by Tim Hall
News reports from Oslo, Norway this morning tell us that former U.S. Vice President Albert Gore, Jr. has won the Nobel Peace Prize. This prestigious honor was given to Gore for his work in promoting awareness of global warming. In a statement responding to the Nobel Prize, Gore said “We face a true planetary emergency. The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity.”
Without a doubt, man has the ability to cause great damage to portions of the earth. Those who have heard about the Dust Bowl in the American plains during the 1930s know this to be true. Great damage has been caused by wars, as well as by environmental disasters. (The wreck of the Exxon Valdez in 1989 had a significant impact on parts of the Alaskan wilderness.) Man can make areas of the earth beautiful or he can greatly mar those same regions.
But is man capable of destroying this planet?
Peter teaches that God is the one who will bring down the curtain on this globe. He wrote, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10, NKJV). Man’s actions may leave craters and barren fields, but God’s word tells us that man is not the one who will bring an end to life on earth.
Christians, however, must keep in mind another principle that is also taught in God’s word: We are to be good stewards of what God has given us. Peter also wrote these words: “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). While the passage primarily applies to the spiritual gifts we’ve received, it is also a broad principle that teaches us in other areas. One gift God’s grace has given us is a planet that can be very hospitable to our needs. Neglect or abuse of it can result in unfavorable consequences.
We may not agree with environmentalists in all of their claims about man’s impact on earth, but man does have a responsibility to carefully use what God has given. Where we can make improvements in this stewardship, we should. Unless the Lord comes first, there will be others after us who also need the resources we have enjoyed.
by Tim Hall