We are tonight going to look together at a very, very significant issue in our time in connection in a series that we’re doing on the end of the universe. When I first started to prepare this, I thought I would do one message, and then I thought it might extend to another. And in thinking about this and wanting to be as helpful to you as I can possibly be, I realized that there may be more to this than we can cover even tonight. But I want to begin where we should begin and that is to begin with the Scripture.
There is reigning among us, like some kind of sovereign ideology these days, the notion that we as human beings are in charge of the future of this planet. That whether or not there is an earth thousands of years from now depends on us. That somehow if we are to preserve this planet, we have to change our behavior in a significant way. We are all very much aware of the fact that we are living in a world that is trying to go green. That’s kind of the idea. There is even now a standard green color that you’re going to find showing up on all kinds of products, unrelated really or perhaps sometimes related to environmental issues, just to relentlessly put before you the necessary realization that we need to do everything we can to keep the planet green and not destroy it. The assumption is that we have the power to do that. We have the opportunity to do that. We have the stupidity to do that. And if we’re not corrected and redirected, we will do that.
There have always been doomsday prophets. There were people in the past who told us that the earth was going to be overrun by extraterrestrials. Scientists got together and even developed a formula, called the Drake Formula, for the existence of extraterrestrials, a very sophisticated mathematical formula. They put on such a case that people actually began to live in some kind of anticipation, if not fear, of the invasion of extraterrestrial. During the cold war, people like Carl Sagan and others who were public relations quasi-scientists, rather than real scientists, convinced the world, the western world that we were on the brink of a nuclear holocaust, and if a couple of nuclear bombs were set off, it would absolutely destroy the planet. That it would not be able to recover, that its temperature would drop 35 degrees and stay that way for a year with massive implications. All of this in the face of the fact that one year after dropping atom bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, melons began to grow in the very spot where the bombs landed. But people bought into the fear of that public relations, politically motivated, pseudoscience. And we’re now seeing the same thing coming at us again. Going back a little further, there was a time when, and I’ve read this on a number of occasions, people were warning that the United States of America was going to be neck-deep in horse manure because there were so many horses in the streets.
We find ways around things like that. It’s amazing how resilient human ingenuity and intelligence really is. It’s amazing that even in a fallen world we have made the massive advances that we’ve made for the preservation of life and the preservation of this planet. God has built into mankind a sense of responsibility that is really quite remarkable. Man, even unconverted man, is naturally the possessor of part of the image of God and a part of that image is the sense of stewardship. And we have overcome all of the supposed threats and real threats of the past with that human ingenuity so we’re not likely in the future, if we were left to ourselves, do the kinds of things that would end up destroying this planet. We make amazing adjustments.
And certainly we need to be stewards of the planet and its renewable resources that have been placed here by God for us. But recently we have another massive kind of pseudoscientific scare tactic that has literally taken over our thinking. It is the latest in the fads, the doomsday fads. And it is so sad to me to see that the evangelical world is sucking up this fad and using up its money and its time and its energy in an effort to save the earth. There is an Evangelical Environmental Network that produces something called the Creation Care magazine. The Evangelical Environmental Network put out a document that was signed by hundreds of evangelical leaders, many of them would be known to you by name – college presidents, seminary presidents, pastors, teachers, theologians, leaders of Christian organizations and ministries. And collectively they’ve all signed this document as a call to care for the planet, to heal the damaged fabric of the creation, and to work for the healing of creation. The bottom line is, they think that what is really the culprit is global warming. This is the main abuse of the planet by people.
Evangelicals have become obsessed with these environmental issues. When I say obsessed, I mean obsessed. Christianity Today, a leading magazine, came out in favor of a McCain/Lieberman global warming bill which the President opposed and the Senate rejected. One evangelical leader said, I quote, “The earth is God’s body and He wants us to look after it.” What in the world kind of theology is that? And then I recently, this week, received an advertisement for the newest study Bible. It’s called The Green Bible. And you will find it on CBD, with all the other Christian books. The product description is, “The definitive green movement Bible shows that God is green. The Green Bible equips and encourages you to see God’s vision for creation and helps you engage in the work of healing and sustaining creation.” Are you kidding me? I’m supposed to overturn the curse and take care of the planet? This Bible contains a thousand references to the earth, four hundred and ninety references to heaven, and five hundred and thirty references to love. Essays are from leading conservationists and theologians on how to read the Bible through a green lens. By the way, verses that speak of God’s care for creation are in green ink. There is a green topical index. There is a green Bible trail study guide. And this whole thing is printed on recycled paper, used a soy based ink, and has a cotton/linen cover. Please forgive me if I don’t buy this, even at $19.99.
