Re: [asa] finally convinced

From: Randy Isaac <randyisaac@comcast.net>
Date: Sun Dec 13 2009 - 00:11:21 EST

I'm not quite sure what aspect of Beisner's faith you found admirable, but I do agree with you that we need to step back and consider the big picture, and do so from a Christian theological perspective. Maybe one place to start is to compare and contrast the impending round of warming with the most recent major global warming.

The period from around 20,000 years ago to about 6,000 years ago (roughly across the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary at 11,700ya) was a period of major global warming, perhaps the only such period while modern human beings were alive to experience it. During that time, the atmospheric CO2 concentration rose from about 175 to 275 ppm and the temperature rose about 6-7 C. The sea level rose about 350-375 feet, trapping the humans who had migrated to Australia, the Americas, and other areas surrounded by water. Many species seem to have become extinct during that transition, of which the mammoths are probably the best known.

So far, no one is talking about such a dramatic rise in temperature or sea level this time. If only we could delay it till the next glacial period, it would be great!

What that historical experience tells us is that God's "good" planet has had some significant climate changes after humans had spread across the globe. It seems there are at least two major differences between now and then, other than magnitude. First, it was not anthropogenic back then. There weren't enough humans around nor did they have the ability to affect global climate. We've learned since then how to affect some global parameters rather strongly. Second, the dramatic sea level rise apparently had little effect on human life, other than isolating a few segments of population. That was mainly due to humans being a migrant species that obtained food from their own localized region. Any peril we now face isn't intrinsic to global warming as much as it is to our stationary habitat. We're clustered tightly in cities that are hard to move. Most populations are dependent on transportation of vital goods from a diverse region of the world. Climate changes in one region ripple through to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, many effects are episodic in nature, and not gradual. In other words, the impact will often be felt by occasional storms like the Perfect Storm or Katrina (neither of which are directly attributable to AGW). A series of storms like Katrina every couple of decades, getting stronger each time, is hard to cope with. The loss of life and property must get quite severe before a city moves.

So, in summary, a "good" planet doesn't mean there won't be major climate changes. We would normally have no problem adapting to these changes if we still had a nomadic lifestyle. But we don't, nor do we want it. The theological perspectives that need to guide us include stewardship (awareness of and responsibility for those aspects of this planet that we can influence), loving our neighbor as ourselves (recognizing our responsibility for all humankind), and passing on God's blessings to future generations.

Randy

From: John Walley
Sent: Friday, December 11, 2009 9:57 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

 

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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 Sun Dec 13 00:11:32 2009

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