RE: [asa] finally convinced

From: Jon Tandy <tandyland@earthlink.net>
Date: Sat Dec 12 2009 - 14:27:53 EST

John,

 

Some interesting points here.

 

If you're referring to the scriptures I mentioned as "selective judgment"
against the wicked, I concede. However, the examples were simply given in
answer to the statement "I don't believe God works through scare tactics",
and were intended as partial (not perfect) counter-examples. I assume you
aren't referring to the famines, earthquakes, etc, as "selective judgment",
otherwise we may have a serious disagreement here.

 

Which leads to the interesting statement about God sending rain on the just
and the unjust. While that is very true, experience and scripture tell us
that bad things also come to both the wicked and the righteous (Eccl
7:14-15; 9:2,11). The righteous and the wicked are all going to die, and if
that isn't bad enough we are going to suffer in this world. There were 7000
left in Israel who had not bowed the knee to Baal, but the famine came upon
all. That was a case of the Lord withholding rain from the just and the
unjust.

 

I don't think I said that AGW is a judgment on the world, or on Western
nations, because of our sin or our lack of creation stewardship; or that God
is using AGW to scare us into repentance. Even if it were, there is nothing
saying such judgments necessarily fall proportionally on the more wicked,
fair or not. It might be God's explicit judgment, or more subtly it could
be the consequence of our use (or misuse) of natural resources in our quest
for prosperity and technology. If I drive recklessly (or for that matter,
in some cases if I just drive), I might have an accident. It might even
hurt an innocent bystander more than myself. It might not be God's explicit
judgment on me or him, but it would be a consequence nonetheless. The
proper response to danger is not to deny it exists or to overreact, but to
face it responsibly and carefully.

 

You do have a good point about who is advocating "repentance" in our
treatment of the environment. No, I don't believe Al Gore is a modern
equivalent of Noah. I could say more, but like you I do believe there are
several political and ideological factors involved in some people's advocacy
of the environment, independent of actual scientific or human welfare
concerns.

 

It is interesting that non-Christians and various ideological groups are
advocating environmental stewardship and concern over the "judgment" (so to
speak), while many Christians seem unconcerned. In the same way, radical
feminists advocated for women's suffrage; and socialists advocated for
worker rights, against child labor, etc. But they were joined by at least
some Christians in those concerns for human well-being, just as now there
are some Christians advocating concern for the environment and for the human
suffering that may result from climate change.

 

 

Jon Tandy

 

From: John Walley [mailto:john_walley@yahoo.com]
Sent: Saturday, December 12, 2009 6:50 AM
To: Jon Tandy; asa@calvin.edu
Subject: Re: [asa] finally convinced

 

 

My question about 3rd world AGW impacts had nothing to do with a good world
or not, it was related to whether AGW was God's judgement on Western nations
or not. And if so, it doesn't seem to be very fair.

 

All your examples below are selective judgement directed toward "the wicked"
or "sinners". So if you think God is using AGW to scare us into repentance,
I assume that you consider all Westerners to be in that category? Further
since AGW would be a fairly blanket form of judgement, it would almost be an
opposite restatement of God sending rain on the just and the unjust, if we
were to accept that AGW was judgement.

 

Obviously, I don't accept the idealistic and unrealistic "no death before
the fall", YEC view of creation, but I don't think that is what Beisner is
saying. Even if so, his point is valid that we can expect an intelligent and
benevolent Designer of our earth to make it robust enough to cope with
environmental challenges. We see this resilience in life with all the
earth's biodiversity that adapted and survived and flourish through all
kinds of enviromental challenges including even the extreme Hadean period
which we recognize as God's good design and providence, why wouldn't we
expect the same out of the earth itself?

 

Your point about acid rain is valid however I will concede. I have said
before that I am open to the possibility of AGW being God's judgement and
John Haughton being the modern day Joseph like he fancies himself, and I
even suggested that this might play into some kind of end times scenario.
The problem I have always had is that it seems somewhat counterintuitive to
me that it is primarily the enemies of faith in the public square that have
for the most part championed this cause, which is exactly the opposite of
other examples of judgment like in the days of Noah. Today we have a
complete reversal of roles, Noah was the righteous preacher calling for
repentance and today it is Al Gore. And it was the wicked then that were
mocking Noah for his warnings of judgment, whereas today it would appear to
be mostly the church mocking Al Gore.

 

If perhaps God is using AGW to judge Western nations, I think it is
selectively intended for the industrial class that have had reckless
disregard for the effects of their industrialism, not so much on the earth
itself but for the other inhabitants of the earth. The movie Erin Brockovich
comes to mind here. I also read a book by William Greider many years ago
called "The Manic Logic of Gloabal Capitalism" in which he draws the
distinction between American and European industrialism and each being an
open and closed system respectively. By open he means the industrialist is
free to buy and process the raw materials and sell them on the market for
profit and leave the mess to gov't to clean up. In a closed system the
industrialist is responsible for the full environmental lifecycle of the
processed resources but also the net subtraction of non-renewable resources
from the global inventory and all these factors get reflected in the price
or the processed resource. I have always thought that that was a valid and
valuable perspective and I think I could be persuaded that AGW may be a
judgement in response to that.

