The Bible, Christians, and the Environment

By COGwriter

How should Christians view the environment? Does the Bible give any clues?

What are some of the effects of air, water, and land pollution?

Does the Bible have warnings for those that are destroying the Earth?

This article will answer those questions. Here is a link to a related sermon:  Christians and the Environment (there is also YouTube video available titled Air Pollution, Autism, and Prophecy).

In the Beginning, God Intended Humankind to Care for the Environment

As far as how Christians should view the environment, going to the book of Genesis is a good place to start.

Notice:

15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. (Genesis 2:15)

Humans were to be stewards over God's creation.

Now notice else about it:

24 Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind"; and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

29 And God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food"; and it was so. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. (Genesis 1:24-31)

Pollution, which harms the creation, is not good.

Some of the Effects of Pollution

Pollution causes all kinds of problems.

But many could be prevented. For example, notice a sanitary law from the Bible:

12 "Also you shall have a place outside the camp, where you may go out; 13 and you shall have an implement among your equipment, and when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and turn and cover your refuse. 14 For the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and give your enemies over to you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He may see no unclean thing among you, and turn away from you. (Deuteronomy 23:12-14)

If the above was followed, human waste would be turned into soil. This in turn could be used as fertilizer to improve the natural production of agricultural products, such as fruits and vegetables.

While proper waste disposal would seem to be 'common-sense,' societies have poured human waste into streams, lakes, rivers, and seas for thousands of years. This problem is still so serious that death by diarrhea that is often caused by consuming water contaminated by human waste. It is a significant cause of death in developing countries and is the second most common cause of infant deaths worldwide.

When thinking of pollution air and water pollution come to mind.

Modern chemically-dependant society is causing severe problems never before encountered until recent times.

When I used to live in Fresno, California, I remember driving down to Los Angeles and noticing the highly polluted air between the two. And while I was viewing that, I heard a famous radio personality claim that humans were too insignificant to damage the planet via pollution. Apparently, he did not have eyes to see.

Consider, also, some of the human health problems caused by air pollution:

March 25, 2014

(CNN) — An estimated 7 million people died due to air pollution globally in 2012, with more than half of the deaths linked to indoor smoke from cook stoves, according to a report by the World Health Organization.

Air pollution is now the “single largest environmental health risk,” the U.N. health agency stated in the report. The majority of the deaths associated with air pollution were heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/25/health/who-air-pollution-deaths/

GENEVA — The World Health Organization reports air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. A new report finds seven million people died from exposure to air pollution in 2012, more than double the number previously estimated in 2008.

Air pollution is a global problem; the World Health Organization reports one in eight people around the world die from air pollution.  http://www.voanews.com/content/millions-die-every-year-from-air-pollution/1878179.html

January 22, 2104

Study: Chinese Exports Linked to US Pollution…according to a team of U.S. and Chinese researchers, the smog made in China does not stay there. Findings of their work published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicate the pollution is drifting across the Pacific Ocean and clouding air in the United States.

Focusing on 2006, the study finds that export industries produce one-third of China’s sulfur dioxide, one-fourth of its nitrogen oxides, one-fourth of its carbon monoxide, and one-sixth of its black carbon…

Using atmospheric models, the researchers determined that as much as a quarter of the sulfur dioxide polluting the air over the western United States that year came from China.

California Air Resources Board officials say the Los Angeles area had 120 excessive-ozone days in 2006, of which, atmospheric models indicate, Chinese pollution contributed to two extra days…But the pollution did not stop at the West Coast. Chinese emissions also added two non-compliant days in Chicago and the surrounding areas, which had fewer than 10 in 2006, and regions on the East Coast were affected as well.  http://www.voanews.com/content/study-shows-chinese-exports-linked-to-us-pollution/1835603.html

For those who think that Chinese pollution is a problem limited to Chinese air and water, that is not truly so. India has the highest death rate from air pollution. Furthermore, polluted Chinese rivers flow into the ocean, and thus affect everyone. Furthermore, polluted Chinese air directly affects neighboring countries in Asia, such as South Korea and Japan (see also China’s smog choking Japan). In addition, I recall seeing a report some time back that if Chinese air pollution continued growing at the rate it had been that the West Coast of the USA would have unhealthy particulate pollution levels just from what comes across the the ocean from China, even if there was no human caused pollution in California, for example. The threat from Chinese air pollution is that serious.

Water pollution is a big problem as well.

