317. THE MISSING “FACTOR” IN THE CLIMATE CHANGE DEBATE. What if….. Jesus?

We have seen many different changes in the debate about the human contribution to climate change and there have been many suggestions given as to how to “save the world.” Our Chief Scientist in Australia as well as many other climate experts throughout the world, have suggested that a small country [in population] like Australia contributes little to the global emissions and that it could do virtually nothing to make any measurable difference to climate change.

Other well -qualified scientists throughout the world seem to suggest that unless something radical is done to combat global warming then the situation for humans could be disastrous within 20 years or so. One of their suggestions is to radically reduce the amount of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The way some of them have approached this ‘problem’ is questionable to say the least.

A good beginning

It is helpful to remember that God created this world as a “good” place where everything was in order and submitted to Him. However, Satan tempted Adam and Eve to disobey God in a vain attempt to be like God. They wanted to be powerful like Him and to be free to live as they pleased. As a result of their sin, order became disorder and the whole world suffered as a result.

Sin and death had entered the world through their sin, as Paul wrote in Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” Not only that, but the creation itself was affected. It was no longer “good” but had become corrupted because of human sin,  “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” Romans 8:20-21.

An imperfect world

The result is that we live in an imperfect world which is ‘out of order’ with God’s original intention. Often the creation seems to be out of order as major floods, earthquakes, typhoons, tornados and cyclones occur, but He is always in control. We see in the Old Testament that God controlled the weather.  That is seen in the history of Israel. There were times when He used aspects of His creation to accomplish His purposes for His people. For example, at the Exodus from Egypt, when He delivered His people by holding back the waters for His people to cross over safely, miraculously as on dry land.

The Lord promised His blessing of abundant rain on those who loved Him and served Him, in Deuteronomy 11:13-15, “And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14 he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil. 15 And he will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you shall eat and be full.”

However if they failed to love and serve Him, such blessing would be withheld from them, “then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and he will shut up the heavens, so that there will be no rain, and the land will yield no fruit, andyou will perish quickly off the good land that the Lord is giving you.” Deut 11:17.

God warned Solomon about the danger of falling away from Him, with these words, “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, 14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:13-14.  Obedience to God brought blessing. Disobedience to Him brought disaster. But if His people repented of their sin and turned back to God, blessing would follow.

There are many other passages in the Old Testament where it is shown that God rules over His universe and over its weather.

A change in the New Testament

However when we come to the New Testament we discover an interesting encounter. Jesus once faced a sea that was out of order until He took authority over it and it settled immediately, “He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Silence! Be still! ” The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith? ”41 And they were terrified and asked one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!” Mark 4:39-41.  A very good question to ask! And there is an answer!

In the gospel of John we are told that Jesus was the creator of the world and of everything in it,“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1:1-3.  The same concept is found in Colossians 1:16-17, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

The writer to the Hebrews expresses the same thought about Jesus as the creator of all things,  “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” Hebrews 1: 1-2. But the writer also takes up the thought of Col 1:17, [“…. and in him all things hold together]when he or she writes of Jesus, Hebrews 1:3 “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.”

In other words, Jesus is seen as the Creator of the universe and also the One who keeps it going as the Sustainer of the universe! Now! And always will!

WHAT IF? [What if Jesus IS the Creator AND the Sustainer of the universe?]

This has tremendous implications for the way in which we view the world. As one reads the articles of some of those concerned about global warming or climate change, one gets the impression that we humans are the custodians of the world we inherited and in which we live and that we alone are responsible for its upkeep. There is much truth in that concept. But many go on from there and believe that we must make every effort to deal with what we perceive to be the the dangers to our world, otherwise the earth is doomed. [Within 12 years some tell us!]

However, this is God’s world, created by Jesus and sustained by Him, though we must play our part in being good stewards of the resources we share in the world in which we live.

What is lost in discussions about climate change however, is this.

  • It is not our ultimate responsibility to care for the universe we live in. It is Jesus’ responsibility, not ours!
  • Our ultimate responsibility as creatures, is to come into a right relationship with Jesus, our Creator, and to live responsibly before Him in every aspect of our lives.
  • It means making Him to be the Lord and Master of our lives, playing our part in what He wants us to do IN His creation. It also means playing our part in what He wants us to do FOR His creation. The latter has to be His plan, not ours.
  • It is a fantasising about our responsibility as creatures, to think that we in Australia can make a massive difference to the control of the weather by anything we do. Virtue signalling by imposing heavy restrictions on our own country doesn’t really help either when bigger nations have no intention of reducing their outputs!
  • It is an abrogation of our responsibility as creatures to our creator to leave Him out of the equation. He is THE climate expert! He knows what He is doing with the climate!
  • Some have argued that if the focus of humans is taken off Jesus as the Creator-Sustainer of this universe, then we are in fact setting up a new religion in which “climate change” becomes the new god to be served.

Making creation our God, instead of worshipping Jesus as the Creator-Sustainer

Paul wrote about human rebellion in Romans 1:18-25 and revealed His view of the fallen world as He sees it. He made the point that God has revealed Himself in His creation but humans fail to acknowledge Him for who He is. Rom 1:24 states that God handed them over to do what they wanted to do in their free-will, because as verse 25 puts it, “because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen”. Rom 1:25.

 It seems in the thinking of many today that the creation has to be appeased by making all sorts of personal, national and international sacrifices lest we stress the creation in some way or other by misuse or by excessive production [for example of gases.] If we don’t play our part, then we are told that nature will not treat us well. This is a personification of nature. It has become a new religion.

HE [JESUS] IS THE MISSING FACTOR!

We need to remember that Satan’s temptations are to get us to seek to become more powerful by rejecting God’s control over us so that we can control our own world, to do our own thing apart from Him.

However ,Jesus is not only the Creator-Sustainer of the universe. He is also its Redeemer through His sacrificial death on the cross. He now offers all humans forgiveness of sins and a new life in Himself as their Saviour. Such an offer of grace cannot safely be ignored or rejected.

What is often not appreciated is that He also wants to be Lord and Master of every human life as well. He wants to lead us into making all the decisions He wants us to make as we live for Him in this world. Decisions about what we do in His world. Decisions about what we do for the sake of the world and for the peoples of the world. Making every effort to fulfil His plan and purpose for us in His world. And that means becoming a wise steward of all we are and have in His world as we live under His Lordship.

Jesus is the missing factor in today’s discussions about the world and about the climate of the world. Unfortunately many ignore Him and want us to follow a new religion with its focus on the creation rather on the Creator!

How much better it would be if we creatures got into a right relationship with Jesus our Creator by accepting Him as Saviour and Lord and trusted Him to care for His creation (whilst allowing Him to show us what part we are to play in caring for the world ultimately under His control).

Blog No. 317 posted on www.jimholbeck.blog on Saturday 11th May 2019.

About Jim Holbeck

Once an Industrial Chemist working for the Queensland Government but later an Anglican minister in Brisbane, Armidale and Sydney. Last position for eighteen years before retirement in 2006 was as the Leader of the Healing Ministry at St Andrew's Cathedral Sydney.
This entry was posted in BIBLE PASSAGE OUTLINES, Climate change, Creation, Evangelism, Forgiveness, Politics, Prayer, Salvation and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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