Today is the annual Blog Action Day–a day where bloggers from all over the blogosphere are challenged to blog about climate change. I’ve registered to take part at http://www.blogactionday.org/, so here I go. (CNN even has an article on this cyber event: Bloggers Unite on Climate Change). Since I focus on things spiritual, this post will not sound like a run of the mill sociopolitical cry…
I’m going to assert that pollution (that leads to climate change) is a physical manifestation of spiritual pollution. Spiritual pollution is, quite simply sin….missing the mark. Whenever we deviate from having God as the center of our life, as the One we love most, we veer off and erect something or someone else in His place as a way to feel safe. Whenever we do that, we create spiritual pollution which makes it hard for us to see, to know what is pleasing to God and lifegiving to others and to the earth. We lose harmony with God, with each other and with the planet and all become difficult to maneuver/manage. Unwittingly our spiritual smoke stack fosters fear (for we cannot see) so we erect various sorts of physical smoke stacks to secure our own wellbeing (think industry, technology, ubanization). Once we eventually see a smokey problem of our own making (i.e. climate change) we then kick into high control mode to fix it (which is probably what climate change world leader summits are all about: control it, fix it).
Biblically, we catch a glimpse of this in the Creation story (first 3 chapters of Genesis). In a nutshell, the story goes like this: God creates absolutely every spiritual and physical reality (yay God!)…He sets up the Garden of Eden for Adam & Eve–a place where there is perpetual harmony with God, with each other and with all of nature (animals too). At this point, sin hasn’t entered the picture yet: no shame, no fear, no self-awareness, no disunity. Then, after Adam and Eve succumb to temptation and sin by eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (something they are forbidden by God to do) all hell breaks loose. The parents of the human race are suddenly out of sync with God and each other: they hide from God and are ashamed of their nakedness (which means they probably hid from each other until they sewed fig leaves to cover up). God drops in, sees their sin and extends mercy–He doesn’t let them die physically (although, as a consequence of their sin, they have died spiritually) as He initially decreed would happen at mere touching of the Tree. God properly clothes them and sends them out of Eden with these consequences:
to Eve (and to all of us who carry the XX chromosome) God says:
“I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”
to Adam (and all men) God says:
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat of it
all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”
To boot, God says to the serpent (who was Satan in disguise and was the one who deceived Eve so that she might eat of the fruit):
And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
So…do you see it? As a consequence of sin there is now physical, spiritual and relational struggles. The woman now labors hard with childbearing and with her relationship with her husband (by desire for her husband, I take it to mean that she puts her husband above God in her life; that putting God first, before her husband would be a struggle). The man now toils painfully and by the sweat of his brow to put food on the table and must take responsibility for the wellbeing his families…no more Edenic free lunch. The ground is cursed because of sin, harmony with nature is severed. Also, now Satan is at war with all of humankind (“enmity between you” and all offspring): not only is there separation from harmonic living with God, there is war with Satan…
OK, there is the creation story, but what does that have to do with global warming? Well, maybe as more and more people turn from God or deny God or follow another god the more polluted the planet is, not just spiritually, but physically. Our disharmony with nature, each other and with God manifests itself in us working to secure our own way in this world, which creates blighted landscapes, melting ice caps and shifting climate zones.
Through Christ the curse is lifted. By taking Christ as one’s Savior, surrendering our lives to Him and making Him the center of our universe, the power of sin is conquered. We begin to walk as Jesus walked: in harmony with God, in harmony with others who can see, in harmony with nature. The pollution of our lives begins to lift and we start to see and know…We begin to see others around us as He sees them–precious and in need of fresh air. We begin to see nature in new ways: not as a means to an end, but as He sees it–beautiful and bountiful. We fight Satan but with the power of the Holy Spirit and alongside Jesus–we’re eternally safe, fear doesn’t hold sway. Husbands and wives start to live as companions with God as their center–ruling over and desiring are properly placed. Children are born with pain but also with joy, for new life is a gift from heaven.
We can try to fix the climate change/the planet from external effort but until our hearts turn to Jesus, I think we’re wasting our time. The earth echoes our dark hearts and until they are transformed by the power of Christ the climate will change, the planet will heave and quake. May God have mercy. Yes, may God have mercy…