 

But even so, I would still want to qualify it by limiting it to those that
unconscionably or immorally benefitted from that and that excludes me. I
make my living with my humble hands developing software and have never made
a dime from any direct industrialist concern even through the stock market
or investing. I did consult with GE Energy for several years but it was only
on the IT side of the business. As a result, my conscience is pretty clean,
both by how I make my living and my fairly frugal and green lifestyle, so
naturally I resist all this alarmism about AGW. Therefore I tend to side
with Beisner on this both spiritually and politically more than say for
instance Al Gore.

 

But then why is the political left that usually doesn't have much concern or
respect for revealed proclamations of judgment from a righteous God so much
on this bandwagon? What's in it for them? Are they truly concerned about
the environment or are they relishing the opportunity to make the guilty pay
for exploiting the world's resources and amassing wealth unjustly? Or maybe
a little of both? If the former, you could say that they were worshipping
the creation instead of the creator, if the latter it confirms Beisner and
other skeptics' claim that this is all just a massive transfer of wealth
cloaked in hypocritical environmental rhetoric. So I hope you can see why
skepticism about this AGW judgement hypothesis is justified.

 

John

 

 

 

  _____

From: Jon Tandy <tandyland@earthlink.net>
To: asa@calvin.edu
Sent: Sat, December 12, 2009 1:19:05 AM
Subject: RE: [asa] finally convinced

I'm sure God would rather us choose Him based on His merits, without
resorting to fear tactics. However, if persuasion doesn't work, sometimes a
little fear is needed. Does God not use fear to call to repentance?

 

How about these?

[Luke 13:4-5] Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and
slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in
Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise
perish.

[Psa 11:6] Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an
horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.

[Luke 17:29-32] But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire
and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in
the day when the Son of man is revealed. ... Remember Lot's wife.

[Mat 10:28] And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill
the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in
hell.

[Jonah 3:4] And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he
cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

 

Beisner's argument is so na´ve it almost doesn't need comment, except that
there will be those who believe it. If the earth being "good" means it
won't experience natural perils, why is there death, disease, famine,
earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.? This and your question about why third-world
countries bear more burden of AGW effects are classic theodicy problems,
that have nothing to do with whether God created a good world or not.
Beisner would be better off arguing that catastrophic climate change, like
thorns and death, are the result of the Fall of Man, and part of the last
days judgment. He might even be able to make a better Biblical case for it.

 

I happen to believe that God (and the robustness of nature) can handle
corrections to the effects of AGW, even if some of the worse predictions
actually prove to be true, which I hope they don't. That doesn't mean that
human suffering won't result as part of the process. But I'm not inclined
to be driven by panic. However, his argument that we can simply dismiss the
whole concern about the effects on climate seems to eliminate any reason to
be concerned about stewardship over the environment at all. I suppose that
since God's earth was created "good", does this means there can't be acid
rain or destruction of natural habitats due to man's mismanagement of
creation, or that we shouldn't try to do anything about them?

 

Jon Tandy

 

From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
Behalf Of John Walley
Sent: Friday, December 11, 2009 8:58 PM
To: Randy Isaac; asa@calvin.edu
Subject: Re: [asa] finally convinced

 

One last for me as well but I have to respond to this.

 

Sarcasm aside, I see a grain of reasonable truth in this. It comes back to
the theology of AGW, I don't believe God created us just to judge us and
punish the earth. Like the Israelites trapped between the Red Sea and
Pharoah's army, they chose to believe that He didn't bring them out of Egypt
just to die in the wilderness, a belief which I also share.

 

As opposed to some on this list, I don't think we have incurred His judgment
for taking the coal or oil out of the ground or for using it to develop
technology that has benefitted the whole world. In fact I think the opposite
is true that He has raised up and worked through America and other Western
nations for this end.

 

I do think we are currently under His judgment for greedy materialistic
excesses and selfish conspicuous consumption and for neglecting the widows
and orphans, but not for lack of creation care. Further, we know that
Western nations have been the ones that supposedly earned God's judgement by
polluting the atmosphere but it will be the third world that pays the price
for it. How fair is that?

 

Beisner's attempt may be a little simplistic but it reflects faith which is
admirable. I think someone in the church needs to hold out hope to counter
the fatalism from the secular world. I don't believe God works through scare
tactics. You probably wouldn't approve of a fundamentalist church showing
your kids the 60's films "Image of the Beast" or "Distant Thunder", but what
passes today as AGW science in elementary schools is not much different. If
any of you have seen those films you will powerfully understand this point.

 

Not understanding this key theological distinction is what is causing
Christians to err on this issue.

 

John

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  _____

From: Randy Isaac <randyisaac@comcast.net>
To: asa@calvin.edu
Sent: Fri, December 11, 2009 9:23:04 PM
Subject: [asa] finally convinced

One more post tonight if I may. I just heard a very convincing argument
against AGW. A few minutes ago, Cal Beisner was interviewed on the Christian
TV network INSP. He pointed out that a planet that would be in peril from an
increase in atmospheric CO2 from 0.027% to 0.038% would not be a "good"
planet. But we know from Gen. 1 that the earth is good. Hence, global
warming isn't due to CO2 and advocating AGW is tantamount to dismissing God.

 

I hadn't thought of that. Its irrefutable logic leaves me speechless and
without response.

 

Where do I sign?

 

Randy

 

 

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Received on Sat Dec 12 14:28:24 2009

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