The recent statements by Pope Francis on global warming have been welcomed by many politicians and environmental campaigners. When a world leader, such as the Pope, adds his voice to a cause, it is bound to have an effect on the issue.
The Vatican has issued a 192-page “encyclical” document, blaming global warming on consumerism and greed. It calls on a new partnership between science and religion to combat human-driven climate change.
Quoting the Washington Post:
““The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth,” Francis wrote, blaming a toxic cocktail of overconsumption, consumerism, dependence on fossil fuels and the errant indifference of the powerful and wealthy. He described a hell on Earth should nothing be done, one filled with more methane and carbon dioxide, acidification of oceans and the crippling of the global food supply.”
This all begs several questions:
- Should Christians get involved in such campaigns?
- Is that the Pope’s job or primary concern?
- How does this fit with the Bible view of the future of this planet?
It is our view that we should always look to the Bible for guidance, as we believe this to be the Word of God.
A different view
The Pope believes that if Humankind does nothing, the planet will become a “hell on earth”. But who is in charge of this planet? Will God permit the earth to be treated in this way?
The Bible says:
“For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who has established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord, and there is no other” (Isa 45:18 NKJB)
Clearly then, Christians should have confidence that no matter what Humankind does to the planet, God will not allow it to be destroyed, or become a wasteland – he “formed it to be inhabited”.
A different role
Should the Pope – or other Christians – spend their time in social or political campaigning?
Christians should certainly do what they can to help preserve the planet. We should respect what God has given to us. However after giving praise and glory to God in the highest, one of the prime directives is to spread the Gospel. Getting involved in other social issues detracts from this important task.
We know from the Bible that the Earth in its present condition is only temporary and will be “made new” (Revelation 21:1). Hundreds, if not thousands of people die every day, never having heard the Gospel message. Is it not more important – especially for a church leader – to be imitators of Jesus and spend our time preaching? Describing the role that Jesus himself took 2000 years ago, the Bible says:
““The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me (Jesus), because He (God) has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed”. (Luke 4:18 NKJV)
With preaching and caring for the sick etc, there is plenty to keep a Christian busy, without getting involved in politics and world affairs. To be a Christian we need to follow the example of Jesus himself, who avoided politics and world affairs, concentrating his efforts on preaching the “good news” about the coming Kingdom of God, while healing and helping those in need.
If we did manage somehow to make this world a better place, the “un-saved” will enjoy it for the rest of their lifetimes. But if they come to Christ and are baptized, they will enjoy a perfect earth for all eternity, free from the warfare and worries that now fill our daily news.
Which should be the highest priority for true Christians: to campaign on issues like Climate Change, or to convert more to the true Christian faith, giving them a reliable hope for the future?