by Maurice Hamel
"They will secretly introduce … stories they have made up." - 2 Peter 2:1-3
If you listen to the media's coverage of the issue of global warming, it is being portrayed as a political battle. The good guys are those who want to avoid damaging the planet in the face of a clear and present danger. The bad guys are those who are not willing to put aside their self-centered profit motive, even when it is obvious that others will be harmed. If the issue were that simple, the solution would be easy. But unfortunately, there is far from a consensus that the threat of more than a marginal effect from global warming is either clear or imminent.
To avoid the catastrophe being predicted in the next century, an economic medicine is being prescribed whose potential effects will be more painful than the risk posed by anything but the most dire forecasts of climate change. Our understanding of the climate is so marginal that we cannot even forecast the weather five days in advance with a 50% accuracy. Yet it is in the name of unproven climate models that we are being told we must impose major changes to our way of life.
The discussion of global warming through the media has included little of what types of changes we would be required to endure to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. People are eager to do what seems to be the right thing if there is little cost involved, but like trying to balance the federal budget, a consensus can fall apart once specific cuts are discussed. The optimists point toward new cleaner technologies that they are confident science will be able to develop to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, if encouraged by government grants. But realistically, until and if such miracle cures become widely available, it will be through higher taxes on gasoline, electricity, natural gas and heating oil that these mandatory reductions are imposed.
As Christians how should we view the global warming issue? Is it merely an inevitable sign of our culture's failure to be proper stewards of the planet? When the Bible encourages us to be involved in meeting the needs of our neighbor, is it more important to make sure the poor are warm and fed today or that we do nothing that could have a negative impact on future generations? Does participating in the apprehensiveness about the future that we see among environmentalists today make sense, when we are told that we cannot know what the future will bring?
The bigger question that we need to ask is whether the assumptions that go into making these global climate models are even accurate. Unless you are willing to discount the first 11 chapters of Genesis as religious fables, the historical atmospheric and geologic assumptions that go into the models make no sense. It is surprising how few Christians are willing to openly question the modern theories of origins that are being presented as proven facts. We have been lulled into thinking that these differences in perspective are merely moral issues and have little effect on our economy or our environment.
One vital check for any computer model is to confirm its accuracy by calibrating it to know events. It is interesting to note that other than models which incorporate the concept of the Genesis Flood, there are no atmospheric computer models which simulate the Ice Age which only ended within the last 10,000 years. Yet no one doubts that the Ice Age actually happened.
Attempting to address the subject, Dr. Larry Vardiman, who is associated with the Institute for Creation Research, has researched the ocean's regulating effect on global temperatures. He has noted that if the biblical Flood was in fact a historic world-wide event, it would have had a its massive influence on climate variations. If the biblical Flood is ignored, then any attempt to explain the climate changes observed in the geologic record will be limited to using the comparatively small atmospheric variations that can be observed today. In that context it is understandable that so much concern is expressed about recent changes in carbon dioxide levels. However, current concerns of impending catastrophe appear unfounded if a biblical view of geologic history is applied to the global atmospheric models.
Too few people are asking whether the technical assumptions being used by these scientific prophets of doom are sound. We have been lulled into thinking that the historical accuracy of something like Noah's Flood only makes a difference in our religious views. But could such "religious" perspectives really have any effect on our economy or our environment?
Late in the first century, the Apostle Peter was already warning about such faulty logic. He wrote: "I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them ... I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things." (2 Peter 1:12-15)
What things was he so concerned we would forget? He cautioned that "there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying ... God ... Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the ... truth into disrepute ... with stories they have made up." (2 Peter 2:1-3)
Many of us recognize that God created the world, but rather than accepting God's explanation of how he created it, we accept whatever the current "scientific" theory is and imagine how God's hand was involved in it. What some people consider to be merely differences of perspective concerning the origins of man are referred to by Peter as "destructive heresies." He warned that people would voluntarily choose to ignore God's version of how the universe was created. Instead, by limiting themselves to what they can see with their own eyes, men would scoff at such a historical record.
Even after Peter's clear warning, many God-fearing people embrace these "stories" over the Word of God simply because they have been lead to believe the "infallibility" of anything done in the name of science supersedes a straightforward interpretation of Scripture. Rather than questioning technical ideas that are supposedly too complex for the common people to understand, "scientific" pronouncements are accepted as accurate.
We need to remember that a theory is only as good as its initial assumptions. Before we can realistically begin to address the potential for climate change, we must have an understanding of how it operates. Modern science has assumed God does not exist, or at least that he is unable to act in any way to influence the universe. He merely caused the Big Bang. Any other historic acts of divine intervention cannot be proven or measured. It would require faith.
Before we commit ourselves to drastic economic changes in the name of "saving the planet", we need to ask whether or not Peter's warning was right.
© Maurice Hamel 010398 www.healingtheland.org
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