Jan 09, 2013

To drink or not to drink? That is the question for Beijing residents, according to water quality expert Zhao Feihong.

Her answer: No. She advises anyone who can afford it to switch to bottled water, claiming it is a safer alternative.

“I have not drunk tap water for 20 years,” said Zhao, a researcher on drinking water at the Beijing Healthcare Association. “The capital’s water has gotten more polluted in recent years.”

Many of her friends and relatives also shun tap water because of health concerns, she said.

“In the past we used to drink directly from Miyun Reservoir (on the outskirts of the city), which was built in 1958 and is one of the largest in North China,” she said. “The water quality at the reservoir at that time was on a par with Germany, which has strict standards for surface water. But not now.”  http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2013-01/09/content_16098958.htm

Jan 08, 2013

SHANGHAI – The seepage of chemicals into a river connecting two northern Chinese provinces is the latest accident to highlight the country’s serious water-pollution problem and to raise doubts about whether the authorities acted quickly to raise the alarm.

Nearly 40 tonnes of a chemical compound called aniline used in manufacturing and agriculture leaked into a disused reservoir and a local river in Shanxi province after a pipe burst late last month, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.

Almost a quarter of that amount moved into the Zhouzhang River and flowed east towards neighbouring Hebei province, prompting the authorities in one city to cut off drinking water and those elsewhere to go on alert…

Water pollution is a serious problem in China, with rubbish blamed for clogging dams, refineries for damaging marine life and fertilisers for ruining aquifers. Acute shortages of water through much of the country have been worsened by industrial accidents and often slow reporting by polluters. http://www.todayonline.com/World/China/EDC130108-0000016/Chemical-spill-highlights-Chinas-water-pollution-problem

The oceans are so vast and deep that until fairly recently, it was widely assumed that no matter how much trash and chemicals humans dumped into them, the effects would be negligible. Proponents of dumping in the oceans even had a catchphrase: "The solution to pollution is dilution."

Today, we need look no further than the New Jersey-size dead zone that forms each summer in the Mississippi River Delta, or the thousand-mile-wide swath of decomposing plastic in the northern Pacific Ocean to see that this "dilution" policy has helped place a once flourishing ocean ecosystem on the brink of collapse.

Pollution's Many Forms

There is evidence that the oceans have suffered at the hands of mankind for millennia, as far back as Roman times. But recent studies show that degradation, particularly of shoreline areas, has accelerated dramatically in the past three centuries as industrial discharge and runoff from farms and coastal cities has increased.

Pollution is the introduction of harmful contaminants that are outside the norm for a given ecosystem. Common man-made pollutants that reach the ocean include pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, detergents, oil, sewage, plastics, and other solids. Many of these pollutants collect at the ocean's depths, where they are consumed by small marine organisms and introduced into the global food chain. Scientists are even discovering that pharmaceuticals ingested by humans but not fully processed by our bodies are eventually ending up in the fish we eat.

Many ocean pollutants are released into the environment far upstream from coastlines. Nitrogen-rich fertilizers applied by farmers inland, for example, end up in local streams, rivers, and groundwater and are eventually deposited in estuaries, bays, and deltas. These excess nutrients can spawn massive blooms of algae that rob the water of oxygen, leaving areas where little or no marine life can exist. Scientists have counted some 400 such dead zones around the world.

Solid waste like bags, foam, and other items dumped into the oceans from land or by ships at sea are frequently consumed, with often fatal effects, by marine mammals, fish, and birds that mistake it for food. Discarded fishing nets drift for years, ensnaring fish and mammals. In certain regions, ocean currents corral trillions of decomposing plastic items and other trash into gigantic, swirling garbage patches. One in the North Pacific, known as the Pacific Trash Vortex, is estimated to be the size of Texas. A new, massive patch was discovered in the Atlantic Ocean in early 2010. (Marine Pollution. National Geographic. http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/critical-issues-marine-pollution/ viewed 03/26/14) 

Worldwide, water and air pollution are big problems. They did not originate in China, but China's problems in the 21st century related to it are becoming more and more obvious.

Humans are not properly tending the Earth. They are destroying it. And they will be judged for it:

18 The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth. (Revelation 11:18)

Pollution, which tends to be caused by greed and/or ignorance (which is not always intentional), is destroying the Earth.

