Thinking Climate Change

On November 22nd 2018 the US was experiencing a major cold snap. Donald Trump signed off one of his many tweets with the sarcastic retort, ‘whatever happened to Global Warming?’

Just eleven months later, in over 60 cities around the world, thousands of people from all walks of life gathered in protest seeking to raise the profile of the issues of climate change and campaign for action.

Whether you are a believer or a doubter, there can be no denying that climate change is one of the live issues of our day. Today many are raising concerns of the future and issuing a call to change how we live and function. They are urging us to act in ways that lessen our impact on the planet and preserve it for the generations to come.

Over the last few months I’ve been thinking through how I should respond to this as a Christian. As I’ve looked at the Bible, I’ve found the following four principles that have been helpful.

The Bible teaches that the world does not belong to us. It was made by God and we were put here to look after it. We are not free to treat the world as we want, but to manage it well. For me, that means I shouldn’t be uncaring about the state of the world.

Central in the Bible is the command to love; love God and love others. To love someone is to desire and work for their good. It seems to me that the biggest barrier to positive change is the cost that it will bring, whether economic or to our lifestyle. If my focus is on the good of others, then I should be willing to pay that cost.

What’s the problem with the world? The Bible tells me that the answer to that question is always human sin – our disobedience to God. Now, I accept that’s not the most popular of the Bible’s teachings. It’s not nice to be told that we are the problem in the world. Yet, if it’s true, fixing climate change fixes a symptom, not the problem itself.

Lastly, the Bible teaches that this world will not last forever. We’re told about the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus and it ends with a promise that Jesus will return one day. On that day the world, as we know it, will end. If it’s true, think of the implications. The state of our planet is definitely important, but should it be our first priority. As Jesus said, ‘what good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?’

As a Christian, these principles help me to respond in what I think is a balanced and helpful way. Do you agree or disagree?

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