"Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields: To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety. He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise." – Job 5:10-12
Black Friday turned into an indictment of carbon dioxide and a warning of dire consequences for the U.S. economy in a report from the Global Change Research Program, which affirmed government conclusions that there is "no convincing alternative explanation" for climate change than human activities, especially greenhouse gases.
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"The global average temperature is much higher and is rising more rapidly than anything modern civilization has experienced, and this warming trend can only be explained by human activities," said David Easterling, director of the technical support unit at the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information.
It was reported all over the media, if possibly overshadowed by the record-breaking post-Thanksgiving sales numbers. America's cultural institutions are all in for catastrophic climate change. Those who are skeptical are often referred to in academia and within the Democratic Party as "deniers" – suggesting man-made global warming is now a secular article of faith.
On the other hand, surveys show most evangelical Christians dismiss the issue in one of three ways: A liberal hoax, a hypothesis based on flawed science, or an affront to the concept of human existence based on God's intelligent design.
But is it possible both sides are wrong?
Are Christians not giving their God enough credit?
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Does God actually guard jealously His sovereign ability to bless or curse His creation on the basis of humanity's spiritual health and obedience?
This is why I unequivocally believe in man-caused climate change – because God tells us He uses it to keep us coming back to His ways.
So forceful is God on this point that He characterizes his watchful eye on the climate as "My doctrine," in Deuteronomy 32:2.
With all you've seen, heard and read about climate change in the last 30 years, how about just considering the possibility that God's still "got the whole world in His hand?" And how about considering still that some of the plagues we've all witnessed in recent years – from catastrophic storms, devastating earthquakes and raging wildfires – represent what God clearly explains in His Word as an effort to ensure you do not "perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord giveth you?" (Deuteronomy 11:17)
The two most grievous stories the Bible has to communicate to man are these:
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- Flood: The Genesis account of the great deluge in which all but one family and two (or in some cases, seven) specimens of each kind of animal perish in judgment against man's sin: "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually," we're told in Genesis 6:5.
- Drought and famine: While God promised Noah never again to destroy the world in a global flood, He repeatedly promises to shut down the rains as a warning against unregenerate sin: "If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people," we're warned in 2 Chronicles 7:13, yet in the very next verse God promises: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
Wait a minute! You're heard that last verse about beseeching God in humility and prayer for a healing of the land many times. But did you know it came in the context of drought, plague and pestilence? Note there is never any mention in Scripture of the size of our collective or individual carbon footprint guilt – not even in the more modern translations.
Remember, these were God's actual words spoken to Solomon at the miraculous dedication of the First Temple. It's worth another look in the context of the overall message and what the people witnessed in its majesty and solemnity.
It is preceded a few verses earlier in 2 Chronicles 6:26-28 with this prayer from the successor to David: "When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them; Then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, when thou hast taught them the good way, wherein they should walk; and send rain upon thy land, which thou hast given unto thy people for an inheritance. If there be dearth in the land, if there be pestilence, if there be blasting, or mildew, locusts, or caterpillars; if their enemies besiege them in the cities of their land; whatsoever sore or whatsoever sickness there be."
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Some have suggested that the more famous prescription for repentance in 2 Chronicles 7:14 was intended only for Israel, yet Solomon showed more wisdom there in the lead-up in 2 Chronicles 6:31-33: "That they may fear thee, to walk in thy ways, so long as they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers. Moreover concerning the stranger, which is not of thy people Israel, but is come from a far country for thy great name's sake, and thy mighty hand, and thy stretched out arm; if they come and pray in this house; Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for; that all people of the earth may know thy name, and fear thee, as doth thy people Israel, and may know that this house which I have built is called by thy name."
Solomon recognized the spiritual role of Israel was to lead the entire gentile world, by example, to the God of Israel.
It's also worth noting that while Solomon's reign represented the pinnacle of splendor in Israel, God marked it with a miracle that would be repeated about 128 years later toward the end of the reign of Israel's most infamous king.
In 2 Chronicles 7:1-3, we read: "Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord's house. And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever."
It's reminiscent of the challenge of Elijah to the wicked King Ahab and the 450 prophets of Baal who ate at Jezebel's table. You remember the story. Through God's power, Elijah had blocked the raid for three and a half years – not just in Israel but around the entire world. Why? Because of their worship of false gods.
So, Elijah set up the ultimate showdown between God and Baal in Mount Carmel.
"And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions?" he asked in 1 Kings 18:21. "If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word."
He set up the home-ground rules in favor of Baal, instructing them to sacrifice one bullock to God and another to Baal, laying them on wood with no fire under them. Then they would call on the name of their gods to take it. From morning to noon, they called on the name of Baal to show his power, but got no answer. Elijah mocked them as they cut themselves with knives until the blood gushed from their veins in their frenzied cries and while they jumped on the altar. They continued through midday and until the time of the evening sacrifice, but Baal was never heard from.
Showing off, Elijah took 12 stones representing the tribes of Israel, had a trench dug about the altar and filled it with four barrels of water amid the bullock. Then he had them soak it a second time – and a third time.
Then he simply prayed: "Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again."
"Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench," we read in 1 Kings 18:38-39. "And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God."
After Elijah and the humbled children of Israel dispatched the 450 false prophets of Baal, Elijah ordered Ahab: "Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain." In other words, it was time for the three-and-a-half-year drought to come to an end.
So, what does God mean when He refers to His "doctrine" of using the long-term weather report to bring His children back to righteousness?
There's an entire exhortation on this in Deuteronomy 32 – well worth reading in its entirety, but here is an excerpt of chapters 1 through 5: "Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: Because I will publish the name of the Lord: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation."
It wasn't out of meanness that God gave man some troublesome weather. It was out of mercy and a desire to make humanity's life more pleasant and productive.
Of course, in a similar way, some secularists make the case that scientists are determined to help man save himself from his own destructive behavior toward the planet.
But has God not yet spoken about the future of the earth and warned of the true threats His creation faces because of sin? If the production – intentional or inadvertent – of carbon dioxide is dangerous or evil, would He not have warned us? Could it be that we're blaming ourselves for the wrong sin?
I personally believe that when the whole world is telling you one thing and God is telling you another, chances are excellent the world is wrong.
Here's how Job put it in chapter 28:23-28: "God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof. For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven; To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure. When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder: Then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out. And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding."
Maybe you think the Bible is just a collection of old folk stories – nothing more. That's what I think about the hysteria over global warming – that it's a false, pseudo-scientific, secular religion. I recognize many of the scientists are sincere in their beliefs. They've drunk deep of the global-warming Kool-Aid.
God not only controls the weather as a principal means of reigning in our behavior for our own good, He holds the entire universe together – all of Creation. He does so because He loves us and wants us to have the chance to be His children for eternity – but only if we love and obey Him and His Son Jesus the Messiah, the one and only Redeemer and Mediator between God and man.
Is our planet actually dying, as some scientists suggest? About that, they are correct. That's the nature of our fallen planet. Yet God is going to bring it back to perfection.
One thing is for certain: God's going to shut heaven again. When you see it happen, don't blame carbon dioxide. Blame man's disobedience of God's ways, and get down on your knees in humility and pray for forgiveness.
See also, "Why I believe in man-made catastrophic climate change."
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