Sovereignty Matters

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Yes, creation matters!

i just preached a sermon last Sunday where I invited two parishioners to present their opposing views on creational care; one naming the sickness we see in creation (Romans 8) and our responsibility to take care of the earth; the other naming the insignificance of man's contribution positive or negative to the whole aspect of climate change (Colossians1). Both argued from biblical perspectives, and both had ready scientific detail to back their arguments.

If you had to navigate your way with both of these arguments in mind, one a proponent for humanity's responsibility, and one an advocate for God's sovereignty, what would you say to both?

What would you say to the congregation listening in on the conversation/presentation?

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 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

Hyperbole and nothing to do with ecology, astronomy, physics . . . I don't see in anything in Romans 8 which refers to anything but our sin nature. And Col 1? Nothing about climate change. What am I supposed to see?

Participant

Sorry for the fuzziness of my post.

the two opposing arguments were ... One stood for man's culpability and responsibility for the groaning we see in creation, and the Other stood for God's sovereignty and Christ's ultimate control over creation (in Him all things hold together).

According to scripture, the sickness in creation, weeds, thorns, thistles, and presumably all other problems of nature, are indirectly caused by man's fall into sin.  God created things good, but we messed up.  We can be obedient to God, do our work, clean up, use our blessings wisely, and thus probably have a less harmful effect on the environment around us.  But we look at the environment from human eyes... even weeds, plant diseases, or bad weather, or climate change is seen from the perspective of how it affects us.  Can we determine whether protecting plants from disease is more caring than allowing fungi to attack the plants?  Can we determine to what level it is okay for algae to grow in ponds to provide food for some organisms while denying oxygen to other organisms?   Are humans and their food production part of the ecology, or antithetical to ecology?

Ultimately, God controls climate change, and whatever we do to influence it, should be done humbly, recognizing that our perspective is limited to our own perceived benefits.

I believe human beings do not have to apologize for their place in the global ecology.  But human beings also should not leave a mess behind them.

As a side note, for those who believe in the evolutionary theory, they should not be too concerned about climate change, since change is what fuels evolution through adaptation, selection, survival of the fittest, etc.

"A weed is a plant growing in the wrong place." "Myth" is a creation story, a story of beginnings intended to provide tribal unity and morality, not accurate historical or "scientific" data.

I take pre-flood Genesis material as a myth. It's not that God could not have designed crab grass and bind weed to punish us. It is not possible in this physical universe to for earth type critters to exist without a life/death process. Our biological processes require the continual death of microscopic critters. A "Garden" environment and this planet are not compatible. Then there is the infamous 2nd Law of Thermo, usually wrongly applied by "Young Earth" believers.

That being said, I want clean dirt, clean air, and clean water without artificial dangerous chemicals added. That has nothing to do with climate climate change. The climate has been continually changing for several billion years and probably has more to do with the solar atmosphere than anything we can do to our atmosphere.  Adding new and/or untested chemicals into the environment is crazy.      

You've raised some interesting questions, Bill.  It is true that microbes die daily.  It is also true that some trees are more than a thousand years old.  The difference in age between microbes and turtles is also interesting, as is the question about the human lifespan changing when environment, sickness, nutrition change.  Even in the garden of eden, food was given to eat, so in that sense plant material was converted even there.  For our bodies to maintain themselves, cells are constantly dying and being replaced.   Genetics inform and manage lifespans, and it is interesting also how people that lived to nine hundred years (in fallen creation) eventually gradually shortened to about 120 years after the flood.

While you say that a myth provides tribal unity and morality, the conundrum is that it only does that if people actually believe it.  A false tale cannot do that.  Myths can die.  Unity can be fickle.  Numerous myths make for an obvious disunity.   False myths create a temporary unity at the expense of humanity. (think WWII).  So that premise I don't agree with.  Maybe that premise is the myth.

As for chemicals:  not all artificial chemicals are dangerous, and not all natural chemicals are good.  Many artificial chemicals are completely analogous to natural chemicals, but created using a different "unnatural" process, and available in different doses and quantities.  Generalizations can be misleading in this case.

When we see tropical forest trees under the ice and on the beaches near the north pole, and when we see giant fossilized reed plants and dragonflies and mammoths, and camels in siberia and the arctic, we know that climates have not always been what they are today.  That's true.