Thank God for Fossil Fuels!

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The fear of fossil-fuel-induced global warming has led to much criticism of coal, oil, and natural gas over the last few decades. Rather than being motivated by fear, we who believe and trust in the God of creation ought to pause and honestly consider the questions:

  • Where would we be without fossil fuels?  
  • Who gave this great resource to us?

Every week in January, the CRC Office of Social Justice has been releasing worship resources related to CREATION CARE. Below is a Prayer of Thanksgiving that was part of the submissions to OSJ's Creation Care worship resources. May it remind us all that God can, and does, bring life from death.

From Death to Life: A Prayer of Thanksgiving!

Almighty Father, you are Lord of the heavens and the highest heavens, of the earth and all that is in it!

In six days You created everything that exists in our world:
   The light and the darkness;
   The vast expanse of the sky, and the life-sustaining water that is unique to earth;
   The soil, and all the trees and plants that provide us with oxygen, food, medicine, shelter, and countless benefits;
   The sun, a nearly unfathomable energy source, and the moon and stars, created to mark the passage of time and remind us of Your vast power;
   The fish to fill the waters, and the birds to fill the air;
   The creatures that move upon the ground, to be ruled by us humans.

You created all of nature for us, for we are its stewards and its beneficiaries. We are the final and supreme of all created things, not because of anything we have done, but because You created us in Your image, and You are supreme.

Male and female you created us, to live in complementary harmony with each other and with You. Humanity was the final crescendo in the chorus of creation!

Yet our first parents, Adam and Eve, polluted Your song with their own anthem of pride and sinfulness, condemning themselves and we their children to death. This death spread to the nature You had created.

Your grief at man's wickedness could last only so long. Then You used nature to destroy nature. Your floodwaters of justice buried man's wickedness below, yet carried aloft an ark of mercy.

And the paradise you had created was changed:
   Jagged mountains rose;
   The depths of the oceans fell;
   Fertile lands suitable for producing food and sustaining life became barren deserts;
   Warm, temperate poles became locked in ice and snow;
   Climate conditions that You had created to benefit man became oppressive;
   Hurricanes began to rage;
   Droughts were born;
   All manner of storms and deadly natural disasters came to be, where before they had not existed;

You had created the natural world for man to benefit from and rule over; now that same natural world became man's greatest physical enemy.

Yet in all the destruction of the Great Flood, You planted a seed of life and energy that would one day grow, bear fruit, and sustain the lives of billions of human beings!

Beneath the tons of rocks and mud, the vast forests of Eden and the young earth lay. Compressing. Changing. Being recycled.

You did not let all that You had created go to waste. In Your infinite wisdom and providential grace, You stored all the energy deep underground and converted it into coal, oil, and gas. The energy from the sun, collected by trillions of plants and animals from the time of Adam to the time of Noah, was stored as carbon-based fuel.

For millennia this fuel would go undiscovered. Untapped. Unused. And millions of human beings would suffer because of it. Millions would die. Die from disease. Die from exposure. Die from hunger. Die from nature.

Until one day, humanity would discover the potential power of the leftovers of the Great Flood. We would find the treasure that You had buried for us. The gift that You had given us.

And like a sudden burst of sunlight into a dark room, like a drowning man who is pulled at the last second to the safety of a passing boat, like a bright flower bursting up out of snow-covered ground, man's dreadful struggle against hunger, starvation, and disease is given new hope!

Where we once froze to death, now coal gives us warmth.

Where we once were in darkness, now oil gives us light.

Where we once struggled to plow a few yards of rocky dirt, hoping to grow enough food to last the winter, now diesel and gasoline give us hundreds of acres of food.

Where we once buried our children who had died of disease and malnutrition, now oil and plastics give us medicine and the means of nourishment so that our children can grow and flourish.

Where we once lived as slaves, the powerful few owning the weaker many because human labor was the only means of production, now coal and natural gas produce the electricity that power technology and freedom.

While some lament the use of fossil fuels, we recognize that without them, billions of human beings would be dead. And of the few who did not die, most would be slaves.

Thus we thank and praise our Creator, Who knows when the sparrow falls from its nest, and knows that a fallen tree provides life-giving energy.

We praise the Lord God Almighty, Who created nature for humanity, not humanity for nature.

Let us give thanks for God's provision, for turning the death of the floodwaters into life for us and our families.

Every time we turn on a light switch, start our car, feel the heat of our furnace, the refreshing cool of our air conditioner, or eat nourishing food may we remember and give thanks that God has provided for us.

And realize that His greatest provision is His own death on the cross, the sacrifice of His eternal Son, Whom He raised to life through the Holy Spirit.

From death to life...Amen!

