The world is heating up. Do you wonder why? There are lots of culprits that are cited - cars, carbon and cows could begin the list. Perhaps it could justly continue with politicians, population and pride. Will the list end with the greed of nations, peoples and individuals like us, like you, like me? Are we bringing it upon ourselves and find we cannot change our all-consuming behaviour that devours not only the earth’s resources but all those ‘others’ who stand in the way of our corporate and personal consumption? Can it be any surprise that there are consequences from personal, national and world behaviour? It’s no good eye-balling the next cow you meet and trying to shift the responsibility on to her because of our milk or meat consumption! The world is heating up and we all have to consider our personal responsibility. Young people and scientists are sounding the alarm - it is a wake-up call in more ways that we might imagine.
- ‘History is a vast early warning system’ - Norman Cousins
- ‘Scientists have been warning about global warming for decades. It's too late to stop it now, but we can lessen its severity and impacts’ - David Suzuki
- ‘In this liberal age we tend naturally to avoid any thought of God’s judgement’ - David Watson
- ‘Time shall be no more when judgement comes and when time is no more, change is impossible’ - C H Spurgeon
In 1798 Thomas Robert Malthus wrote about global issues in his essay ‘The Principle of Population’ in which he postulated that ‘the power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man’. Essentially he was talking about over-population leading to economic supply problems but fell short of linking it to global warming. Currently the world’s most populous country China introduced a ‘one child policy’ during the 1970s which was backed by financial incentives but has since abandoned this. By 2027, India is set to overtake China. Until the time of Napoleon, there were less than 1 billion people on Earth at any one time. Since the Second World War, we have been adding a billion people to the global population every 12-15 years. Our population is more than double today what it was in 1970. Even if some kind of consumption index was given per household or person which was linked to tax, the ‘population train’ is on a runaway course.
- ‘All our environmental problems become easier to solve with fewer people and harder - and ultimately impossible to solve - with ever more people’ - David Attenborough
This notable environmentalist described mankind as ‘a plague on the earth’. Even though there is much more noise about global warming nowadays, many continue life as if cruising on Titanic before it was too late. You might think that COP26 stands for ‘Care Of the Planet’ but this UN ‘Conference Of the Parties’ concerned itself with the 1994 agreement on Climate Change. Despite political promises and increased activism, the impact of deforestation, use of carbon materials and the production of methane have not reduced and so the earth’s temperature is rising. Brave attempts like the Earthshot Prizes and personal changes of habit seem unlikely to reverse the trajectory of a planet with a thermostat out of control. The warning signs given through nature are all too evident - flooding, fires and famines. None of this is a surprise to God who entrusted the care of the planet to us. Was it not his son Jesus Christ and the Apostles who gave us the wake-up call in the first place?
- ‘Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth-pains’ - Matthew 24:7-8
- ‘You must also be ready for the Son of man is coming at an unexpected hour’ - Luke 12:40
- ‘But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire and the earth and all the works that are upon it will be burned up’ - 2 Peter 3:10
- ‘Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End’ - Revelation 22:12-13
Perhaps God is waking us up now as we see the planet heating up and preparing us for a time when we stand before him to give account. A burning planet ties in closely with end time prophesies in a way which should cause us all to take note of world events. All corporate decisions and collective actions have consequences. All our personal decisions have consequences, the most significant of which is our acceptance or rejection of Christ Jesus as the one who brings us to God, our Great Connector.
‘Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences. Christ’s death was also a one-time event, but it was a sacrifice that took care of sins forever. And so, when he next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet him is, precisely, salvation’ - The Message
This is Eugene Peterson’s softer paraphrase of Hebrews 9:27. Virtually all other translations give this wake-up call more bluntly indicating that after the one life we are each given, we will all face judgement which determines our personal standing before God for our on-going future, either in undeserved grace or in justly deserved punishment.
TAGS – mercy, rest, forgiveness, damnation, peace, wholeness, belief, disbelief, hope, green, activism