Heating Up…or Cooling Down?
"While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and
cold and heat, And summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."
Genesis 8:22 NAS
The "global warming" debate is either warming up—or cooling down! After all, in the past year, there was snow in Johannesburg and Baghdad as well as paralyzing blizzards in China—and "a sharp drop in the globe’s average temperature" (New York Times, Mar. 2, ‘08). The U.S. National Climatic Data Center reported that "many American cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early February" (National Post, Feb. 25, ‘08). In just March the Ohio blizzard broke a 100--year snow record!
On the other hand, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns a general increase in globally averaged temperatures over the last century due to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. How so? Increased fossil fuel burning has produced about three--quarters of the increase in CO2 from human activity. The rest is due to land--use changes—especially deforestation.
The result (says IPCC) is increased global temperature causing the sea levels to rise, increased extreme weather events, glacier retreats, animal species extinctions—and disease. And eventual shrinking shores of countries and continents….
Most national governments have signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But there is ongoing political and public debate worldwide whether to take action—and how.
Man’s original home in the Garden of Eden was perfectly suitable for living—forever. How so? Before God created the first man out of the elements of Earth, God took time to prepare the Earth which for untold time had been "without form and void," when "darkness was upon the face of the deep" (Gen 1:2). During the creative days He then proceeded to prepare the earth for man’s habitation.
God put into motion the laws of nature. Under divine energy, He first gradually increased the light reaching the Earth. "And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night" (Gen. 1:5). Just enough sunlight penetrated to the earth to distinguish day from night. Scientists today marvel at how unique our planet is in the universe. They are even impressed with how unique we are as humans able to investigate where our planet is in the universe! (The Privileged Planet: How our Planet in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery, Guillermo Gonzales, PhD & Jay W. Richards, PhD)
On the second epoch day of creation, God prepared the "firmament" for man’s habitation on Earth. It’s actually the "expanse" or atmosphere (Strong’s Concordance #7549).
"And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so."
By the creation of an atmosphere, the lighter parts of the waters which overspread the earth’s surface were drawn up and suspended in the visible heavens, while the larger and heavier mass remained below. Water is unique to our planet—and life. But this "expanse" or atmosphere around the Earth is what many scientists are saying is being modified and causing global warming increasingly since the industrial revolution.
Ironically, global warming may be causing heavier snowfalls… But whether global warming is actually occurring—from the Scriptures it is, nevertheless, clear the Earth will eventually be man’s eternal Home—and a Paradise.
When Father Adam sinned in his beautiful Home in Eden, he and his posterity were placed under the curse of "dying thou shalt die" (Gen. 2:17, mar. Heb.) Was that fair? Yes! Because man was not created as a robot but with free will, most people sooner or later would have experimented with deviating from obeying God anyway. But it was a wise, just and loving plan for God—because then one perfect Man could be a "corresponding price," a "Ransom for all" (1 Tim. 2:5,6) for the one perfect man who sinned! "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor 15:22). After man’s experiment with sin and its consequences are ended, all people will be raised from the dead and given a first real opportunity on probation to choose righteousness. How is that possible? Satan, "the god of this world" (2 Cor. 4:4), will be out of the way to "deceive the nations no more" (Rev. 20:1--3).
But additionally, back in Eden when man sinned, the Earth was also cursed. It was made unfriendly for man so that he would have to work hard to survive in his environment.
"Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you shall eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face You shall eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return." NAS
Only in our recent times, is man able to more efficiently make the Earth more productive and habitable. Still, around the globe the benefits are unequal—and man is still subject to the Earth’s famines and flooding as well as the atmosphere’s storms, tornadoes and cyclones. Are they getting worse—in spite or because of of man’s technology?
Whether man is causing the changes that are even impacting penguins and polar bears as endangered species may be debatable. However, "uncertainty abounds, from the Everglades to the California coast," says Science Times of The New York Times (Jan.29, ‘08), for "prized species" because of climate "changing ecosystems."
What is happening to our beloved planet?
For those of us who pray the "Lord’s Prayer," do we actually believe God can answer it someday? "Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth—as it is in heaven." What exactly is God’s "will" for the Earth?
How does that prayer fit with the same Christians who expect the Earth to burn up by fire? (That would certainly be more than "global warming!") Did God create this unique planet in vain—eventually not to be inhabited?
"For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else."
The original commission to Adam and Eve—before they sinned—was to fill he Earth and subdue it. "And God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it…’" (Gen. 1:28). Well, it looks like the Earth is filling up pretty fast—especially in proportion to what the Earth is able to support now! Did not God anticipate the many generations of sinful man—and never really plan for man to have his Home on Earth? "A generation goes and a generation comes, But the earth remains forever" (Eccl 1:4).
So how long will this "curse" on the Earth remain? The whole creation is groaning and waiting for something—but they do not know what. "For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers… For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God…" (Rom 8:22, 19)
When all the overcoming Christians are on the throne with Jesus (Rev. 3:21), the water of life will flow to all peoples of the Earth—and they will be healed. And there will be no more curse!
"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse…"
So while the first three Chapters of the Bible began with a "curse"—the last three of the last Book of Revelation tell us the curse on man and his Home will end!
Therefore, whether man is compromising his Home by greenhouse emissions of CO2 or not, God will have power over the destiny of our Earth. The places on Earth—even those which were never cultivated and useful—will be productive. "The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus [after a hard winter!], it will burst into bloom…" (Isa. 35:1--2 niv)
When our Great God of the Universe is governing the peoples of Earth—through His Son and his Bride—the Earth will yield its increase:
"O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth…. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him."
Although there will be seasons of planting and harvesting, extreme weather will not hurt the Earth.
And instead of one harvest a year—there will be many harvests to feed Earth’s billions. There will be no flooding or drought. "The desert shall rejoice and blossom as a rose… the scorched land will become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water" (Isa. 35:1, 7). The water will be pure—not polluted with toxins or even pharmaceuticals.
Yes, although heaven is God’s throne—the Earth is His footstool. "Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool"(Isa. 66:1). Although the Earth may seem in potential jeopardy now, the Creator said, "I will make the place of my feet glorious" (Isa. 60:13). He who prepared our planet for habitation is also able to recover it after man’s experimentation with sin and its consequences. When "the Earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea" (Hab. 2:14), mankind will say, "Lo, this is our God, we have waited for him, and He will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, and we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation" (Isa. 25:9).