Editor’s Note: Pastor Roger Barrier’s “Ask Roger” column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does the Bible address global warming? What does it say about taking care of the planet?
As you know, global warming is the man-made introduction of green-house emission gases (mostly carbon dioxide) into our atmosphere. These gases are raising global temperatures at rapidly increasing levels. Once initiated, the process really can’t be stopped. The damage can’t be undone. From studying the data and comparing it with present rates, coupled with mankind’s difficulty in halting all carbon emissions, temperatures will continue to rise unimpeded with devastating results.
Imagine that you are out in space looking back at the circle of the earth. The breathable height level of our atmosphere is 2.6 miles thick. You think to yourself, “That’s not much air.” You’re right. Our atmosphere is quite thin. Proportionally, our earth doesn’t have much air. We are fast replacing oxygen and nitrogen with globally-warming carbon dioxide.
I’ll tell you what is eventually going to happen to earth: we will be Venus. I reached this conclusion when the first Venus probes melted as they penetrated Venus’ atmosphere and arced for a landing several decades ago. Before destruction, the Landers measured Venus’ atmosphere at 840 degrees Fahrenheit. The atmosphere of Venus hovers around 100% carbon dioxide. It is uninhabitable. We are following in Venus’ footsteps. This should not surprise us. Second Peter 3:7-10 reminds us that the end of the world will be by fiery destruction.
The Bible declares that God made a perfect creation. He delegated to men and women the responsibility of caring for it.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind… so that they may rule over the fish… and the birds… the livestock… and the wild animals…” God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful, fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:26-28).
Unfortunately, mankind is not doing a very good job. Of course, what can we expect when the entire creation was ruined at the Fall of Adam and Eve into sin. One day the Lord will redeem His creation; but, until then, the creation is groaning in pain (Romans 8:19-22). Humankind is in the process of doubling the “pain.”
The temperature of our world has been quite constant for the past 60 million years. Occasionally a cooling (ice age) will occur caused by fluctuations of earth’s orbit or by slight variations in the energy outputs of the sun. Now, for the first time in history the global temperature is no longer constant. It is steadily increasing. The Global warming phenomena can be traced to the 1880s and the initiation of the Industrial Age.
Man-caused temperature increase is already having a global effect. Heat waves, floods, and destructive forest fires are having their effects. Droughts are occurring in places never before afflicted and the droughts are longer and more widespread.
Warming oceans drive changing weather patterns.
Higher temperatures put more energy into storms which sharply increases their intensity and destructiveness.
Melting ice is decimating both polar regions resulting in loss of habit for polar animals with the result of a thinning out of the ranks. The release of massive amounts of fresh water results in higher sea levels and increased flooding in coastal regions.
Glaciers world-wide are melting and shrinking.
Many animal species are becoming extinct as temperatures increase. Mostly through the loss of habitat, animals from elephant to birds to butterflies are dying out.
The next time you read the book of Revelation notice carefully the destruction of the earth. The opening of the Seven Seals portend man’s destruction upon man. The Seven Trumpets describe Satan’s destruction of both man and earth. The Seven Bowls reveal God’s wrath on man and earth. We find that during the last days of Revelation, rivers, atmosphere, vegetation, animals, sea creatures and humans are destroyed by the millions. Thousands of square miles of earth are covered with nuclear radiation. Many years pass before these areas are again habitable.
It is no wonder that God will have to make a new earth and start over (Revelation 20).
I am all for making our houses greener. I applaud our American endeavors to be more energy efficient. Programs like “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” are inspirational. Hybrid gas/electric cars will be a great help in reducing emissions. Using water wisely is laudable.
Unfortunately, there is one problem with all of these endeavors. Recycling a plastic grocery bag is rather insignificant while China and Russia fill the sky with billions of tons of green-house gasses every day. Multinational conferences and promises to curb emissions are encouraging. Our best hope is that the two greatest polluters will come to the table and help make a dent in this looming world-wide cataclysm.
Dr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.
Publication date: September 10, 2014