What Does the Bible Teach About Climate Change?
This is a good question and one that seems to come up every four years around election time. I think in order to answer this question, we need to decouple climate change the environmental issue from climate change the political issue.
By all official statistics, global temperatures are on the rise. Now, I want to just state right up front: I am not a climate scientist, so it is not my goal to corroborate or refute the “official” statistics. I am merely reporting on the facts of the matter. How the facts are interpreted is quite another story. Let’s stipulate this fact for the sake of argument. As I understand things, the earth has gone through several cycles of warming and cooling. This seems to be a natural thing as far as the earth is concerned. We just happen to be on a warming cycle.
So as far as the environmental issue goes, the earth has gone through several cycles of warming and cooling, we’re currently on a warming trend, what’s the big deal? Now when we look at the Bible, we need to take into account two things: (1) God is in sovereign control of all things, and (2) God made a covenant with Noah (and all humanity) that normal cycle of the environment shall not cease to be.
Regarding the first issue (God is sovereign), consider the following Scriptures:
- Genesis 1:1 (KJV) In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
- Colossians 1:16,17 (KJV) 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
There are others that could be cited, but God, as the Creator of all things, is the Sovereign Ruler of all things. Everything that happens in heaven and on earth (including the climate) is in His sovereign control. The reality of climate change is not a thing that has caught God off guard.
Regarding the second issue (God’s covenant with humanity) consider the following Scriptures:
- Genesis 8:22 (KJV) While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
- Jeremiah 33:20-26 (KJV) 20 Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; 25 Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant [be] not with day and night, [and if] I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth
God made a covenant with Noah after the flood that never again will He destroy the earth by means of a flood. In that covenant, God promises (a promise sealed by the sign of the rainbow) that the normal pattern of seasonal change shall continue uninterrupted while the earth remains. This is a key point for the world will not last forever. It will be purged and renewed by God on the day of Christ’s return (see 2 Peter 3:10).
So why do I belabor this? The reason is this: I don’t believe that climate change will be what destroys the earth. I believe that the Bible teaches that God so preserves the earth that the normal pattern of change (day & night, summer & winter, warming & cooling, etc) will continue while the earth remains. I also do not believe that climate change will be the means God uses to remake the earth (again see 2 Peter 3:10). So I am not overly concerned with the environmental issue of climate change.
I do believe that as creatures made in the image of God with the breath of life in our lungs, we do have a duty to be good stewards of God’s good creation. When Adam & Eve were created and placed in the garden, they were to care and tend to it (Genesis 2:15). What that means is that we should definitely use and develop the environment for the benefit of all mankind. I do not think we should exploit or damage the environment for the sake of profit. The trend in recent decades regarding the reaping of the earth’s natural resources has been very positive and responsible. We should definitely explore so-called “clean” energy and alternative energy while at the same time seek cleaner and more efficient ways to use fossil fuels.
Now when it comes to climate change the political issue, this is a vastly different subject. The current, political, environmental movement is a quasi-religious movement. You have a “priesthood” (climate scientists) whose word on the subject is taken as “gospel truth.” You have “prophets” (political & environmental activists) who proclaim that the earth is doomed in 10 (12, 15, 20, etc.) years if we don’t act now. You have a “god” in “Mother Earth.” If you dare to counter the climate “orthodoxy” you are shunned and labeled a “heretic” (i.e., “climate denier”).
All of this is, in my opinion, a ploy to gain political power for other nefarious reasons. If you look at any political group that adheres to the current orthodoxy of climate change (the Green Party, the Socialist Party of America, etc.), you’ll see that it’s all for the purpose of scaring people into voting for them so they can dismantle our current constitutional-republic and implement a democratic-socialist “utopia” (which literally means “no place”) that bows to the false religion of climate change.
So in summary, I believe that as Christians, we should be good stewards of God’s creation. We should all want clean water and breathable air. We should all seek to move toward viable clean energy solutions that protect our environment. On the other hand, as Christians, we should avoid the current “radical” environmental movement that is attempting to gain control of our political process. I believe this is really a false religion for atheists & agnostics.