Plastic Pollution of the Oceans

More and more plastic trash is being dumped into the world's oceans:

February 13, 2015
The world's oceans are clogged with plastic debris, but how much of it finds its way into the seas annually? Enough to place the equivalent of five grocery bags full of plastic trash on every foot (30 cm) of every nation's coastline around the globe. That's according to scientists who released research on Thursday estimating that a staggering 8 million metric tones of plastic pollution enter the oceans each year from the world's 192 coastal countries based on 2010 data.  http://www.dnaindia.com/world/report-china-responsible-30-of-ocean-plastic-pollution-every-year-2060591
WASHINGTON—The world's oceans are clogged with plastic debris, but how much of it finds its way into the seas annually? Enough to place the equivalent of five grocery bags full of plastic trash on every foot (30 centimeters) of every nation's coastline around the globe.

That's according to scientists who released research Thursday estimating that a staggering 8 million metric tons of plastic pollution enters the oceans each year from the world's 192 coastal countries, based on 2010 data.

Based on rising waste levels, they estimated that more than 9 million tons would end up in the oceans in 2015.

Experts have sounded the alarm in recent years over how plastic pollution is killing huge numbers of seabirds, marine mammals, sea turtles and other creatures while sullying ocean ecosystems.

China was responsible for the most ocean plastic pollution per year with an estimated 2.4 million tons, about 30 percent of the global total, followed by Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Egypt, Malaysia, Nigeria and Bangladesh.

The United States was the only rich industrialized nation in the top 20, and it ranked No. 20. Coastal EU nations combined would rank 18th.

The trash encompasses just about anything imaginable made of plastic, including shopping bags, bottles, toys, food wrappers, fishing gear, cigarette filters, sunglasses, buckets and toilet seats.

"In short, you name it and it is probably somewhere in the marine environment,'' said Kara Lavender Law, a research professor of oceanography with the Massachusetts-based Sea Education Association.

The estimates were based on information including World Bank data for trash generated per person in all nations with a coastline, coastal population density, the amount of plastic waste countries produce and the quality of their waste-management practices.

"I think this is a wake-up call for how much waste we produce,'' said University of Georgia environmental engineering professor Jenna Jambeck.

The researchers calculated that 275 million tons of plastic waste was generated in the 192 coastal countries in 2010, with an estimated 8 million tons entering the ocean and a possible  range of 4.8 million to 12.7 million tons.

"The most pressing need is to capture plastic waste to prevent it from entering the environment,'' Law said. "This means investing in waste management infrastructure, especially in those countries with rapidly developing economies.  http://www.voanews.com/content/reu-plastic-trash-world-oceans/2641684.html

The amount of plastic refuse being dumped in the oceans is both staggering and harmful.

Notice also the following:

Once waterborne, debris becomes mobile. Flotsam can be blown by the wind, or follow the flow of ocean currents, often ending up in the middle of oceanic gyres where currents are weakest. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is one such example of this, comprising a vast region of the North Pacific Ocean rich with anthropogenic wastes. Estimated to be double the size of Texas, the area contains more than 3 million tons of plastic. The gyre contains approximately six pounds of plastic for every pound of plankton. The oceans may contain as much as one hundred million tons of plastic. Islands situated within gyres frequently have coastlines flooded by waste that washes ashore; prime examples are Midway and Hawaii. (Marine Debris. Wikipedia, viewed 02/13/15)

No one should put plastic trash in the oceans.

Pollution affects the environment and also has affects on the weather.

What should Christians do about it?

Christians are in the world (John 17:11, but not of it (John 17:14). We do not have to live as hermits outside the world as we are to be lights for the world (Matthew 5:14-16). This, from a practical perspective, means that while we will drive cars, etc., we do not intentionally cause excessive pollution and we obey God's laws.

But most humans refuse to do so. The situation on the Earth is going to be so bad that unless God intervened, humans would have destroyed all human flesh:

22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened. (Matthew 24:22)

As Christians, something Jesus instructed us to do that appears related to the spiritual and physical pollution in the world, is to pray:

9 Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:9-10)

20 He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming quickly."

Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)

The time for Jesus' return and the establishment of the Kingdom of God is getting nearer.

In the 20th century, more began to be realized about modern chemicals and pollution:

We are dosing the environment with materials that poison virtually everything. Some of these poisons are extremely persistent and are absolutely everywhere! (Ehrlich P. Our Environmental Crisis. Plain Truth magazine, 1970)

Yet, the production and release of environmental pollutants has continued (though some have been reduced).

Birds and Bees

There are reports of problems with populations of birds and bees around the world.

