Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day 2012 and the chicken-and-egg question

It is now 42 years since the event that many figure was the start of the environmental movement - the North America-wide protest against nuclear testing on Amchitka Island in the Aleutians (I remember my high school joining the march en masse on the US Consulate in Vancouver). Greenpeace was born around that time and there was a variety of other efforts to try to un-do the damage humans had been doing to the environment.

Now, here we are in 2012, and to listen to environmental activists, you'd think nothing had been done. The situation continues to get worse, global warming is a worldwide obsession (at least, among those who aren't preoccupied with putting food on the table or even having a table to put it on), and finger-pointing is the order of the day.

Something else has happened in those ensuing years, though: the world, generally, has fallen away from God. Governments have gradually condoned through legislation things that clearly offend God and anyone who stands on a Biblical principle is ridiculed, if not pilloried.

Is there a connection? You betcha!

One of the foundation Scriptures for my book, A Very Convenient Truth (e-published on Smashwords - US$4.99), is a promise God made to Solomon in 2 Chronicles: "If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal the land." (emphasis mine).

It's one of those "silver-platter" solutions we need to bear in mind: the state of "the land" -- namely, God's creation -- is directly tied to our walk with Him. The world tries to convince us that you can separate the two, but the unfortunate thing about that is, if you try to do that, you start acting in your own wisdom and from your own perspective. Once that happens, you look at events around you -- global warming, for example -- and assume that it is "bad" and therefore must be "fought".

But if that sort of thing is an "inconvenient truth", when you're walking with God, you realize a couple of convenient truths:
  1. God created us to be His "branch managers", taking care of the earth to prepare it for Him to move in (Genesis 2:15)
  2. God said this was going to happen (prophecies throughout the Bible, including those in Revelation and Jesus' description of the times before His return)
  3. If He declared it as part of His Plan (which He did), then the last thing you want to do is "fight" that plan
This does not mean total complacency, rolling over with our paws in the air and waiting for the Rapture: Jesus gave us explicit instructions as to what we should be doing while waiting for His Return. Stewardship of Creation is one of those instructions; but the over-arching assignment is to spread the Gospel, proclaim the good news, heal the sick and set people free - just as we were set free, ourselves. As we do that, God promises to heal the land. As we've seen from the results of the past 4+ decades, if we try to heal the land ourselves - and draw away from God in the process - the results are doomed.

(We also tend to become more judgmental towards others, condemning those who don't "do it" the way we think it should be done or who do things we disagree with. If you love God above all else and love your neighbour as yourself, judgment inevitably becomes a non-starter.)

In other words, some may think you can care for the planet without turning to God. We've seen what that's led to. But if you turn to God and really follow what He has set out for us, caring for the planet is part and parcel of the equation.

(And that's the chicken-and-egg question, except Biblically, there is an answer: the chicken came first. Selah.)