I read this week an article by a collection of German churches who have openly and publicly in the German press repented for green sins. Green sins being adding to the carbon pollution. Now just to give you a little more into the insight into what this movement is saying, let me dig in to the evangelical declaration that comes from this organization. Here are their affirmations, “We have sinned in our stewardship of creation. Therefore we repent of the way we have polluted, distorted, and destroyed the Creator’s work.” That is an absurdity, folks. It is God Himself who placed a curse on this planet.
Here’s another statement. “We commit ourselves to extend Christ’s healing to the creation.” If you go back with me, you can go back to Genesis 3 for a moment, and when Adam sinned, God responded in verse 17 of Genesis with these words, “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 will return.” The curse was placed by God on the earth that caused it to be unsurvivable unless man went after the product of his own food, his own needs by the sweat of his brow from the beginning of his life to the end of his life. It is God who cursed the creation. Yes Romans 8 says the whole creation groans waiting for the glorious adoption, waiting for the glorious redemption of the children of God. We know the creation groans and it groans not because of what we’ve done to it, it groans because of what God has done to it. We need not repent of the way we have polluted, distorted and destroyed the Creator’s work. The Creator did this to His own work.
Another one of the affirmations in this document. “We confess the sins of land degradation. We confess the sins of deforestation and species distinction.” By the way, from what I read, one species goes out of existence every day somewhere on this planet of one kind or another. Part of the curse. “We confess the sins of water degradation.” I don’t know, you can come to my house. I think my land looks pretty good. Patricia has planted a beautiful garden and every single thing that grows in our garden God made - everything. And we like our house and it’s built out of wood, and I think God provided trees for that. And I really don’t know how to stop species extinction. And water degradation, I pledge to you that if you take a drink out of my faucet, it’ll be all right. I’m so thankful that men through the years have subdued the creation so that I can live in it.
“We confess the sins of global toxification. We confess the sins of alteration of the atmosphere.” You know, these are easy sins to confess. Right? Because no one person did any of this. This is kind of a happy list of confessions. The truth of the matter is, if you look at human history, what you have is you have land development. You have the usage of a continually replenished supply of forest. You have amazing, amazing surviving plants and animals and insects and birds and fish that flourish in our world and that provide a food chain which feeds us all. It’s amazing how society has developed the ability to clean water and purify water so we don’t die of the horrible diseases that past generations died of because of water that was deadly. Even the air is clean, relatively clean.
See, just the opposite is true. These are silly things to say and to make some kind of confession about them makes no sense at all. While you’re in Genesis, look at chapter 1 verse 26, “God said, ‘Let’s make man in our image according to our likeness. Let them rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, over the cattle, over all the earth, over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’” God gave man complete and total rule over all His creation for man’s own use. “And God created man in His own image,” verse 27, “in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them. And God blessed them and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply’ – have children – ‘and fill the earth.’” Isn’t that amazing? Fill it. It’s there for you to fill. “And subdue it” bring it completely under your control for your good. “And rule over the fish of the sea and [rule] over the birds of the air and [rule] over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Listen, folks, man is not an intruder in the creation. He is the king of the creation and it is all designed to be subdued by him, to be dominated by him for his own good and his own joy. The Lord has filled this earth with all things so that we can richly enjoy them. “‘I have given you,’ verse 29, ‘every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth and every tree which has fruit yielding seed. It shall be food for you. And to every beast of the earth and every bird of the sky and to everything that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food,’ and it was so. And God saw all that He had made and behold, it was very good.” But it was all for one purpose. That was for the benefit of man, all of it.