Here is one about blackbirds:

July 5, 2014

Bob Meese...has spent the last decade studying the tri-colored blackbird, which once numbered in the millions.

The decline, Meese says, is unprecedented based on surveys coordinated by him and his team at the University of California, Davis.

In 2008, the state was home to 400,000 tri-colored blackbirds. Today, there are only 145,000 - a 64 percent loss in just six years.

"There are parts of the state where the birds seem to be disappearing altogether," Meese said.

Meese is now catching the birds so he can tag them and track their movements. He believes the birds' natural habitats are being increasingly turned into farmland and vineyards, which rely on pesticides that kill off the very insects they feast on.

"If they do not have enough insects in their diet, they simply cannot form eggs," Meese said.

So Meese is trying to convince growers to give up pesticides

"The blackbirds could act as a natural insecticide," Meese said. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/california-blackbird-population-at-grave-risk/

The tri-colored blackbird population was noted as being in decline in the 1980s, and steps were taken in the 1990s.  The population started to go back up, but according to the report above, they have declined significantly in the past six years.  Dramatic drops in bird populations should be a concern.

There are also concerns about the loss of bees in certain parts of the world. 

The rate of deaths of bees has increased in the USA and is putting the food supply at risk of decimation. Here is a report from May 2014:

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health report they’ve found two widely utilized insecticides, of a class known as neonicotinoids, apparently cause significant harm to the colonies during the winter, and the colder the winter the greater the harm.

The phenomenon of dying bees in their hives has been given the name CCD, for Colony Collapse Disorder

The insecticides can cause bees to forsake their hives in winter, leading to their eventual death, the researchers said in their study published in the Bulletin of Insectology.

The researchers focused on honeybee colonies at locations in Massachusetts in the winter of 2012-13, monitoring 18 colonies for exposure to the insecticides and the eventual fate of each.

“We demonstrated again in this study that neonicotinoids are highly likely to be responsible for triggering CCD in honeybee hives that were healthy prior to the arrival of winter,” said lead author Chensheng (Alex) Lu, an expert on environmental exposure effects in biology.

Bees are the prime pollinators for around a third of most crops around the world, with some estimates putting that figure at 80 percent for crops in the United States, making CCD and its resulting significant depletion of honeybees a concern, the researchers say.  http://www.techtimes.com/articles/6798/20140510/pesticides-and-colder-winters-triggered-collapse-of-honeybee-colonies.htm

The UK has a similar problem and some of the chemicals that have been implicated in killing bees are produced by Syngenta, a company big in the production of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). In June 2014, US President Obama ordered an investigation into the loss of bees. 

The USA and UK are at risk of food shortages if the bee situation gets much worse. The effects of GMOs, pesticides, and agricultural chemicals are more complicated than many realize, and this study related to bees helps demonstrate this.

Some have called this decimation a ‘bee apocalypse’–and that could very well be a step towards the real apocalypse and the start of the Great Tribulation of Matthew 24:21.

But, why be so concerned about bees? Basically because bees are necessary for the pollenization of many plants that humans eat. Losing bees could be devastating.

Overall, humans need bees much more that bees physically need humans. Bees are necessary for the pollenization of many plants that humans eat. Wikipedia states:

It is estimated that one third of the human food supply depends on insect pollination, most of which is accomplished by bees, especially the domesticated European honey bee.

One third of human food possibly being dependent upon bees is a significant percentage. Losing half the bees could be devastating--and a report that 80% are an issue should be a concern.

Between the widespread and growing use of genetically modified (GMO) “foods,” pesticides, herbicides, and synthesized sweeteners, countries like the USA and UK are putting themselves at risk for the famines which are certain to come. Losing bees perhaps should be a sign that things are beginning to worsen.

At some time, famine will come to the USA and UK and many will die from it:

15 ‘So it shall be a reproach, a taunt, a lesson, and an astonishment to the nations that are all around you, when I execute judgments among you in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I, the Lord, have spoken. 16 When I send against them the terrible arrows of famine which shall be for destruction, which I will send to destroy you, I will increase the famine upon you and cut off your supply of bread. 17 So I will send against you famine and wild beasts, and they will bereave you. Pestilence and blood shall pass through you, and I will bring the sword against you. I, the Lord, have spoken.’ (Ezekiel 5:15-17)

The environment does matter.

What About Autism and Pollution?

Autism seems to be affected by our modern polluted society.

