Saturday, April 19, 2008

Christian Environmentalist?

I had a discussion the other day with a friend about global warming.

Apparently they read an article recently that stated instead of global warming, we actually might be facing a period of global cooling. “So,” they went on smugly “Al Gore might not have been right after all, and the earth may just be going through another cycle of warming and cooling.” All I could do was stop and stare.

None of us really want Al Gore, and thousands of scientists who have been warning us for decades, to be right. It would mean we would start reaping what we have sown.
But in this case, the theory is that global warming might come back to bite us in an odd way. Maybe instead of global warming, we face global cooling because the increased melting rate at the polar caps (caused by warming) is shutting down the huge oceanic currents that circulate around the globe, and a natural backlash is going to happen: perhaps an ice age awaits instead of a global desert. (like in that movie The Day After Tomorrow). Either way we’re talking about disaster for human beings.

But no matter what environmental disaster may await us, I think that Al Gore is actually preaching something straight from the Bible. Christians seem to ignore this passage so easily.
The Genesis 1:28 in the NIV translation of the Bible says “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Unfortunately, in our land of democracy, we really don’t have a great intuitive grasp of what “ruling” means. Our general cultural considers ruling to be the same as dominating, “lording it over” … pictures of French monarchy living in splendid wealth while stomping on the backs of starving peasants come to mind.

I must say, I like the Message translation of Genesis 1:28 better. It converts the intention of the word “rule” into a meaning relevant in our cultural context: “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge! Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.”

A good ruler is responsible for the well being of those under his/her rule.

So should we rejoice that we may have global cooling coming instead of warming? Hip hip horaay! Let’s drive our SUVs more, because we really haven’t ruined the world after all! We’re going to need to warm this place up more! That was the short-sighted response my friend seemed to be having to the “latest study”.


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