We closed our last discussion in chapter 8 of Genesis and verse 22. God has given this earth to man in its fullness, told man to subdue it, to rule over it and to fill it, to draw out of it and extract out of it all of its magnificent resources. You see a great description of that in Job 28, which is a picture of mining in the ancient world as they literally overturned the mountains. You could call that land degradation and deforestation to get the precious metals that were down deep in the bowels of the earth – Job 28. But the earth is designed for man so that man might know his Creator. And verse 22 of Genesis 8 says, while the earth remains, as long as this earth is here. There will be seed time and harvest. There will be cold and heat. There will be summer and winter and day and night, and they will not cease. This is the promise of God that the patterns of this earth will not change as long as the earth survives. And who is in charge of its termination? Not us. “The earth is the LORD’s,” Exodus 9:29. He’s in charge of it.
Some of their affirmations go like this, “Human poverty is a consequence of an environmental degradation.” That’s wrong. Human poverty is not a product of environmental degradation. Human poverty very often is a consequence of a failure to subdue creation. Why are people poor in Africa? Because they don’t subdue the creation. They don’t get control of the land. They don’t get control of the water. They don’t get control of the power. They don’t get control of the resources that are in the ground. Their poverty is directly related to the fact that there is no subduing that can produce the kind of environment in which you can live a life of safety. It’s opposite of what these people say.
Another affirmation, “The cosmos in all its beauty, wildness, and life-giving bounty is the work of our loving Creator.” That’s only half the story. The cosmos has beauty and it does give life and it is wild, but it is wild not just because God created it that way but because God cursed it, and we have to subdue its wildness. Another one of their affirmations, “Wasteland is increasing.” What are they looking at? Wasteland is increasing? What, in the last three months? Go back a hundred years and ask if that makes sense. Another affirmation, “God created it good, and we have corrupted it.” That’s not true. God created it good, and He cursed it. And we struggle to subdue it and it is an amazing, amazing affirmation against evolution, because monkeys don’t subdue anything, that men are unique. Look what we’ve done to this cursed planet. You want a little example of the curse? Turn off your water at home. Remove your electricity and let your yard go wherever it will go for about a year. Six months into that year, your neighbors will be prevailing upon you to sell and get out, because everybody else is working so hard to subdue the otherwise cursed creation.
All these things, signed by this massive list of evangelicals, fail to understand reality. Fifty-two percent of evangelical people support strict environmental sanctions. And the truth of the matter is, the only reason the earth isn’t absolutely uninhabitable is because men have worked so hard to subdue it. And where it is uninhabitable and people are exposed to natural disasters and famine, it’s because they haven’t subdued it. They don’t need less energy, they need more energy. So while the elitists are telling us to cut back energy because we have to reduce the carbon footprint, who suffers? The poor. What we need to do, and certainly if we name the name of Jesus Christ, is not sign some silly document that wants to cut back on the development of energy. We ought to sign a document that says let’s go everywhere in the world where people are exposed to the elements and exposed to the horrors of a life without energy, without power, without water, without electricity, without shelter, and let’s go there in the name of Jesus Christ and develop energy plants and develop industry there so they don’t have to live that way. It’s the opposite of the truth.
If it weren’t for human care, the earth would be uninhabitable. You try. Take your little backpack, wander up in the mountains, see how well you do. The most advanced societies in the world subdue the earth. Thank God for those who have even been able to subdue bacteria, viruses. Thank the Lord for the people in the government of the United States who work for so many years to develop the food and drug administration, so that we’re not at the mercy of unscrupulous people like those over in China who put poison into baby milk. And we’re protected by that. That’s part of subduing an otherwise toxic creation. We don’t need less development, we need more development. God intended us to use this planet to fill this planet for the benefit of man. Never was intended to be a permanent planet. It is a disposable planet. Christians ought to know that.
Yes its beauty can be seen. I’ve been everywhere on this planet, and I’ll tell you, it is a stunning and glorious thing to stand and look at a distance at the beauty of this planet. But the closer you get to it, the more deadly it becomes. I’ve seen the beauty of the great Alps, the Southern Alps and the Northern Alps. But I’ll tell you what, I don’t want to be up there by myself for a week. I’ve seen the beauty of the great deserts of the world, but I don’t want to be out there alone without water by myself. I want to be somewhere where there’s a building and that building has air conditioning and water. I want to go where people have subdued the creation. I’m not under any foolish assumptions that if we just let it go wild, we’ll preserve life. If you let it go, the wilder it is, the more deadly it is.