Notice the following:

November 27, 2012

Children with autism are two to three times more likely than other children to have been exposed to car exhaust, smog, and other air pollutants during their earliest days, according to a new study.

That new research adds to a mounting body of evidence that shows a link between early-life exposure to pollution and autism spectrum disorders…

“We’re not saying that air pollution causes autism. We’re saying it may be a risk factor for autism,” says Heather Volk, lead author on the new study and an assistant professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California…In particular, she says, genetic differences may leave some children more susceptible than others to the effects of damaging environmental stimuli such as air pollutants. http://healthland.time.com/2012/11/27/autism-and-air-pollution-the-link-grows-stronger/#ixzz2DQqWwoK8

While I do not believe that air pollution is the only cause of autism, it certainly is a risk factor.  Humans, in general, have been too willing to pollute the environment, including the air, water, ground, and food supply.  There are consequences to those and other behaviors (Galatians 6:7-8; Romans 1:18-32).

Notice the following news report:

February 14, 2014

Experts are calling for a targeted strategy to restrict the use of toxic industrial chemicals, which they say are causing a “silent pandemic” of brain disorders in children worldwide.  Scientists are urging action as more so-called neurotoxins have been identified but remain largely unregulated.

A rise in the number of pediatric brain disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, cerebral palsy and autism, may be the result of increased use of unregulated toxic chemicals around the world.

In the past seven years, researchers have identified six new chemicals that have been shown to be capable of damaging the brains of developing human fetuses and young children. The discovery brings to twelve the number of confirmed neurotoxins.  Experts estimate one in six children worldwide suffers from a neurodevelopmental disorder.

Pediatrician Philip Landrigan, chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, said exposure to neurotoxic chemicals was a serious problem that has reached pandemic proportions.

“Injury to the human brain in early life leads to problems like loss of IQ, shortening of attention span, behavioral problems.  And these effects by and large tend to be permanent,” he said.

Pouring over scientific literature and hundreds of studies, Landrigan, along with the University of Southern Denmark’s Phillipe Grandjean, found the number of chemicals suspected of causing neurodevelopmental problems in children has also risen, from 202 to 214.  They said there were some 80,000 industrial chemicals in widespread use which have never been tested for safety.

The toxins include fire retardants used in mattresses, draperies, carpets, clothing and toys, and solvents in cleaning agents.

The researchers are calling on countries to pass strong laws requiring companies to test chemicals before they may be marketed, as is required of all new drugs.   http://www.voanews.com/content/toxic-chemicals-blamed-for-silent-pandemic-of-brain-disorders-in-children/1852000.html

Urban areas are toxic as are many rural areas.  Diet and other factors can worsen this and likely increase the risk for autism. Even synthetic vitamins, like folic acid (which is ALWAYS synthetic), has been linked to autism by Johns Hopkins, a respected medical research facility.

The widespread and growing use of genetically modified (GMO) “foods,” pesticides, herbicides, synthetic vitamins, combined with air and other environmental pollution, including exposure to huge amounts of plastics, etc. puts a toxic load on the human body that seems to increase the risk for autism.

What About "Climate Change"?

Many believe that humans are contributing to something called "climate change." Many of the same people used to call this "global warming," but since the weather is colder in some areas than it has been, they have tended to side with the term "climate change."

Can human activities affect the climate?

Well, certainly they can on a micro-level. Planting a lot of trees in barron areas tends to increase rainfall, whereas removing a lot of trees can have the opposite effects.

What about fossil fuels? Certainly burning a lot of anything can affect things.

But what if the real cause is sin?

Many do not wish to consider this, but consider the following:

7 "I also withheld rain from you, When there were still three months to the harvest. I made it rain on one city, I withheld rain from another city. One part was rained upon, And where it did not rain the part withered. 8 So two or three cities wandered to another city to drink water, But they were not satisfied; Yet you have not returned to Me," Says the Lord.
9 "I blasted you with blight and mildew. When your gardens increased, Your vineyards, Your fig trees, And your olive trees, The locust devoured them; Yet you have not returned to Me," Says the Lord.
10 "I sent among you a plague after the manner of Egypt; Your young men I killed with a sword, Along with your captive horses; I made the stench of your camps come up into your nostrils; Yet you have not returned to Me," Says the Lord.
11 "I overthrew some of you, As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, And you were like a firebrand plucked from the burning; Yet you have not returned to Me," Says the Lord.
12 "Therefore thus will I do to you, O Israel; Because I will do this to you, Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!"
13 For behold, He who forms mountains, And creates the wind, Who declares to man what his thought is, And makes the morning darkness, Who treads the high places of the earth — The Lord God of hosts is His name. (Amos 4:7-13)

Before the time of the Great Tribulation, Jesus said:

8 And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. (Mark 13:8)

And there have been troubles.

