[Updated from the archives.]
Denial of Overwhelming Evidence
According to a report on NPR:
Academies of science around the world agree that climate change is real and caused largely by burning fossil fuels. So do many professional scientific organizations. Polls of scientists point to the same conclusion, and so now does a review of the scientific literature. It shows that 97 percent of the time, scientists who express a view say that human activity is warming the planet.
This agreement among scientists has not been embraced by the public, though.
Less than half of the public understands that there’s widespread scientific agreement about climate change. About 40 percent believe that there’s a lot of disagreement among the scientists.
Why do people not follow the scientists’ lead? There are a lot of reasons, perhaps, but Jeremiah 5:30-31 and 2 Timothy 4:1-5 hit the nail on the head when saying that people love to turn away from truth. Of course Paul was focused there on the truth of the gospel, but we need to keep in mind that all truth is God’s truth, because our God is himself the Truth. (John 14:6.)
Sadly, some of God’s own people want to deny the truth, and even make jokes about what’s happening to the world God has made. But as Jonathan Merritt pointed out, a prominent pastor who jokes that he doesn’t care about the environment and will drive a behemoth of a car because God’s going to burn up this world anyway is not only joking in poor taste, but preaching a lack of stewardship and a lack of concern for the people around us. And for those people around us, this is not joking matter; in fact, as Karen Swallow Prior reported from Malawi, it’s become worse than HIV-AIDS for some communities.
Here’s where we are, then. The survey of the scientific community shows scientists are convinced that human activity is warming the planet. And as Merritt explains, that human activity is devastating to African dirt farmers, communities neighboring Appalachian coal mines, and little children living in modern cities. Drought, polluted drinking water and asthma all result from the planet-wide impact of human activity.
You can add John MacArthur to the list of prominent pastors who preach there is no need to preserve the planet. He teaches that since Jesus will create a new heaven and a new earth:
It is a disposable planet. We’re not here to preserve the planet, we’re here to proclaim the gospel. (John MacArthur, The Eyewitness Account of Creation.)
But Mr. MacArthur is preaching an unbiblical dichotomy. It’s not a matter of preaching the gospel or taking care of the planet. The Bible tells us both are worthy and important. No one disagrees with Mr. MacArthur that preaching the gospel is important; the Bible says it is, after all. Why will he not teach that caring for the planet is important when the Bible says it belongs to God?
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. (Psalm 24:1.)
God cares for plants and animals, and Jesus said that because he does we can be assured that God cares for us too. (Matthew 6:25-34, Luke 12:22-31.) In fact, we are not separate from the rest of Creation; we are in the process of salvation with it.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:18-21.)
People and Creation. People in Creation. People with Creation. However you look at it, we’re all in this together. And what we do with what God has given us matters a lot to God. (Matthew 25:14-30.)
Now there’s an idea we can warm up to.