And if it weren’t for man, its riches would never be extracted. I thank the Lord for creating sheep but you can’t wear a sheep. This used to be a sheep. It did. This actually was made by a worm. Somebody subdued that worm. Who are you kidding? What kind of foolishness is this? These people are saying all this while they’re writing on paper taken from trees in a building made out of wood while they’re sipping their coffee that Juan somebody picked somewhere in Columbia, brought to the United States, and a whole bunch of people pressed it and bagged it, and they went to Starbucks and bought it. And they’re confessing the sins against the planet.
I really only want to live in a subdued earth and I want to see everything that God has put in this earth developed to its max. I was in South Africa at the De Beers diamond plant on one occasion and somebody said, “You know, if you like to get a diamond for your wife, this is a good place to get it because they just dig them out of the ground down here. And I know the guy that works there, and this would be a wonderful place to do that.” This was a number of years ago. And I even at the moment thought about – a diamond? And you ladies are looking down at the one on your finger, if you’re so fortunate. Is that necessary? Did God have to put that in the planet? Did God have to – is that necessary? How about a ruby? Is that necessary? How about a sapphire? Is that really necessary? How about all the colors? Are they necessary? Where did that diamond come from that you wear so happily on your finger?
Could you imagine how that was extracted in South Africa by some people who were little more than slaves? And then somebody polished it and cut it. Somebody transported it and flew it off somewhere, and it ended up in the hands of some craftsman who stuck it in a ring, and you put it on your finger. And when you look at that, what do you say? “Oh, forgive me, Lord. Forgive me.” You say, “Lord, what a world You made.” Right? What a world You made? This is stunning. This is magnificent. God loves jewelry, because heaven is full of them, all over the place in heaven. Transparent gold streets, huge jewels, pearl gates. I say, “Get all the pearls you can. Dig up all the diamonds you can. Get all the natural resources you can, the replenishable resources, natural gas and oil and everything that God has put in this planet. It’s an absolutely staggering little piece that’s floating around in infinite space.
You say, but in the process aren’t we polluting the atmosphere? Aren’t we responsible for pollution by all of this manufacturing, all of this energy development by using fluorocarbons and hair spray and whatever? Aren’t we all doing this? Don’t we all need to take responsibility? And isn’t it affecting the temperature? Well look, first of all, I’m not the expert on any of this, so I’ve had to do some work to figure all this out. Here’s a good start. Caltech, a fairly trustworthy scientific place at the top, really. Caltech Michelin Lecture and in this lecture given by Michael Crichton, he says some very interesting things about global warming. He says, “The fact that the scientific community does not rise up and protest the false science of global warming means they have been politicized or post modernized, and there’s a crack in the scientific door and pernicious garbage is seeping in.” That is a pretty serious statement to make at Caltech.
This is not science. “The ploy,” he says in this lecture, “used by postmodern politicized pseudoscience is consensus science.” What is consensus science? It goes like this. “A large group of scientists agree” – oh, is that how you do science? By vote? He says this, “Consensus science is not science. It is extremely pernicious. It is the first refuge of scoundrels. And it is the way to shut down debate and real science. When you hear consensus of scientists agree on anything, you have been conned. Grab your wallet. It’s going to cost you.” He goes on to say, “The work of science has nothing to do with consensus. Science requires only one investigator and researcher who has found the facts.” Consensus is irrelevant. If it is consensus, it is not science. Consensus is invoked only in situations where there is a political, social, financial agenda without scientific support.
“For example,” he says, “no one says the consensus of a large number of scientists is that E=MC2.” You don’t say that about that, because that’s a fact. You don’t need a consensus. You would never hear this, “The consensus of a large number of scientists is that the sun is 93 million miles from the earth.” That’s a fact. The consensus has nothing to do with it. You don’t vote on facts. You find them by the scientific methodology. He goes on to say, “Once you’ve abandoned strict adherence to science, anything is possible as people are unscrupulous and manipulate for their own ends.” And all scientists know this. Skepticism is the soul of science. Skepticism is the soul of science, not consensus – anti-consensus.
There was a Danish scientist by the name of Lomborg, a few years back, who wrote a very important book published by Cambridge called The Skeptical Environmentalist. That’s right. A scientist wrote a book called The Skeptical Environmentalist and debunked all the environmental pseudoscience. He was vilified as a heretic by Scientific American Journal. He was outside the bounds of the game. So folks, whenever you hear about a consensus of scientists, you know there’s no evidence.