The Bible tells of weather-related blessings for obedience and weather-related curses for disobedience. Weather is not as random as many people seem to want to believe.

Back in 2009, my book, 2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect, I wrote that the following was about to happen:

Odd weather patterns result in food shortages and natural disasters. Matthew 24:7
The world is actually in a berserk transition, as the real age of peace is not yet here. It may be a period of chaos. It is the beginning of sorrows. Matthew 24:8

Record heat and odd weather problems should serve as a wake-up call. More on weather can be found in the article Weather Blessings and Sorrows.

Why did I write that?

Because Jesus said:

7 . . . And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Matthew 24:7-8)

We now seem to be in the time that Jesus referred to as "the beginning of sorrows." The "the beginning of sorrows" comes just before, the Great Tribulation (see also
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin?).

United Nations and Pope Francis

Instead of looking to the Kingdom of God, and the millennial reign of Jesus Christ to fix the climate, many world and religious leaders look to the United Nations and international cooperation to solve the climate and other issues on planet Earth.

This appeals to many.

Pope Francis even gave the keynote address to the United Nations in 2015 the day it adopted the another environmental plan--he also applauded the approval:

September 25, 2015

UNITED NATIONS (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – World leaders on Friday adopted the most sweeping agenda ever of global goals to combat poverty, inequality and climate change, capping years of debate and saying now is the time for “a little less conversation, a little more action.”Described by the United Nations secretary-general as “a to-do list for people and planet,” the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, are to be implemented over the next 15 years with a big global push to win public and political support.

The 193 U.N. member nations formally adopted the goals in the shadow of the worst refugee crisis since World War II, calling for shared peace and prosperity.

Pope Francis called the adoption of the SDGs “an important sign of hope.”

“Solemn commitments, however, are not enough, even though they are a necessary step toward solutions,” said the Pope as the Vatican flag flew for the first time outside the United Nations where security was heightened for his visit.

He said world leaders must follow through with “a will which is effective, practical, constant, with concrete steps and immediate measures” to protect the environment and end social and economic exclusion. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/26/us-development-goals-adoption-idUSKCN0RP2FL20150926.

Here is some of the UN's adopted goals:

While many consider that this is good news, this is a false gospel (see also United Nations: Humankind's Last Hope or New World Order?). Of course, it will fail--(even though the time for a temporal peace deal will come per Daniel 9:27; see also The 'Peace Deal' of Daniel 9:27). Even the UN declared above that its earlier "Millennium Development Goals" did not succeed. The difference now is that we have seen changes in the world as well as a pontiff who is more directly involved in endorsing this.

As far as Pope Francis goes, he basically laid much of this out in his encyclical titled Laudato Si. Here are some of his statements:

6. My predecessor Benedict XVI likewise proposed “eliminating the structural causes of the dysfunctions of the world economy and correcting models of growth which have proved incapable of ensuring respect for the environment”.[10] He observed that the world cannot be analyzed by isolating only one of its aspects, since “the book of nature is one and indivisible”, and includes the environment, life, sexuality, the family, social relations, and so forth. It follows that “the deterioration of nature is closely connected to the culture which shapes human coexistence”. …

7. These statements of the Popes echo the reflections of numerous scientists, philosophers, theologians and civic groups, all of which have enriched the Church’s thinking on these questions. Outside the Catholic Church, other Churches and Christian communities – and other religions as well – have expressed deep concern and offered valuable reflections on issues which all of us find disturbing. To give just one striking example, I would mention the statements made by the beloved Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, with whom we share the hope of full ecclesial communion.

