Climate Change? Absolutely
I believe, using the word in the more general sense, in climate change, because I believe in God the Creator and Governor of all things. I reject the idea that he has left nature to operate by its own laws and processes. His word teaches us that he personally, actively directs all things according to the counsel of his will. Rain (Job 38:26) and drought (Deut. 11:17), snow (Job 38:22) and wind (Job 38:24), heat and cold (Deut. 33:24), floods and storms (Ps. 83:15; 107:25,29; 148:8), light and darkness (Amos 5:8) are so immediately under his direction that nothing occurs in nature apart from his directing providence. He clothes the flowers and knows the flight and fall of every bird (Matt. 6:30; 10:29-30). He calls the stars by name, and they run their course by his direction (Job 38:31-32).
This is not a bare permission on his part, as if he wound the watch of nature to run by itself and only occasionally intervenes to keep things in good order. Nothing in nature has inherent life or power. God gives life and causes things to grow and change. He is ever-present in his workings in nature, but not as the pantheists think. God is not nature. He called into existence everything that we see. All things move, breathe, and have their existence from him. The ordinances by which God governs nature and its various processes that man can study are all governed and upheld by him every moment, so that if he should withdraw his hand and life, all would immediately return to nothingness.
Because Christians believe in God’s active, personal working in and over nature, they must affirm climate change. This is not the politician’s version or the quack scientist looking for data to support his a priori philosophies or justify his social agendas. Unbelieving man’s fear of climate change is justified, but misplaced. It is not nature that should be feared, as if it were God and had a mind of its own. Nature’s God should be feared. He usually works to bless his creation and feed his creatures, even his enemies, with the necessary cycles of sun and rain, cold and heat, even purifying fires and floods (Matt. 5:45). Yet, he is the righteous Judge. He warns all men, chastens his people, and punishes evildoers with severe weather, sometimes cataclysmic weather.
This does not mean that Las Vegas and Washington D.C. receive all the bad weather. When God sends a tornado to one place, he warns men in all places: “Do not continue to ignore my authority, withhold my praise, and disobey my law. Repent of your sins.” If a tsunami destroys a Pacific Island village or an earthquake destroys San Francisco, all must tremble…and repent. This is the call our Lord Jesus gave to his disciples after a local disaster occurred (Luke 13:1-5). Those upon whom God’s judgment directly falls are not necessarily worse sinners than other men. All should repent.
But most men worship nature, not nature’s God (Rom. 1:23). Supposed adherents of biblical religion also worship creation, not the Creator, when they fear “global warming” or “global cooling,” instead of turning to the Lord in faith and repentance. Of course, temperatures vary. There are cycles, but God’s hand controls the cycles. “Who can stand before his cold” (Ps. 147:17). By altering what we think normal, he takes care of what he has made, warns sinners, and judges his enemies. More serious weather events are his serious warning that a reckoning is coming. The same can be said about pleasant weather and abundant crops. God is blessing and the earth is full of his goodness (Ps. 33:5). Will his goodness lead us to repentance (Rom. 2:4)?
Therefore, when we experience severer storms, seasons out of their usual course, portents in the heavens above and shakings of the earth beneath, fires raging and tsunamis washing away, it is not “Mother Nature,” the rather surprising idol of supposed atheists and materialists. We must worship and fear the God who made all things. This is the truly alarming aspect of our current weather “anomalies.” God’s hand is moving out of the normal course to judge our sins, which at least in this nation, have swamped us like the waves of the seas. We are drowning in perversity, excess, wars, blood, and lies. While this side of our Savior’s coming never knows the finality of Judgement Day, the Lord’s weather is one of the leading indicators of his approval or displeasure of men and nations. Blind as moles we have become to these basic truths, which even the ancient heathen firmly believed. Our science and technology have deceived us. We live in his world and cannot insulate ourselves from his judgments.
The furor about man-made climate change is therefore misguided at best. Given all the Scriptures teach about God’s control of man and of nature, his purposes for the universe shall stand (Ps. 33:11; Prov. 19:21). This is the unassailable foundation that must govern our reading of the “data” and assessment of what man can and cannot do to God’s world. He has certainly ordained and controls man-made disasters such as wars, chemical spills, and nuclear plant meltdowns. By these he rebukes man’s pride and insatiable greed, his disregard for God’s ownership of the world, and his unwillingness to be a careful steward of the earth and its resources. Sometimes, he simply judges our carelessness. Modern men are dangerously presumptuous and lazy, for they think that their computers and processes are infallible safeguards against disaster. When men are particularly evil and refuse to repent, he may obliterate them as he did Sodom and Gomorrah and Pompeii.
The fear, however, that man’s activities are going to bring a cataclysm of such magnitude that life on earth will end is nothing but guilty fear and social manipulation talking. Whenever politicians and scientists predict the “end of the world” unless we stop driving cars, they are motivated purely by political purposes to deceive the ignorant and children to make it easier for them to foster their agendas upon a fearful populace. The supposed “fragility” of our planet by man’s hand is grossly exaggerated. Volcanic eruptions in Krakatoa (535 AD), Tambora (1815), and Indonesia (1883) were far more powerful and devastating than the cumulative effects of thousands of nuclear weapons simultaneously detonated. The 1960 earthquake in Chile was of similar force. They brought widespread darkness and crop failures for months and in some cases years. And yet, God granted eventual recovery. These disasters remind us that God sometimes brings significant and lasting judgment to his earth. Again, we should fear him, not man. His power, not man’s, must be respected.
We seem to be living in the midst of significant weather from God’s hand. His enemies will of course be very afraid. Fallen conscience is seared and scarred, but it still strikes a faint warning bell. The more brazen will turn these events to their own ends. We must not be afraid of man, “whose breath is in his nostrils” (Isa. 2:22). Yes, God shakes the earth. God is rebuking our nation and western nations for their rejection of the reign of his Son. Once they confessed Christ; now they make war against him. God will take care of his church; he will judge the earth in righteousness. Do you want to be protected and at peace in these times? Turn to the Lord. Hide yourself in him. Resolve to walk with him in more careful obedience. Recognize that his purposes are far bigger than our personal peace and comfort. Speak boldly to others that it is not man, but God, whom we should fear. Weep over the sins and rebellion of our land. “When he makes inquisition for blood,” when his judging hand is evident, active, and fearsome, “he does not forget the cry of the humble” (Ps. 9:17).
There is a certain destruction of the universe coming. Volcanoes, floods, fires, and earthquakes are but the warning tremors of the return of Jesus Christ from heaven. His coming is the heavenly portent to which all believing eyes are strained, for which all believing hearts long. And when he comes, this universe will be folded up like an old garment, purified by fire, and replaced with the new heavens and earth, in which righteousness dwells (2 Pet. 3:10-13). This earth will endure until that great day (Gen. 8:22). God has told us it is coming. We must prepare for that great and dreadful day of the Lord through faith and repentance. Until then, expect for God to give warning signs. Expect for men to twist and misinterpret them. His people must “awake to righteousness” (1 Cor. 15:34). When the weather is changing, God is moving and working, judging and confounding his enemies, answering the cries of his people, chastening their sins, and teaching us righteousness. “When his judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” (Isa. 26:9). Let us pray we learn it quickly and bow before heaven’s reigning King. This is the Spirit’s work, and he will be very successful (John 16:9-11)!