Q: Isn't climate change a rather secular issue, not really important in God's eyes for Christians?
A: No; What has been called the Sacred Secular Divide is a heresy that crept into Christendom in the middle-ages and still afflicts many Christians. Many Scripture passages, e.g. Psalm 104, show that God is concerned with both nature and humanity together.
Q: OK, but isn't it enough to just thank and worship God for the beauties of nature and what it 'gives' us?
A: No, not enough. We should certainly do that, but God has given humankind responsibility to care for it and tend (develop) the rest of Creation. e.g. Genesis 1:26-28, Gen 2:15d.
Q: Why did God create humans within Creation? To love, enjoy and worship God?
A: Partly that, yes, but much more. Humans are to represent (image) God's love to the rest of Creation - to share God's work of love and caring for the rest of Creation - an immense privilege! It response with joy.
Q: What's that love like?
A: Agape love desires the blessing of the other before the blessing of oneself. "The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" more than using the sheep as resources or even just stewarding them on behalf of another. God calls humanity to love Creation in that way. That is the dignity and responsibility and intended destiny of humanity.
Q: But we don't.
A: Soon after the start, humanity turned away from God's intention. We wante "to be like God" and determine our own dignity, responsibility and destiny (Genesis 3). What Christian theology calls "The Fall".
Q: What's the answer to that turning-away, that Fall? Education? Psychology? Counselling? Human willpower? Laws with teeth?
A: No. Though those have their place, they do not change the heart of the people. The only answer we have been given is God's redemption, actualized in Christ, to change the hearts of the people.
Q: How does that work?
A: Humanity cannot change itself at heart, but Jesus the Christ died to make us acceptable with God ("atonement"), and the Holy Spirit came to change people's hearts - so we have the desire and power to treat the Creation aright. That is the Gospel, and Paul describes it well in Romans chapter 8. Each individual needs to repent and let Jesus be Lord on their lives and let the Holy Spirit transform their way of seeing things.
Q: What does that bring about? What would it be like if we had not turned away?
A: I remember hearing of a man who came to Christ - walking along the street, he did not kick the cat. Before, he would have kicked the cat, but his inner attitude changed to love. He did not think "Now I'm a Christian I ought not to kick the cat" but the Holy Spirit just changed his inner attitude. That attitude of love does not determine what we do each time, but it rather pervades our whole being so that all our decisions are made in its light, and even our reactions begin to express God's character.
Q: That's about how we treat nature; why is climate change important?
A: For many reasons, climate change will bring immense poverty and suffering, and it will destroy much of nature. But also because the time is right (kairos). The Bible tells us (Revelation 11:18) that a time comes when people will be destroying the earth and deserve themselves to be destroyed. It seems that the time has arrived - because of the combination of human population, technology and economy.
Q: But what can we individual Christians do? Is it not for politicians to sort out? Should we not just get on with our lives as normal?
A: A lot. In two ways. 1. Changed attitudes multiply by thousands of people in a community, millions in a nation and billions in a world, and a difference can begin to be made. 2. Change structures of society, such as the economy, the laws, pervading attitudes, prevailing beliefs: those who are courageous and driven not by self-interest but by commitment to the good - ultimately to God - can have influence.
Q: But such people are so few.
A: Not so! God works not only through us but with us. It is God's work, and God's power and wisdom works through such people. That is why Paul tells us that Christ's people, filled with the Holy Spirit, mature in Christ, have enormous power even in this world: we will judge the world (I Corinthians 6:2), and the Creation eagerly awaits us to be revealed, not hidden (Romans 8:19). God uses us not only to live extraordinary everyday lives, but also to convince those 'in power'. God gives the opportunities and signs and wonders follow those committed to this transformation.
Q: What evidence is there that it is, or would be, effective?
A: History bears witness to Christ's people "turning the world upside down" (Acts ===) many times, from Pentecost to Francis of Assissi, the Reformation, the abolition of the slave trade, the missionary movement, the Welsh Revival and beyond. Why not today?
Q: So what is our message?
A: The Good News that God has made forgiveness and change of heart possible through Christ and the Holy Spirit, and so now, with that privilege and power, we can face the challenge that we are created, destined and called not to live for ourselves but live for the rest of Creation (which of course includes other humans and the rest of Creation).
This page, "http://abxn.org/theology.cc.html" is part of Andrew Basden's abxn.org pages - pages that open up discussion and exploration from a Christian ('xn') perspective. Written on the Amiga with Protext, in the style of classic HTML.
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Created: 4-7 July 2021. Last updated: