And unto Adam he said, … cursed is the ground for thy sake… – Genesis 3:17
Why is it that conservatives, especially Christian conservatives, do not take the concept of climate change too seriously. On one side of the argument, they almost suggest the world is coming to an end, and for those who don’t see it, they must be “science deniers.” On the other side of the argument, there is a perspective that even if it is true, there is little we can do to affect it. The world goes through cycles and these are the cycles we are in. There are many scientists on both sides of the issue. So why do those with a biblical world-view not seem to be concerned? I believe the answer lies in a basic understanding of the world we live in today as being God’s creation and allowing the Bible to develop the framework of our thinking.
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Six days later, He finished His creation and said it was very good (Genesis 1:31). Genesis two lays out creation from the perspective the garden of Eden, a touch of paradise on earth. All creation got along. There was no death, no fear, and no blood-shed. Man and God had an close relationship with no hindrances. Then the Tempter came along. The woman was beguiled and violated the one prohibition in the garden. Immediately thereafter, the man did likewise. From there, everything changed for both man and nature. This is a brief overview of the fall of man in Genesis one through three.
Note: When I use the word “Christian,” my definition is rather narrow. A Christian, as I use the word, believes in the verbal, plenary, inspiration of scripture. That is to say God gave use the very words of scripture, not just ideas; He gave us every word; and every word is completely accurate and true. This is the basis of a fundamentalist’s view of scripture. Any other position makes God out to be a liar. Stay tuned for an article on that topic.
For the Christian, we look to the book of Genesis and it lays a foundation for history and the gospel itself. From then on, man was born into sin. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Romans 5:12). Man was cursed. At that point, creation also was cursed. God cursed the ground (Genesis 3:17).
There was a man God used name Noah. As we are introduced to him, the Bible says, “And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed” (Genesis 5:29). Noah was going to bring comfort amidst a cursed world. That is exactly what happened as God spared mankind through Noah.
Fast forward to Genesis six. There had been a great corruption. Without getting into a detailed study of the corruption itself, I do want to look at an interesting verse in the account. Remember, if God gave every word, then every word is important. Notice the wording in Genesis 6:12 “And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” It says the earth was corrupt and flesh had been corrupted. God did not just destroy mankind, but His judgment was on His creation. How did God accomplish this? Notice the next verse in Genesis 6:13, “And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” God said He would destroy the flesh with the earth. He was going to destroy His creation with His creation. God then gave instruction to Noah to build an ark for his family and for the animals that will be saved. Then God invited them onto the ark and shut the door. It says in Genesis 7:11 that the fountains of the deep broke up and the heavens were open. Mass amounts of water shot up from beneath the earths crust. There is a lot of evidence for this. It is, in part, where mountains came from, why there are earthquakes, and why the ocean floor looks as though it had been ripped up along the Pacific Ocean floor. Very quickly the earth filled with water from the rain above and the waters beneath. God’s creation went into a self-destruction mode and reset itself in a matter of weeks.
The word “curse” shows up many times in the account of the flood. Interestingly, there are two Hebrews words translated as cures. The first word is “arar” meaning “to place under a curse.” Thats the word used in Genesis 3:17 describing the ground being cursed. The second word is “qalal” meaning, “to make light of, or to turn away.” Colossians 1:17 says “… by him all things consist.” God holds His creation together. When he would destroy His creation with a curse (qalal), He simply let go and allowed it to turn on itself. In Genesis 8:21 we have the wonderful promise, “And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse (qalal) the ground any more for man’s sake…” Though He won’t allow His creation to turn itself in such a manner, that does not mean the earth is not still cursed (arar).
When the waters subsided, the Bible tells us, “And the ark rested … upon the mountains of Ararat” (Genesis 8:4). Some translations say “Mount Ararat.” I believe that is an interpretation, not a translation. The Hebrew words are “har ararat.” We saw earlier what “arar” means. The words translated literally means “cursed mountains.” After all of the destruction from the flood, the ark settled, and there was the earth, yet again, still cursed.
Today, the earth is still cursed. God holds it together, but it is under the curse because of man’s sin. Romans 8:22 say, “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” Sure, God will never flood the earth again, but we are still living in a cursed world that continually groans and travails, longing for the day when God makes a new earth (Romans 8:21, 22; Revelation 21:1). Every time there is an earthquake, every time there is a volcanic eruption, a tornado, a tsunami, a hurricane, a drought, a wildfire, or any other natural disaster, it is the creation working against itself under a curse.
Many times when disaster strikes, many (usually God-deniers) ask, “Where was God?” or “Why would God allow that?” These are the consequences of sin. It’s cursed. However, amidst all of this, God still extends His hand in offering redemption for whosoever will respond to His grace. Jesus died upon a cross for the sins of the whole world, as cursed as they are. He is willing to pardon and receive anyone who comes to Him, by faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice – dying in our place, and receiving the free gift of salvation. All of this should point us to Him!
This is the worldview that says climate change has been happening ever since the flood. The climate drastically changed then, and still hasn’t quite balanced out. In fact, shortly after the flood, there was an ice age. People are always talking about the polar ice caps melting. They have been melting ever since the ice age. I live in Alaska. We were one day visiting a glacier and along the trail to the glacier, there were signs with dates showing us where the glacier ended at each date. Interestingly, some of the dates were before the advent of the automobile. Some were before the industrial revolution. The ice caps were already melting long before our carbon was allegedly out of control. In fact the day is coming when global warming will occur like never before and will burn with a fervent heat (2 Peter 3:10, 13).
This is not to say we should be careless with creation. God gave man dominion over it. As stewards of God’s creation, we ought to take care of it. We should use the resources responsibly. In fact, had this practice been done in California, it probably would not have out of control wild fires as they are experiencing during the writing of this article. The reality is, it will get hot, it will get cold, it will rain, it will shake, but we look to the One who holds it all together.
“The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.” – Proverbs 21:31
Podcast on this topic can be found: