Eschatology and global warming
There’s a nice article by Matt Frei on the BBC website that looks at the contrasting stances taken by Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University and Eastern Mennonite University, both in Virginia, over the issue of global warming (‘Evangelicals and Global Warming’). The crux of the dispute is illustrated by the following quote from the article:
It highlights again the pressing need for a good eschatology - one that does not simply force us to choose between two conflicting New Testament visions, as John Dominic Crossan does in his recent God & Empire when he argues that ‘the Book of Revelation is the Christian Bible’s last and thus far most successful attempt to subsume the radicality of God’s nonviolence into the normalcy of civilization’s violence’ (230). In many ways it’s an excellent book, but it illustrates the problem that always arises when we try to force the square peg of the biblical narrative into the round hole of an entrenched ideological prejudice. Perhaps I might humbly recommend instead my own The Coming of the Son of Man.
But that’s another matter. Or is it? Anyway, the question I want to ask here is this: Does the Bible really equip us to deal with the problem of global warming - whether or not it is the direct product of human activity? Are we not just scraping the bottom of the biblical barrel looking for scraps of a response to what is overwhelmingly a scientific and political issue?
Note: this is not so much a question of whether the church should respond constructively, though that is certainly up for discussion. It is primarily a question about what resources we have available to us - and in particular, what biblical resources - as we struggle to define a constructive response.