Extreme Weather as a Sign of Climate Change

Thomas Lieth

How should we classify current weather extremes? Is there any truth to climate change? Some considerations from a biblical perspective.

In February, a violent hurricane swept across northern Germany. Ships on the Elbe River sank or were driven ashore. The hurricane, which was accompanied by heavy rain and hail, destroyed countless buildings and uprooted hundreds of thousands of trees. Numerous people and animals were killed and large areas devastated, remaining flooded for several months.

In May, severe thunderstorms erupted over large parts of central Germany. Rivers rose by several meters within just a few hours, and over 2,200 people lost their lives.

In July, the Ahr Valley region in southwestern Germany was hit by an extremely serious storm and flooding, the likes of which had never been experienced before. Hundreds of homes were destroyed, bridges washed away, crops destroyed, and hundreds left dead.

In autumn, violent hurricanes swept through the Atlantic, wrecking ships and leaving thousands killed or unaccounted for. Beyond this, there was damage on islands and inland—the Caribbean islands, southeastern United States, and Central America were all affected.

In December, an unprecedented storm hit the British Isles and the English Channel, causing a storm surge across the North Sea region that killed around 10,000 people. The British Navy lost 13 ships and more than 1,500 sailors.

All of these examples can be said to be clear evidence of manmade climate change … so climate activists must be right when they say that it’s already five minutes past midnight. But there is one thought-provoking thing to consider: the hurricane in northern Germany took place in February of 1648. The heavy thunderstorms over central Germany erupted on May 29, 1804, and the catastrophe in the Ahr Valley occurred on July 21, 1804 (and similar events took place there in 1601 and 1910). The devastating hurricanes were 17th-century events. And the heaviest storms to ever hit the British Isles and the English Channel occurred in 1703. A drought is also known to have hit central Europe in 1540, and large parts of Europe scarcely received any rain for most of a year. A 2016 publication suggests the average summer temperature that year was well above today’s averages. A Swiss historian, specializing in the fields of environmental history and historical climatology, describes the events of 1540 as follows:

“There was virtually no rain for eleven months, and the temperature was five to seven degrees above the normal values for the 20th century: the temperature must have climbed to over 40°C [104°F] in midsummer. Countless forested areas went up in flames, acrid smoke obscured the sunlight, and not a single thunderstorm was recorded over the course of the summer. Water was running out as early as May. Wells and springs dried up, mills stood motionless, people starved, cattle were slaughtered. An estimated half a million people died in Europe.”

Do you notice anything? Catastrophes of devastating magnitude, even climatic changes, have always existed and always will. Mankind will never be able to influence the climate, either for good or for bad. You can protect the environment, animals, and people, buildings and land, but not the climate. I can make sure I don’t get wet if it rains, but I can’t stop the rain. So, I wonder: How can intelligent people be so naïve as to believe that they can change the climate and save the world? As the Bible says, “Claiming to be wise, they became fools” (Rom 1:22).

In fact, I conclude that with all the madness in the world (“saving the climate,” gender ideology, abortion “rights,” the theory of evolution, “pride month,” etc.), mankind has become misguided and blind, the devil’s plaything. In the end, all of this is simply the fruit of having turned away from God and His Word. It is the consequence of a lack of fear of God, of refusing to acknowledge sin. From the very beginning, the devil questioned God’s Word: “Did God really say…?” And the devil is seducing people to question God to this day.

When God says that He is the Creator of heaven and earth, deceived man says, “No, everything was created by chance.” When God says that He watches over His creation and ensures that sowing and reaping will not fail as long as the earth endures, then deceived man says, “No, it’s five minutes past midnight; we have to save the earth at all costs.” When God says that all of creation is transient, man replies, “No, we’ll save our planet with renewable energy, climate protection, and carbon offsets.” When God says that He created mankind as male and female, man says, “No, there are many more genders, and a man can also be a woman, or both, or neither.” When God says that it’s shameful for a man to lie with a man or for a woman to lie with a woman, man replies, “No, that’s diversity; that’s love; that’s good and completely normal.” When God says that a man shouldn’t leave his wife, man replies, “No, I want to be free. I don’t want to be tied down. I want to make my own choices.” When God says to multiply and that children are a great blessing, man replies, “No, children are a burden; children destroy the environment; and, ‘my body, my choice.’” 

If our ancestors were convinced of the Law and allowed it to guide them in their responsibility before God, today, this Word of God is being trampled underfoot and fought by any means necessary. True, Bibles aren’t being burned, and we have freedom of religion. But politics, economics, and society are not only questioning God’s Word, but also reinterpreting and eliminating it. Yet what does God’s Word tell us, especially with regard to future events? During the Olivet Discourse, the Lord Jesus says, “There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven” (Luke 21:11).

“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Luke 21:25-26). The forces of the heavens (the sun and moon) directly influence the climate and weather extremes. For example, the sun’s intensity is a deciding influence on the amount of CO2 released in the oceans. In other words, global warming causes higher CO2 levels, but higher CO2 levels don’t necessarily cause global warming. And the moon in turn influences the tides. According to a NASA report, a routine “wobble” in the moon’s orbit could be responsible for flooding.

In Luke 21:25-26, the Lord is prophesying about the future. We’re not yet witnessing it, but it’s exciting to see the shadows of events that are on their way. For example, 2 Peter 3:10 says, “and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” Years ago, who could have imagined what these words meant? But when the atomic age began, Peter’s writings (from as early as the 1st century AD) became conceivable. 

When we think of Revelation, the coming events on earth will make everyone who experiences them lose sight and hearing. One of the things it says is, “…the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth…” (Rev 6:12-13). Or, “…there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up” (Rev 8:7). The events described in these passages eclipse all previous fires and reveal the powerlessness of people who have forgotten to give glory to God, and instead worship creation.

Further on in the text, “He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft” (Rev 9:2). This is where peerless volcanic eruptions are described, which release more emissions than a person could offset in a lifetime. This passage gives the impression that by freeing this belching volcano, God is giving a resounding slap in the face to all human activity intended to save the climate. It’s like a kid on the beach trying to create a hole in the sand with his bucket, when the next wave will undo all his work.

Finally, Revelation 16:8-9 says, “The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.” This heat far surpasses any global warming. And so, I ask: Do you really believe that mankind can save the world and prevent God’s judgment, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and embarking on climate neutral projects? No, because man will reap what he sows. Accordingly, people should be less concerned with climate change and more concerned with the social change that’s associated with rampant, progressive godlessness.

What man needs is to turn back to God, not a clean energy revolution. What man needs is to fear God as commanded, not fear the climate. What man needs is to trust in God, not believe in himself. And so, I’d like to conclude with the certainty that this world’s destruction isn’t the end, but God’s new beginning with those who are saved in and through Jesus Christ. According to 2 Peter 3:13, “But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”

Midnight Call - 06/2023

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