Now what about some facts. Well as far as we know, we’ve only been measuring this for a few decades. The earth’s temperature is up about a degree. What does that prove? That it’s up a degree – that’s a scientific fact – from where it was 30, 40 years ago. As best we can tell, from 1940 to 1970 it was cooler than it’s been from 70 to the present. So it has gotten a little warmer. But we really don’t know how many times that’s happened in the past, because we don’t have any way to measure that. We do know that in the Middle Ages – don’t have temperatures for it, of course – but there was a period which all agreed was called the Little Ice Age because everything was very cold, it seemed. So the temperature is up one degree.
To extrapolate from that that 200 years from now it’s going to be up 20 degrees and the polar caps are going to melt and drown all the world, there’s no legitimate science to indicate that whatsoever. It fluctuates up and down and the best science and the latest science – this is important – tells us there is a direct correlation between sun spots and climate changes, and sun spots are visible and discernable. So that solar variations drive temperature. The sun is the source of temperature changes with its infrared variations, which are discernable. They can see them. And by the way, there is absolutely no scientific evidence that CO2 or carbon contributes to warming – none – no evidence. Actually the opposite appears to be true.
Here’s how it works, and I’ve reduced this to a layman’s level. The sun gets hotter. It fluctuates. It gets hotter at some times than other times. As the sun gets hotter, it warms the oceans. As the oceans are warmed, they release more CO2. So sun determines the warming. The warming then affects the oceans so that they release more CO2 into the atmosphere. The point is this. It’s not us putting CO2 in the atmosphere that warms the climate. It’s the sun that warms the climate and the ocean puts more CO2 in the atmosphere. And all honest legitimate science, from what I read, says that the human contribution to CO2 is negligible. Water vapor, clouds, make up almost all CO2. Climate change then is the effect of electromagnetic fields on the sun, that increases CO2 from oceans and clouds, and the claims from environmentalists that we’re increasing the amount of CO2 and therefore warming the environment has no real scientific support.
And then the scare tactics, that if we keep doing this, we’re going to melt the ice caps and we’re going to have 20 foot sea surges that are going to drown the cities. Really? Turn to Genesis 9 – Genesis 9 and verse 7, “As for you, be fruitful and multiply” – have babies. By the way, there is an organization with a really funny name, can’t remember it, but it advocates that everybody stop having children and consider suicide to save the planet. But anyway, here in Genesis 9 verse 7, “As for you, be fruitful and multiply” – coming out of the Flood. By the way, I just want to remind people that there is one who can destroy the earth, and He did it with the Flood. He did it – devastating. But out of it, after the Flood, of course, came a new ecosystem. So there’s a reissuing of the original command, be fruitful and multiply, “Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.” This is repeating the fill it up command of Genesis 1.
“Then God spoke to Noah and his sons with Him saying, ‘Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you, with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, every beast of the earth with you, of all that comes out of the ark even every beast of the earth. And I establish My covenant with you, and all flesh shall never again be cut off by water of the Flood, neither shall there again be a Flood to destroy the earth.’” Is that clear enough? “And God said, ‘This is a sign of the covenant which I’m making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you for all successive generations. I set My bow in the cloud and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. It shall come about when I bring a cloud over the earth that the bow shall be seen in the cloud and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh, and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.’ And God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.’” God will never ever again destroy the earth by water. That is a covenant promise He has made.
By the way, in the last forty years of supposed global warming, there are three times more polar bears than ever. Just thought I’d throw that in. Because everybody says, you know, all the animals are going to die and perish, et cetera. By the way, global warming to the degree that we experience has some positive effects. If it’s warmer, there are less deaths due to cold. Regions become more habitable. Crops become larger. Growing seasons become longer in the north and the south. Warming helps the poor people. Cutting energy harms the poor who need it desperately. There are two billion people in our world with no electricity. They don’t benefit by cutting energy. They suffer, and they’re left to be susceptible to every natural disaster. Instead of talking about some doomsday thing you think is going to happen 200 years from now, why don’t you take a look at the reality of people in these places in the world who are suffering immensely and bring all the possible resources that we have into those places to provide the basic structure, infrastructure that they need to survive? That’s what Christians ought to be involved in. The poor who suffer most from great disasters would not suffer if they had more energy, more subduing of the hostile and dangerous environment that this earth is under the curse. So in an effort for us as we confess our green sins, to lower our carbon footprint, we’re going to wind up watching 50 million people die because we will not increase energy.