8. Patriarch Bartholomew has spoken in particular of the need for each of us to repent of the ways we have harmed the planet, for “inasmuch as we all generate small ecological damage”, we are called to acknowledge “our contribution, smaller or greater, to the disfigurement and destruction of creation”. …

9. At the same time, Bartholomew has drawn attention to the ethical and spiritual roots of environmental problems, which require that we look for solutions not only in technology but in a change of humanity; otherwise we would be dealing merely with symptoms. He asks us to replace consumption with sacrifice, greed with generosity, wastefulness with a spirit of sharing, an asceticism which “entails learning to give, and not simply to give up. It is a way of loving, of moving gradually away from what I want to what God’s world needs. It is liberation from fear, greed and compulsion”.  …

18. The continued acceleration of changes affecting humanity and the planet is coupled today with a more intensified pace of life and work which might be called “rapidification”. Although change is part of the working of complex systems, the speed with which human activity has developed contrasts with the naturally slow pace of biological evolution. …

20. Some forms of pollution are part of people’s daily experience. Exposure to atmospheric pollutants produces a broad spectrum of health hazards, especially for the poor, and causes millions of premature deaths. People take sick, for example, from breathing high levels of smoke from fuels used in cooking or heating. There is also pollution that affects everyone, caused by transport, industrial fumes, substances which contribute to the acidification of soil and water, fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and agrotoxins in general. Technology, which, linked to business interests, is presented as the only way of solving these problems, in fact proves incapable of seeing the mysterious network of relations between things and so sometimes solves one problem only to create others. …

21. Account must also be taken of the pollution produced by residue, including dangerous waste present in different areas. Each year hundreds of millions of tons of waste are generated, much of it non-biodegradable, highly toxic and radioactive, from homes and businesses, from construction and demolition sites, from clinical, electronic and industrial sources.

While many people would prefer to believe otherwise, humanity is not going to solve the issues of climate, but instead bring the planet to the point of destruction (Matthew 24:21-22).

We Christians are not to live like the world which has no real hope (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:13), but improperly trusts in itself. We have the hope that Jesus will return and fix the environment that 'international cooperation' will not.

Rising Sea Levels?

Scientists reportedly have figured out what planet Earth will be like in 100 years and 10,000 years:

February 8, 2016

A large group of climate scientists has made a bracing statement in the journal Nature Climate Change, arguing that we are mistaken if we think global warming is only a matter of the next 100 years or so — in fact, they say, we are locking in changes that will play out over as many as 10,000 years. …

“It’s a statement of worry,” said Raymond Pierrehumbert, a geoscientist at Oxford University and one of the study’s authors. “And actually, most of us who have worked both on paleoclimate and the future have been terrified by the idea of doubling or quadrupling CO2 right from the get-go.”

“In hundreds of years from now, people will look back and say, ‘yeah, the sea level is rising, it will continue to rise, we live with a constant rise of sea level because of these people 200 years ago that used coal, and oil, and gas,’” said Anders Levermann, a sea level rise expert at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and one of the paper’s authors. “If you just look at this, it’s stunning that we can make such a long-lasting impact that has the same magnitude as the ice ages.”

The key reason for this is that carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for a very long time before being slowly removed again by natural processes. “A considerable fraction of the carbon emitted to date and in the next 100 years will remain in the atmosphere for tens to hundreds of thousands of years,” the study noted. Meanwhile, the planet’s sea levels adjust gradually to its rising temperature over thousands of years.

So what will the world look like in 10,000 years, thanks to us? That really depends on what we do in the next few hundred years with the fossil fuels to which we have relatively easy access. … In 10,000 years, if we totally let it rip, the planet could ultimately be an astonishing 7 degrees Celsius warmer on average and feature seas 52 meters (170 feet) higher than they are now. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/02/08/what-the-earth-will-be-like-in-10000-years-according-to-scientists/

Are these scientists right on some or any of this? Is humanity about to be plagued by rising sea levels? If so, will this remain a problem for 10,000 years?

What does the Bible teach?

The Bible does tell of a time of high heat and rising sea levels. Notice the following two prophecies:

12 I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. 13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. 14 Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place (Revelation 6:12-14).

17 Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. 19 Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. 20 Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21 And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great (Revelation 16:17-21).

However, as pointed out above, massive earthquakes, not CO2 emissions will be the cause.  It is not that air pollution is not a concern, as it very may well be a factor in rising ocean levels, but it is not THE cause that will really affect sea levels like various scientists claim.

Notice what is foretold in the writings of Jeremiah and Haggai:

41 Oh, how the praise of the whole earth is seized! How Babylon has become desolate among the nations! 42 The sea has come up over Babylon; She is covered with the multitude of its waves. 43 Her cities are a desolation, A dry land and a wilderness, A land where no one dwells, Through which no son of man passes. 44 I will punish Bel in Babylon, And I will bring out of his mouth what he has swallowed; And the nations shall not stream to him anymore. Yes, the wall of Babylon shall fall. 45 “My people, go out of the midst of her! And let everyone deliver himself from the fierce anger of the LORD (Jeremiah 51:41-45).

