According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average global temperature in 2016 joined the year 2015 and several other recent years as the warmest recorded global temperatures on record. Warming temperatures effect more than just weather because they influence the economy, people’s health, energy use, food production, and a variety of other issues that shape the way we live in the 21st Century. Using computer models, the Environmental Protection Agency predicts that unless the rate of global warming slows, there will be disastrous results for the earth.
Speaking of “global warming,” beyond the fear that due to the melting of the polar ice caps, the ocean will rise and Miami Beach will erode into the sea and eliminate all of the beautiful coastline that attracts millions of visitors each year to South Florida, let me suggest, what I believe is a greater and more legitimate concern than global warming. We know that as Christian parents and educators, we already battle the skepticism from a majority of secular educators, the media, and countless “scientific experts’” who say that Christians are not interested in “real” science. The debate over global warming caused by man, is an issue that brings to light the true source of controversy, which I believe are really the questions of “Is God the Creator? and “Is God in control of His Creation?” There are those who suggest that Christians aren’t interested in investigating both sides of scientific issues, based on our reluctance to bend our knee to the various theories of evolution. My concern is, that much like the teaching of evolution, anyone who questions the conclusions of the world’s scientific community regarding man’s contribution toward global warming, will be considered intellectual lightweights and should not take part in a serious scientific discussion. This places even more pressure on our Christian school teachers and students who believe that God is ultimately in control over His creation, as they are in a world which increasingly discounts the TRUTH of God’s Word when it declares, “In the beginning God created the heaven’s and the earth.” So our concern for our students is demonstrated in how we prepare them to face these skeptics and help them keep their faith in the Creator strong.
Our Biblically based understanding of the ultimate greenhouse effect is described in Genesis 1:6-7. “And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so.” Biblical scholars and scientists agree that the effect on the earth by this expanse or firmament was that the world’s temperatures were fairly even, not too hot and not too cold. There were no hurricanes, no snow storms, and not even rain until after the great Genesis flood. Genesis 7:11-12 “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month–on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.” Following the flood, the earth became as we know it today, with frigid polar areas north and south and warm tropical areas in between. It also initiated the beginning of weather cycles. These are Biblical and historical facts. The scientific debate over temperature fluctuations is in my view, relatively unimportant. What is important is hearing the Word of the Lord. Genesis 9:15, “…never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” confirms that God will not destroy the world again with water. We however, cannot ignore the prophetic words found in Revelation 16:8-9, “The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.” This passage declares that just before Jesus comes again to rule on the earth, the effects of the sun and heat on the earth will be devastating, causing the whole earth to warm. Those who believe that the climatic cycles, which include periods of warming and cooling, are caused by man will one day discover just how little control man has over climate, or any other natural force. Whether or not we are currently seeing a preview of that time is unknown, but when God pours out his wrath on this earth, people will know it, and then the earth will definitely experience “global warming.”
There is no doubt that as a school we must study legitimate scientific changes in the climate and other observable phenomenon, while teaching our students the responsibility of conservation and care of natural resources. But I would suggest that most importantly, we must go about our high calling of preparing the hearts of our students to believe God’s Word and trust in His full control over their life and His Creation, rather than spend time debating over “man-made” climate change. We need to keep our focus on “heart-warming” rather than “global warming.”