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And let us also be thankful for the men and women who are called to the fossil fuel industry. Their pursuit of this noble call has allowed humanity to flourish in modern times at levels few could have dreamed of in past centuries. 

Hi Dan, I thank the Lord for everything! I thank the Lord is now giving us alternatives to accomplish the same thing that are better for our environment He created! The Lord provides for us in every Way through our history! It’s a blessing for sure!

Hi Ken. As part of my participation in the Cooler/Smarter series being sponsored by the Climate Witness Project, I have been doing a LOT of research into this area. The more I learn, the more it becomes clear that the potential of wind & solar is vastly overstated, and the damaging environmental impact of wind & solar is vastly understated. They are useful in certain situations, and I'm certainly thankful to God for them in those situations. But wind & solar are totally inadequate for replacing coal, oil, and natural gas. (Side note...solar energy is AWESOME in its power for warming our planet and feeding our plants...but that is through direct sunlight and not through solar panels).

8 - )

I look forward to sharing my findings in the future, and I hope you will continue to interact with my posts. Thanks!

Community Builder

There is no doubt, Ken, that God blesses us with energy sources of all kinds (including the sun that shines on us daily even when not captured by solar panels).

But Dan appropriately give thanks for fossil fuel energy because fossil fuels are much too much regarded as a curse as opposed to a blessing.  And Dan is quite right in suggesting that the newer "renewal energy" sources, e.g., predominantly solar and wind, are simply inadequate to supply the energy needs of today's population.  They are not and will not be for the foreseeable future, a scientific fact too many choose to resist.

Hi Ken,

When you say "now giving us alternatives(AE) to accomplish the same thing that our better for our environment" , how do you define accomplishing the same thing?  Same space? Same construction costs? How do you define better?  In a 2016 report by Cambridge University Engineering professor Michael Kelly, he reported "A 1000-megawatt (MV) wind farm would use up to 360 square miles of land to produce the same amount of energy as a 1000-MV nuclear plant."  Which is better?

Maybe someday AE will become either cost effective or market available to the average consumer. One should remember with AE that fossil fuel power plants are STILL needed to be built to backup AE power grids. Current AE is strictly supplemental sources. Even Las Vegas, which brags about being 100% alternative-based energy. limits alternative usage only to residential customers. And we haven't discussed the costs of AE-without gov't subsidies AE wouldn't even be discussed.  In this article the author points out that price matters. That should be a very important consideration when we then discuss being good stewards of God's Creation.  Here is the link to the article. It is a good read.  https://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/Renewable-energy-canno...

I thought this post was about giving thanks for our blessings! I guess I was mistaken! Thx for your input but I feel quite comfortable on my personal views on energy! Have a good day.

Ken, you were not mistaken at all. My post is definitely thanking God for blessings, specifically the blessing of coal, oil, and natural gas, which provide almost all of the energy that all of us use on a daily basis. Simply put, these resources keep us alive. Not only that, but fossil fuel resources are a main reason that humanity has advanced so much in the last 150 years.

Many of us are alarmed that God's blessing is being called a curse. Thus the reason for my Prayer of Thanksgiving for Fossil Fuels. It is to set the record straight, and start thanking God for something that others take for granted at best, and at worse they demonize and complain about.

As to the questions and responses to your post, it is because of your statement that "the Lord is now giving us alternatives to accomplish the same thing that are better for our environment He created!" That statement deserves to be questioned because it is simply inaccurate (assuming that you are referring to wind & solar...if you are referring to nuclear energy then you have a valid point). No one is questioning you or your thankfulness. On the contrary, I welcome your input! You are free to question anything I write. I have no problem with that.

Pease consider these 3 questions:

- Are wind & solar truly capable of accomplishing the same things as coal, oil, & natural gas?

- Are wind & solar truly better for the environment than coal, oil, & natural gas?

- Are people being accurate, or fair to God, when they consider coal, oil, & natural gas a curse?

I appreciate this heartfelt prayer for all the good gifts God gives us, including coal, oil, and natural gas.  I will continue to praise God and thank him, and I appreciate the reminder that:

“Every time we turn on a light switch, start our car, feel the heat of our furnace, the refreshing cool of our air conditioner, or eat nourishing food may we remember and give thanks that God has provided for us.”

I also thank God every day for the hard work of scientists who, using their God-given gifts of intelligence and curiosity, discovered these gifts of God in nature, and how to use them for His children’s benefit (keeping us warm, giving us light and heat and health, freedom and travel).

And I pray for these scientists as they research and discover even more about the amazing planet God has created for us, and what is beneficial to the natural plant and animal environments of God’s great earth: http://www.petitionproject.org/