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Global Warming - A Biblical Perspective

Global warming is not a myth! Today, we are facing its impending harmful effects on almost every area of our lives! Extreme changes in climates and temperatures will affect the physical, environmental and biological systems in almost every nation on earth, from the North Pole to the South!

Things are happening faster than what we have expected. Some of the devastating consequences we will face in the next few years include:

  • Hundreds of millions of people will face famine and starvation due to water and food shortages.
  • Tens of millions of homes will be evacuated due to coastal floods, snow avalanches, melting glaciers and icebergs, and rising sea levels.
  • Polar bears will only be found in zoos as their natural habitats have melted away.
  • Tropical diseases like malaria will spread rampantly.
  • Pests, viruses and bacteria will thrive and multiply uncontrollably.
  • Many animals, birds, insects, reptiles, fishes and other species will experience great changes in their habits and living environments. Some may even face ultimate extinction.
  • Our rivers, seas and oceans will become more acidified as pollution and toxic waste contaminate the waters.
  • Increased temperatures, pollution and contamination may threaten coral reefs and fishes.
  • Droughts will wipe off wetlands, fields, trees and other living things!
  • Severe weather changes will bring forth massive disasters such as heat waves, droughts, wildfires, typhoons, tornadoes and hurricanes.
  • Deadly diarrhea diseases, associated with floods and droughts, are expected to rise.
  • Increased volcanic activities will activate more earthquakes and tsunamis.
  • The summer seasons will be longer while winters will be shortened.
  • Social, cultural and traditional values will be disrupted as our ecological systems undergo unprecedented changes.

What we are experiencing now will be nothing compared to what we are going to face in the near future. Global warming will soon affect the life of every living being on earth! Nobody and nothing will be left out. We are truly standing at the edge of massive extinction, not only of the animal world, but also of people groups around the world! The poorest nations will be the most affected as droughts, diseases, famines and disasters strike their homes and lands. Global warming will soon pose a serious threat to our own human existence on earth.

What causes global warming? Beyond any shadow of doubt, man sows and reaps it! This is no longer just a theory or false accusation. The time for any debate of whether it is caused by mankind is over. Any criticism, no matter how scientifically rigorous, is both dangerous and illegitimate.

Global warming is caused by sinful human actions through mismanagement, abuse and over-exploitation of the earthly resources that God has given us! God had given us a Garden of Eden to cultivate and nurture, but through our reckless and irresponsible behaviors, we have made a mess out of it.

Then God blessed them, and God said to them,
"Be fruitful and multiply;
fill the earth and subdue it;
have dominion over the fish of the sea,
over the birds of the air,
and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
And God said, "See, I have given you every herb
that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth,
and every tree whose fruit yields seed;
to you it shall be for food.
Also, to every beast of the earth,
to every bird of the air,
and to everything that creeps on the earth,
in which there is life,
I have given every green herb for food"; and it was so.
(Genesis 1:28-30)

Instead of taking good care of the earth that God has given us, we plunder and ruin it. We have polluted our earth! All of global warming can be traced directly to gases from the burning of fossil fuels. We have emitted large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere. This pollution of gases, dust and other aerosol particles then block the sunlight from escaping, causing a greenhouse effect. The heat from the sun is trapped within the earth's atmosphere, creating higher temperatures.

As nations develop and become industrialized, they use large amount of energies and fuels, producing and emitting enormous amounts of harmful gases. We are now suffering the ill-effects of greenhouse gases produced over the past century by the rich industrialized nations. Now poor countries, such as China and India, are in the midst of great development and industrialization. They too will produce greenhouse gases as they industrialize their way out of poverty. But who will have the rights to stop them when we ourselves are burning fuel and producing CO2! Any mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions would hurt the growth and proper running of any country, both developed and developing.

Though Americans account for only 5% of the world's population, they consume 26% of the world's energy. The United States of America uses about 15 times more energy per person than any other developing country. In 1997, every American consumed an average of 12,133 kilowatt-hours of electricity each, almost nine times greater than the average for the rest of the world. But somewhere in the world, some 2 billion people are currently without electricity.

Below are some important projections for future energy and fuel consumption:

  • Total U.S. residential energy consumption is projected to increase 17% from 1995 - 2015.
  • Global energy consumption is expected to increase 40% to 50% by the year 2010.
  • The global mix of fuels is projected to remain substantially the same as today - renewables (18%), nuclear (4%), and fossil (78%).
  • The global carbon dioxide emissions would increase 50% to 60%.
  • Developing countries are now consuming 30% of global energy. Rapid population growth, combined with rapid economic growth and industrialization, will rapidly increase that percentage in the next 10 years.

Albert Einstein once made this statement: "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years left to live." He was speaking in regard to the inter-relationships and inter-connections of all life on earth. Every living being or organism forms a part of a huge interconnected ecosystem, each playing a role vital and inter-dependant on others, but all in harmony creating the symphony of life. If any part of the global body suffers, the whole global body will suffer too. How true according to the Bible! If the bee dies, the other species will follow. Mankind is not excluded.

Recent findings in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands have shown that bee diversity is down 80% in the sites researched, and that the bee species are declining or have become extinct in Britain. In the United States, 90% of the wild bee population has died out. The studies also showed that the numbers of wildflowers dependent on bee pollination had dropped by 70%. Which came first, the death of bees or the death of wildflowers? If bees continue to die off, so would the plants and crops dependant on their pollination. This would result in major economic disruptions and possibly famines.

