Possible to Re-connect
Originally uploaded by shaapay

First, a special thanks to shaapay (from Flickr) for letting me use his great photo.

I find it interesting that this week there are several environmental “problems” occurring at the same time. Global Warming advocates couldn’t ask for a better set of circumstances this week.

As noted in my previous post, ocean temperatures are quite warm for this time of the year. An article also appeared on MSNBC.com about Giant Ice Chunks breaking off the Canadian Ice Shelf. In my area we experienced a serious heat wave, which created a slight shortage of electricity due to the increased demand for air conditioning. California has experienced relentless wildfires this summer. LA experienced a 5.4 earthquakeon Tuesday.

A person keeping up with all this would have reason to believe that “the earth is angry with us” as some “deep ecologists” would have you believe. For the Christian, and most people in the USA, the question becomes “does God make these things happen?”. Theologians would point out that this is an entirely different question from asking “does God allow this to happen?”. Does the Bible speak of God making the earth punish humans? Yes.

Hosea 4:1 Listen to the word of the LORD, O sons of Israel, For the LORD has a case against the inhabitants of the land, Because there is no faithfulness or kindness Or knowledge of God in the land. 2 There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing and adultery. They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed. 3 Therefore the land mourns, And everyone who lives in it languishes Along with the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky, And also the fish of the sea disappear.

It is interesting that the minor prophets as a whole (though this one section is all that is cited here) seem to base ecological crisis upon humanity’s broken relationship to God. Does that mean then that hurricanes, famines, hailstorms, etc. are the result of a group of people’s collective disobedience to God’s laws? I don’t know. To be sure, this argument fits well within the traditional “Mankind is evil, so evil is in the world, therefore natural disasters happen because of evil” type of argument. This is a scathing indictment against humanity if this is really the meaning from the minor prophets.

In this sense, the current ecological crisis would be (at least partially) caused by humanities lack of obedience to God. So, in Joel when God talks about his ability to restore everything to a better state than before the disobedience occurred –if only the people will repent and return to God. In this way, is it possible that obedience to God, in connection with a ceasing of the exploitation of the earth, will present the possibility that God will restore earth to its former pristine state?

Obviously I have asked questions and provided few answers, if any. Scripture does report God using natural disasters for punishment. But, that doesn’t necessarily imply that ALL natural disasters are “sent by God” as punishment. According to scripture, the earth is not necessarily humanity’s best friend. In fact, the earth doesn’t do our bidding, and causes us hardship from time to time. This is the point of Genesis 3 when it speaks of humanity’s relationship with the earth being broken.

So, while global warming seems to be a debatable issue (though most agree the earth is warming), there is no debate when it comes to God allowing these things to happen. Some very few events may be expressly sent by God, but according to scripture these things regularly happen because of the broken relationship between humanity and hte earth.

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