By the way, a hundred billion dollars has been spent to make a case for global warming, none of it on research. None of it, not on real scientific research. It’s all on public relations. You say, well what motivates this? Well that would be speculation on my part, but I think it’s all motivated by people who resent big corporations, who resent success. And there’s abuse at all of that level as well. We know that. But I think it’s driven by the socialist mentality that resents success, even some of the feminist mentality that resents male success. To give you an idea of that. By 1960 DDT – remember DDT? – had virtually banished malaria from Africa. It was so effective in killing mosquitoes that it virtually banished malaria from Africa. And in 1960 there was a book written by a woman feminist called The Silent Spring. In that book she claimed that DDT caused cancer – DDT caused cancer. All over the world DDT was pulled off all agricultural shelves everywhere in the world. And the results of that, frankly, are absolutely horrifying. Tens of millions of people, particularly in Africa, have died of malaria since 1960 and now by scientific study we know DDT has never had anything to do with cancer – never.
I don’t know why people buy into these kinds of things. But the tragedy, as all tragedies, fall always on the weakest. Don’t they? Whenever you see a tragedy on television, whenever you see the visuals of some disastrous flood or disastrous fire, it’s the poor who suffer the most. Whenever there’s a famine, it’s they who suffer the most. And so we add to their suffering by removing something like DDT under false premises and millions more die. All great environmental disasters occur in the poorest most under-developed energy-deficient countries. This thinking is so skewed. And I may be the only person saying this. I haven’t heard anybody else say what I’m saying. But it just grieves my heart when, I suppose, well-intentioned but ignorant evangelicals jump on the consensus bandwagon and call for stopping of technological development, the use of God-given fossil fuels, natural gas, atomic energy, as a way to provide a good life. And by stopping that development, assure the death of millions more every year.
The political agenda against business, against industry, against male-dominated enterprises born out of sometimes naturalism, sometimes atheism, sometimes I think even feminism, that should never be a bandwagon that Christians get on. The earth is not a fragile ecosystem, folks. If you’re an evolutionist, you think that. Right? Hey, this thing is really fragile, I mean we’re lucky we’re here. I mean, how in the world did this ever happen? If you’re an evolutionist, you have one really, really amazing explanation for things. All this is by chance. And chance, that’s pretty fickle stuff, so if we could just tweak it a little bit one direction, this whole thing could come apart here, because it’s hanging by an evolutionary thread. So if you think the ecosystem of the earth is billions of years old and held together by random chance, you might think there is a fragile element to this earth. But there isn’t. A strong robust ecosystem exists on this planet and in this universe created by God and sustained by God. Hebrews 1:3 says, concerning Christ, “He holds all things together by the Word of His power.”
You remember it was Einstein, even though he discovered E=MC2, died disillusioned, unfulfilled, because he could not quantify or identify or capture in a formula the power that held everything together. That’s the power of God. This is not a fragile ecosystem. It was never intended to be left pristine. It was certainly never intended to be left wild. It was intended to be subdued. This 6000-year-old earth is to be used for man with all its divinely designed renewable resources and benefits.
Well, all that to say, biblical truth tells us the earth exists for man. That’s why God created it and that’s why He created it the way He created it. It is God’s responsibility to preserve it, not ours. Our responsibility is to exercise a good and reasonable stewardship, which I think through the centuries man has done, so that we can extract out of it everything that God has put into it for our benefit. I’m not advocating folly or foolishness. And I think that shows up in how we live our lives in a microcosm of our world. As I said, if you come to my house, you will see that the grass is green and the flowers are all in the right places and the sprinklers put the water where the water needs to be in order that the beauty of God’s creation can flourish in that place and bring us joy and cause us to be grateful to God for the beauty of all that He creates. And you will, if you were invited to eat a meal at our house, you would find that we actually have electricity and a refrigerator so that you don’t have to worry about getting sick because you ate there. We might even come and pick you up in our car full of gasoline and take you there. And in all of this, we rejoice. In all of this we rejoice, because all of this is God’s provision. And we would like, as Christians, to extend this provision as far and wide as we can and fill the earth and subdue the earth.
