Climate change is a big deal these days. People argue about its validity, some insisting it should be a top priority while others claim it’s nonsense. As so many of the social issues of the day are doing, it is even dividing the church. So what is an appropriate Biblical view?
We certainly cannot deny that God made the earth. He made it, and he called it “good”. (Genesis 1). But apparently the earth in itself, and even all of the animals, weren’t enough. God decided to make human beings. And when he did, he blessed them and told them: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” – Genesis 1:28 (Interestingly, one of the claims of some concerned with the climate change problem is that the earth is over populated. God didn’t appear to put a cap on the number if people when he said “fill the earth”.)
It is also important to note that the downfall of earth is not a new thing. It began with the fall of man. (Genesis 3:17). When God decided to destroy the earth the first time, he did so because it had been corrupted by the evilness in mankind’s hearts. God didn’t appear to be concerned about how they were or were not caring for the earth, but rather by their violence towards one another. (Genesis 6:12-13) And Jesus’ message was clearly about loving and obeying God; loving one another; and spreading the message of salvation through him alone.
The plan for this physical earth culminates in its destruction. (Zephaniah 1:2). God has an eternal home prepared for those that put their trust in him. So it would seem to me that as Christians, we should be far more worried about the souls of people than the physical state of the earth.
Consider this analogy. I have provided a home for my children. It’s not just somewhere for them to live, but hopefully also somewhere for them to enjoy life. Do I expect them to keep it clean and to care for it? Of course! But that has more to do with having a home we can all enjoy than it does with the actual building itself. Now what if our house was on fire, doomed to be destroyed? Would I be frantically telling my kids to get buckets of water to save the building? No! I would be screaming as loud as I could to them – “Save yourself!” I would be telling them clearly which exit to use. And once we were safely out of the house, I would be thanking God that even though the house is gone – we are still alive!
Our message – first and foremost – needs to be the gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to be telling people how to get out of the burning house instead of giving them buckets of water in a futile attempt to save it when it’s bound for destruction. Instead of creating summits to battle the destruction of the physical earth, we need to be creating churches that battle the destruction of human souls.