The recent climate change protests in central London have confirmed to us how much the West is drifting back into the pre-Christian and pagan worship of Mother Earth.
These protests have taken place because in trendy liberal Britain people have not been taught to fear the God who made the earth and who controls the climate. The disruption caused by ‘Extinction Rebellion’ is an example of what happens when our schoolchildren are brought up on Charles Darwin instead of the Bible.
The protestors have behaved immorally by deliberately breaking the law, by blocking the public highway, and by stopping people earning their livings. They need a little less self-righteousness and a little more humility.
The whole climate-change-angst phenomenon is indicative of a grave spiritual malaise, a fruit of society’s rejection of the providence of God in determining the circumstances of men, including the weather.
Yes, these often very young people have a genuine concern about the future of the planet, and we sympathise with their anxiety to some extent. We have compassion on them as sheep without a shepherd, but they also need to acknowledge that the science behind climate change is not clear cut and definitive.
It is a plain fact that the earth’s temperatures have risen in history in situations where there was no corresponding rise in C02 emissions. Furthermore, as recently as 2015, NASA has reported “mass gains of the Antarctic ice sheet”.
It also needs to be emphasised that there are natural explanations for changes in global temperatures : variations in solar radiation, the “el Nino” warming of the seas near the Pacific Equator, and the incidence of volcanic eruptions (more eruptions lead to cooling; fewer to warming).
In the world as God created it and continues to uphold it, climate is always changing. The Bible tells us that coldness and winters will be with us as long as the world lasts : “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22).
In one thing the protestors are right, however : we do face a civilisational crisis, but is has nothing to do with the climate. It rather has everything to do with the West’s rejection of Christian truth and faith in the Trinitarian God as Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer.
We would like courteously to ask the no-fossil-fuel protestors who brought central London to a standstill (and who also vandalised the offices of the Shell Oil Company), By what means of transport did you travel into London from other parts of the country? Did you cycle all the way? We further ask them, After you protested each day, did you then eat food which had been gathered in from the fields using tractors and combine harvesters and then delivered to shops in lorries?
Man is sinful and corrupted by nature (Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:10-12). He does not live, and never has done, in an earthly paradise with no extremes of weather. This is precisely because our first parents rebelled against their Creator in the Garden of Eden, causing the whole creation to be under God’s curse.
Yes, of course we must be good stewards of the environment, but that does not mean that we just ignore the resources which God in His common grace has given to us. Job 28:1-2, for example, speaks plainly of the activity of mining, with not the slightest suggestion that it is contrary to God’s will. It is He who has placed the fossil fuels in the earth’s surface for man’s benefit, and what a wonderful blessing they are.
Modern man needs to humble himself before the God who controls the environment and all the earth’s natural processes. The protestors are well-fed people. This goodness of God towards them should lead them to repentance (Romans 2:14).
All people – be they protestors or oil company executives, rich or poor, and everyone in between – all without exception need to come in repentance and faith to the only Saviour of men, the Lord Jesus Christ, to Him who is also the upholder of the natural world around us and the One before whom all will have to appear as their Judge.
Pastor Peter Simpson, Penn Free Methodist Church.