6 “For thus says the LORD of hosts: “Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land (Haggai 2:6).

Again, it appears that earthquakes, from God, will be the main cause. Now, there also will be high heat, but not the way many scientists predict::

8 Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. 9 And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory (Revelation 16:8-9).

These scriptures are expected to be fulfilled in the 21st century.

What will happen next century?

We should be in the millennium where God will cause the land to produce in abundance, etc.  The planet will be like be like the Garden of Eden:

35 ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’ (Ezekiel 36:35)

But what about 10,000 years from now? Will human pollution from the 20th and 21st century affect the planet then as scientists are saying?

No.

Consider the following:

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.  11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, (2 Peter 3:10-11)

If that is not persuasive enough, consider the following:

1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. (Revelation 21:1)

Those who believe and understand the Bible realize that scientists are wrong to think that the rise of the sea will be a problem in 10,000 because of CO2 and other pollution now.

It is not that there are not problems now, but the hope for humanity is NOT an international agreement to stop the burning of fossil fuels, but the return of Jesus and the establishment of the millennialKingdom of God on the Earth. After a time, that will be followed by the final phase of the Kingdom of God as Revelation 21 describes.

Many scientists do not believe the Bible nor in the Creator God, thus, they overlook the foundation of knowledge.

10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)

7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)

While scientists are smart in certain physical areas, their overlooking the Bible causes many to reach conclusions that are simply not fully accurate. The Bible warns about many who learn information, but fail to realize the truth:

3 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:1-7)

It is not just scientist that fit into the above about “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth”–nearly all who profess to be Christians fall in that specific category, and the vast majority of actual Christians in these end times fail to see the truth about themselves according to Jesus (Revelation 3:14-22).

After Jesus returns humans will live God’s way of life on this Earth and it will prosper (see also Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism?). Humans do not need a physical change of planets, but spiritual change–change that will come about keeping God’s laws of love.

While humanity will get close to destroying itself in this age, Divine intervention, which is alien to people such as Dr. Hawking, will intervene and save humanity (see also Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism?).

Rising sea levels caused by modern pollution will simply not be a problem 10,000 years from now.

The Bible, the Earth, and Pollution

In the Old Testament, much of the land was prohibited from being permanently sold:

23 'The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me. 24 And in all the land of your possession you shall grant redemption of the land. (Leviticus 25:23-24)

Essentially, families would get their land back every fifty years. If you are getting land back, you are more careful about destroying or polluting it. But as this rule is no longer followed, many think nothing of dumping toxic chemicals in many places, including sometimes lands their companies own.

The Bible is clear that greed and various lusts cause problems including death (James 4:1-3). Christians are to be delivered from the powers of darkness that now dominate the world:

13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)

Certain amounts of industrial pollution happen because many do not take seriously enough what has been called the 'golden rule':

12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

Instead, many live by the rule, whoever has the gold rules. But that way leads to death.

Christians are to love their neighbors:

37 "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:37-40)

One does not show love for one's neighbor by polluting the neighbors air, land, or water supply.

The creation is groaning under the weight of sin, but Christians will help restore it:

19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. (Romans 8:19-22)

This will happen with the return of Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). All things were created through and for Jesus (Colossians 1:15-20). And the world will be purged and a new, unpolluted, earth will be here:

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:10-13)

Consider that the Bible tells of a great time to come:

9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9)

25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
The lion shall eat straw like the ox,
And dust shall be the serpent's food.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,"
Says the Lord. (Iaiah 65:25)

Although the above will not happen until the millennium (see also Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism?), God has clearly placed humans in a position of responsibility and dominion over the creation in this age (Genesis 2:15).

And while some may argue that humans are more important than the rest of the creation, we should not be hostile to the creation. Many of pollution issues affect our environmental and negatively impact people.

As far as living as a Christian, a rule that I try to live by is "waste less, want less." We all have wants, but the less we waste, the less we excessively contribute to various types of pollution.

We should have proper concern for the environment and live as Christian stewards.

Remember, God is going to come to destroy those that destroy the Earth (Revelation 11:18).

Here is a link to a related sermon: Christians and the Environment.

Thiel B. The Bible, Christians, and the Environment. http://www.cogwriter.com/christians-environment.htm (c) 2014/2015/2016 0625

There is a YouTube video available titled Air Pollution, Autism, and Prophecy.

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