Mankind is an amazing, amazing creation when you see what he has done with this planet in subduing it, in extracting its resources, in developing its capabilities. Electric lights, where would we be without that? Not here. So much confusion about things. And if we just take a biblical perspective, exercise a sensible stewardship, and bring the best out of God’s creation for our joy and His glory, He is pleased. And do all we can to extract the riches that are there, as long as this planet exists, for the benefit of man at the widest possible level because it is all coming to an end. And the end is described for us in 2 Peter. Let’s turn to 2 Peter.
Have no fear, we’re not going to go through all of this. I’m going to read this and then next Sunday night I’m going to take you through it. Second Peter chapter 3 verse 10, “For the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements” – stoicheia, the smallest units, the atomic structure – “will be destroyed with intense heat and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning?” Heavens would be the New Testament and Old Testament word for universe since they had no word universe. “The universe will be destroyed by burning and the elements will melt with intense heat.” But that’s okay because according to His promise, we’re looking for a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
We are actually living in the third ecosystem on this earth. The first one was Eden. The second one was after the Fall. The third one was after the Flood. This is the third ecosystem. The other two were altered by God. He cursed the first and drowned the second. And He will destroy this one in the future, totally. But before He destroys it, there will be a fourth ecosystem. In the 1000-year millennial kingdom to come, life on this earth will change. If somebody dies at a hundred years, they die as an infant. The desert will blossom like a rose. A lion will lie down with a lamb. Children will play in a snake pit. That is a totally different ecosystem. Number one was the original creation in Eden. Number two was the cursed creation. Number three, that’s the one we live in after the drowning of that original cursed creation. But there is coming in the future another restored earth, a fourth ecosystem, and that is the eco system in which we reign with Christ, and at the end of which, even that ecosystem will be destroyed and replaced by a new heaven and a new earth in which there is nothing but everlasting righteousness.
I am not responsible for the earth. And I feel a lot better about knowing that. I’m not responsible for it, other than to do everything I can within my power to extract out of it all that is good for which I can give God glory and help folks. God’s in charge of the planet. He knows what to do. He knows when He wants to drown it. He knows when He wants to curse it. He knows when He wants to restore it. And He knows when He wants to destroy it. And it’s all in His hands. So in the meantime, enjoy it. Certainly as a Christian, enjoy it. It’s all for you, every fruit, every vegetable, every plant, every animal. Enjoy it. Everything that has come out of the belly of the earth, all the mining and extracting all the products related to those elements that are mined, all of the petroleum products that come out of fossil fuel, He provided it all. Just use it in a way that gives Him honor and glory, and remember He’s the source of it all. And remember this, that Earth at its best with all its riches enjoyed is not to be compared with the glory of the new heaven and the new earth that awaits us in the future, in which there is no curse and in which righteousness dwells.
Well next week we will actually look at the text of 2 Peter and take it apart a little bit.
Father, thank You for a wonderful time tonight to consider these things and we can only ask that You would cause us to be thoughtful when we consider the things that are said around us. Help us to be truly Christian in the sense that we reflect the biblical understanding of things, because that gives You honor. We would grieve, Lord, over the sins of those who have misunderstood Your power in creation and Your purpose in it. We are grieved that so many who call themselves Christians have bought in to such a foolish understanding of the earth as if it’s up to us to somehow preserve the planet. Lord, we yield to You totally and to Your plan and Your purpose.
And we just thank You for all that You’ve brought into our lives from this earth, from the hard work and the hard labor of people who we don’t even know who provide our food and our goods and our products that we just use from all the years and years of research by people we don’t know and will never meet, who because there was something in them of the image of God pursued the subduing of the earth. We’re just grateful, Lord, for all of the things that You’ve placed here that we can richly enjoy. We just want to give You thanks and know that we have every right to use it all, to enjoy it all as long as we share it with those in need and as we give You all the praise and glory for it.
Do what You will with this earth. You always have and You always will. We pray, Lord, that we might be a part of the advance of Your kingdom as long as we’re here, using every means to that end, and that we might never lose our focus. What a travesty to take the Bible which is intended to proclaim the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ to sinners and turn it into an environmentally twisted book. May we always be consumed with the glory of the gospel and with Your glory, we pray. Amen.
This article is also available and sold as a booklet.