Can We Save the Planet? - Part 2

Johannes Pflaum

We live after the Flood and before the second coming of Jesus. Above all, the word of Genesis 8:22 was given for this time, and can give us an inner peace amidst all the climate horror scenarios of today. This doesn’t mean that there can be no climate fluctuations or changes through time. But everything remains under God’s control, and within the confines of “seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night.” 

Before and with Jesus’ return, the forces of nature will be shaken. These include vibrations (air quakes, seaquakes, earthquakes; cf. Zeph 1:14-17; Matt 24:7; Rev 6:14; 16; 18, etc.), environmental disasters (Rev 8:6-13), cosmic events with tremors in the stars, darkening of the sun, and heightened solar radiation (Joel 2:2; Zeph 1:15; Zech 14:6-7; Matt 24:29; Rev 6:12-14; 16:8-9). First, these are the labor pains of the great upheaval that begins with the second coming of Jesus (Matt 24:8). And, as with birth pains, the intensity increases. Second, it is about creation sighing as it awaits its salvation (Rom 8:22-24). Third, these tremors are inseparable from man’s sin against God. The book of Revelation makes that clear. And fourth, it involves God’s judgment against humanity. Everything in the book of Revelation comes from the throne of God.

However, the Holy Scripture doesn’t just speak of the convulsions of natural forces before Jesus’ return. It also shows that humanity will be marked by fear of what is to come: “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Luke 21:25-26).

There are still events and tremors that aren’t even taken into account in today’s climate discussion.

“And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth” (Rev 11:18).

This can also be applied to environmental pollution. Once again, I’d like to emphasize that godless man literally tyrannizes creation, while also idolizing it. In light of the Bible and as followers of Jesus, therefore, we will deal differently with the fallen creation and all that has been entrusted to us. That is, creation is given to us for responsible use, and we also know about its transience.

The “destruction” of the earth, however, is primarily about something else. In 1 Timothy 6:5, the same term is used for a corrupted mind that is deprived of the truth. That is also the context of Revelation: people do not repent of their sins, idol worship, fornication, sorceries, murders, and thievery (Rev 9:21). They destroy the earth with them. Fritz Grünzweig noted:

“The Old Testament continuously says that destroying the earth means to dishonor it with idolatry, with contempt for the living God. With his rebellion and power, with his self-destruction, man has polluted the earth and put a curse on it (cf. Gen 6:11, 13; Ezek 7:23; 12:19).”

Hosea 4:1-3 shows a direct relationship between sin, creation, and the animal world. It relates to man as the crown of creation, in connection with his Creator. For example, in the Old Testament, drought and plagues of vermin were related to sin and God’s judgment. Just think of the drought that Elijah and Ahab experienced (1 Kings 17), or the locust invasion in the book of Joel.

Once again, it should be emphasized that true knowledge of God also entails a responsible approach to creation. But this treatment never leads to idolization of the creation, so that (for example) animals and nature are placed on par with, or even above, human beings. Just think of the blatant discrepancy between animal welfare and abortions in our society. In Leviticus 18:27-28, the Creator and Sustainer speaks a remarkable word:

“for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you” (NIV).

People redeemed by God cannot solve all ecological problems, despite all efforts and well-intentioned exertions. These are inextricably linked to the Creator, and the sins man commits. So, despite all efforts, the ecological problems won’t decline, but will increase. Think of the tremendous shockwaves that will occur before the second coming of Jesus.

As far as an eco-lifestyle is concerned, a healthy way of life and balanced nutrition can be justified from a biblical perspective. And there is no question that it’s helpful to comply with the doctor’s advice regarding illnesses. Christians shouldn’t judge each other if they handle health issues differently. In these situations, we can apply Paul’s writings on food, which he sent to the Romans, Corinthians, and Colossians.

Nevertheless, it’s worth reflecting on how ecological food ideology is gaining more and more traction, even among Bible-faithful Christians. So much time and energy are invested in these things, while other issues that are much more important to emulate in our personal lives fade into the background.

In the Old Testament, we have food laws that, for example, declare the consumption of pork to be impure. Undoubtedly, we can recognize the wisdom of the Creator behind this and many other hygiene laws, and not just those concerning food. Today’s research confirms this wisdom.

It is sensible to listen to one’s doctor if he advises against eating certain types of foods or meats (in the case of diabetes or cancer, for example). But, in principle, we must note that the Lord Jesus (the One through whom all things are created), who knows all contexts and backgrounds, has specifically released the unclean foods in the New Testament:

“Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.) He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person” (Mark 7:18-23).

This is a landmark Scripture for nutritional ideology today, right down to vegan philosophy. As humans engage in making an ever-increasing fuss over their diets, things that are grave and evil in God’s eyes become completely normal or even well-tolerated. Once again, it should be emphasized that there is nothing wrong with a balanced diet. God’s Word also calls gluttony in eating or drinking a sin.

Midnight Call - 01/2020

ContactAbout UsPrivacy and Safety