we must do everything we can to spread the ‘gospel’ of climate change – and the need for humans to do what God is apparently incapable of doing. The fact that some Christians have also bought into the idea is seen to add weight to their arguments – until the microscope of biblical wisdom and common sense is applied.
Both Anglican and Catholic leaders have been particularly outspoken on climate change and Pope Francis even released an encyclical – the highest level of teaching a pontiff can issue – specifically on the environment earlier this year.
But surely, as Christians, we should rather be asking the question: what does the Bible say?
Well, God says that “the earth will wear out like a garment” (Isaiah 51.6) “but my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail.” So what is more important: a green campaign or getting right with God?
I believe ‘climate change’ is not only a gigantic hoax, but a massive distraction from the real problems facing our world – like mass migration, worldwide terrorism, the precarious state of our financial system and even the potential for World War III breaking out in the Middle East.
A green campaign will only add to the stress of hardworking people faced with the prospect of paying yet more tax to fund efforts by government to reduce carbon emissions.
But there is a God upon whom we can depend and in whom we can trust for our lives and our future energy needs. We need to resurrect the refrain “He’s got the whole world in his hands”. The Book of Proverbs says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him; and he will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3.5f)
Trusting in God is not an abrogation of personal responsibility, but provides you with the ability to act with true wisdom. As the Bible also says (on several occasions), “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 1.7)
This doesn’t mean the Bible has nothing to say about climate change. It does. But it is more a sign of the need for us to get our lives right – because the Judge of all mankind is coming – than it is for us to protest about the carbon-fuelled sins of others!
For it was when Jesus was asked about the signs that would indicate his imminent return that our Lord replied: “There will be earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.”
And he added: “…There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21.11 & 25-28)
When I wrote on this subject in similar vein six-and-a-half years ago, one reader commented: “There was so much more pollution than there is now when I did my nursing training in London 50 years ago. I went out in the fog one evening with a ladder in my stocking and, when I took it off, there was a black line down my leg where the soot had got through the ladder!”
Another wrote: “I wish global warming would hurry up. We are freezing in this part of the world. It’s the coldest winter we’ve had for a long time. The weather forecasters can’t always get it right a week ahead, so how can they be so sure of correct forecasts twenty years into the future?”
Clearly we should be looking to God at this time, and not to man’s inadequate solutions served up on a humanistic plate totally lacking in adequate spiritual nourishment.