Christianity, Scripture and Climate Change – 1


I am not a scientist, but I am very much aware that the Climate Change Debate is something believers must become conversant with. With this in mind, we at cfsc are pleased to begin a series of articles on this subject, which have been commenced on a similar website (Anselm Study House) by Dr Geoff Downes, a scientist from Tasmania. We hope you find his articles stimulating on this important subject.
Andrew McColl, CFSC.

(Reproduced courtesy of Dr Geoff Downes, from Anselm Study House).

You may have heard of the climate change debate. Ok I jest. If you haven’t heard, you need to get out more. There’s very little else in the news nowadays and the issue is increasingly impacting our lives socially, economically and spiritually. That is, the debate rather than climate change fitself. As a practising research scientist, the issue heavily influences my research activities. There is little chance of getting significant research support unless my proposals address the issue in some noteworthy manner. And as you may have heard there is now a scientific consensus that anthropogenic climate change threatens our very existence on this planet.

Mind you I never could get research funding to address topics such as “The positive effects of increasing carbon dioxide on forest productivity” or “Will fossil fuel consumption improve productivity and enhance water use efficiency of crops.” No. The projects all have to address the concerns we have over the negative impacts. Change by definition is bad. Odd really, when most of the supposed drivers of biological evolution have been environmental changes of one kind or another. It is difficult not to get a little cynical. But then Mr Rudd lumps me in with the mafia and child molesters as one of those dangerous elements of society that want to hurt people.

So how should a Christian respond? If, and as I have time, I’ll try to address some of the issues as they occur to me, assuming I am not arrested in the meantime. [I’m not paranoid, it’s just that they're all out to get me!]
Perhaps a good place to start is our Christian presuppositions. Epistemology is the study of how we know what we know. Every person who has ever lived, without exception, starts their thinking on a foundation of faith. For the atheist it’s faith that the chemical reactions that constitute our brain activity can be trusted, and that some how a neuron firing can be not only interpreted as “on or off” but as “good or bad”. i.e. that they can make an ‘ought” out of an “is”. (Maybe that’s what the God particle does?)

Sadly many Christians begin their reasoning in the same way and try to reason to the existence of God starting from “neutral” facts. But no facts are neutral. Neutrality is a myth. (And as we all know a myth is a female moth).

The existence of God requires no defence; it is proved by the impossibility of the contrary. As Christians we start our thinking from the foundation of the Scriptures as the infallible Word of God. Their authority also requires no defence; they are self-authenticating. Starting from the presupposition of that authority, we then have a reason to trust our logic and reasoning process as we were created in the image of God. We can account for the existence of absolute standards or right and wrong; we have a basis for “ought”.

So what does the Bible tell us about climate change and the future of our planet? Should we be concerned? What role should government play? Is there only one right way to deal with the issue? These are tough questions. Over the coming weeks we will seek to address 4 important issues in this debate; humans as a cancer on the world, God’s plan in history, some science in the climate pot, and modern day prophets and GCM’s.

Dr Geoff Downes (Anselm Study House)

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