Commercial beekeepers from at least 22 states in America have recently reported that their bees had either mysteriously died or disappeared in huge numbers, affecting their livelihood and hampering farmers' crops dependant on bee pollination. The scientists have named this mystery illness �Colony Collapse Disorder� (CCD).

This month in Asia, scorching temperatures and rainless days had brought a drought into Thailand, the world's top rice exporter. About 58 of Thailand's 76 provinces were hit, mostly in the north, a region only just recovering from a choking haze caused by forest fires. About 45,000 acres of farmland had been affected, along with 8.23 million people! Last year, 47 Thai provinces in the north experienced floods, killing 207 people and causing damages amounting to more than 305 million baht (8 million US dollars). One year having floods, and another year having droughts. The weather in the world has gone crazy and increasingly more bizarre!

The Bible taught us in Isaiah 24:3-7 that the earth will be completely emptied and looted. The earth suffers for the sins of mankind. The earth becomes polluted. The crops will wither, the skies will not rain, and the land will be defiled by crimes and disorders as the people have twisted the laws of God, breaking His everlasting commandments. The inhabitants will be left desolate, destroyed by droughts. Few will be left alive. All the joys of life will be gone. The grape harvest will fail, the wine will be gone, and the merrymakers will sigh and mourn.

The land shall be entirely emptied and utterly plundered,
For the LORD has spoken this word.
The earth mourns and fades away,
The world languishes and fades away;
The haughty people of the earth languish.
The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants,
Because they have transgressed the laws,
Changed the ordinance,
Broken the everlasting covenant.
Therefore the curse has devoured the earth,
And those who dwell in it are desolate.
Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned,
And few men are left.
The new wine fails, the vine languishes,
All the merry-hearted sigh.
(Isaiah 24:3-7)

God instituted the Sabbath rest at the very beginning in Genesis, not just for human beings, but also for the earth that we live in. Until and unless we begin to give our earth some rest, we are going to pay the price now or later. That will be beyond our imagination and controls!

"Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them:
'When you come into the land which I give you,
then the land shall keep a sabbath to the LORD.
Six years you shall sow your field,
and six years you shall prune your vineyard,
and gather its fruit;
but in the seventh year
there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land,
a sabbath to the LORD.

You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard.
What grows of its own accord of your harvest
you shall not reap,
nor gather the grapes of your untended vine,
for it is a year of rest for the land.
And the sabbath produce of the land shall be food for you:
for you, your male and female servants, your hired man,
and the stranger who dwells with you,
for your livestock and the beasts that are in your land--
all its produce shall be for food.
(Leviticus 25:2-7)

Between the time of Moses and the Babylonian Captivity, there had been about 70 occasions (70 x 7 years = 490 years) on which the people of God worked the Promised Land without giving the land proper rest. They violated the law of the sabbatical year. Thus the prophet Jeremiah prophesied about the 70 years of desolation of the land of Israel and the captivity of the Israelites so that the Promised Land could rest for 70 years.

The land enjoyed its sabbath rests;
all the time of its desolation it rested,
until the seventy years were completed
in fulfillment of the word of the LORD
spoken by Jeremiah.
(2 Chronicles 36:21)

God desired that all His creation had proper rest. But man is always wanting more, never easily satisfied. We are in the age of great affluence and wastage. We throw away useable things like mobile phones, computers, laptops, TV etc. in exchange for newer models and gadgets. In seeking to get rich fast, we ruin, plunder and pollute our land, damaging the things of nature. Animals and plants suffer in sickness and death because of the evil acts of mankind. Many people themselves become sick due to excessive work and overstress.

Every person on earth emits 0.2 tons of CO2 a year into the atmosphere. The only way to save our earth is to regain our senses in energy and fuel consumption:

  • Save energy by using only what is necessary.
  • Drive smaller cars or use the public transportation.
  • Switch to alternative fuels such as biodiesel.
  • Ensure energy efficiency by using energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs etc.
  • Support projects that generate energy from hydropower, solar panels or wind power etc.
  • Reuse and recycle things, reducing wastages.
  • Plant more trees.

Our earth is now groaning and agonizing in pain! All of God's creation is waiting patiently and hopefully for the Day of His Coming when God's children will be glorious, becoming like Christ. Since the day mankind sinned against God, all creation had undergone death and decay. Even the things of nature, like animals and plants, suffer in sickness and death as they await this great event.

As Christians, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, we also groan to be released from these pains and sufferings. We too wait patiently and eagerly for that day when God will give us our full rights as His children, including the new incorruptible bodies that He has promised us - bodies that will never be sick again and will never die. When the day comes, we will also experience a new heaven and a new earth! Eternal life returns back on earth! No more pollution and global warming!

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time
are not worthy to be compared
with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
For the earnest expectation of the creation
eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
For the creation was subjected to futility,
not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;
because the creation itself also will be delivered
from the bondage of corruption
into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groans and labors
with birth pangs together until now.
Not only that,
but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
even we ourselves groan within ourselves,
eagerly waiting for the adoption,
the redemption of our body.
(Romans 8:18-23)

While it is still day, let's work, redeeming the time. We have one great commandment to obey, and one great commission to finish! Loving God, and loving others by bringing them to Christ as we prepare the way for His Coming!

Written on:
16 April 2007