Worry Not; The Sky Is Not Falling

Worry Not; The Sky Is Not Falling

Friday’s Column: Brent’s Bent

Brent Pollard

If you asked me to belay the fears of those worried about climate change quickly, I would do so by citing one Scripture. Granted, this would only work for a minority of people who 1) believe in God and 2) accept the Bible as His infallible revelation to humanity. Nevertheless, I would still begin with God’s words to Noah. 

“As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.” (Genesis 8.22 NLT) 

If you are a person of faith, that is all you need to hear. It does not matter what computer models claim. Behind the climate change hype, one notes that, typically, politicians are trying to seize more money and control through industry regulation and carbon taxes. I realize that it feels empowering to think the task of saving the planet is yours to undertake. I imagine it gives a sense of purpose. Yet, a person of faith sees that this ability to “save the planet” exceeds his or her grasp. God told the patriarch Job that He alone could bring the sword to His creation (Job 40.15ff). 

Lastly, people of faith will likewise acknowledge that Holy Writ reveals a history of periods of extreme weather. In particular, one notes the seven years of feast and famine foreseen by the pharaoh and interpreted by Joseph via God’s Spirit (Genesis 41.29-31). That dearth of food, brought on by drought, was bad enough that it impacted even Joseph’s brothers living many miles away (Genesis 41.57-52.2). The foretold famine of Genesis 41 was not the only drought depicted in Scripture. The conditions leading to famine understood as drought, caused the patriarchs Abraham (then Abram) and Isaac and Naomi and her husband to take refuge where they could find food (Genesis 12.10; 26.1; Ruth 1.1).    

Drought was not limited to the Old Testament. For example, in Acts 11.28, the prophet Agabus foresaw a “great dearth” (KJV) that would occur during the reign of Claudius Caesar. Though people have repeatedly undertaken the challenge of disproving the veracity of Luke’s scholarship, Luke has always proven true. There were, in total, four famines noted in secular history during the reign of Claudius Caesar. One such famine centered in Judea and served as the impetus for Paul’s missionary journeys (Acts 11.29-30). At this point, hopefully, the person of faith has had his or her fears about “climate change” assuaged. But what about those who do not accept the existence of God or the inspiration of Scripture?  

Well, let’s play devil’s advocate. The late comedian, George Carlin, had a great point about “saving the planet” within one of his stand-up routines for those embracing evolutionary dogma. He mentioned that the planet has allegedly been here for billions of years by evolutionary timetables. In comparison, humans have supposedly only been here for a couple of hundred thousand years. Even then, humanity has only engaged in heavy industrialization for about 200 years. Yet, species of flora and fauna have come and gone whether “we” have done anything or not. Carlin says that nature takes care of itself.1 (By the way, Christians agree somewhat with this sentiment since we accept that Christ sustains His creation—Colossians 1.15-17; Hebrews 1.3.) 

Meanwhile, the evidence touted by academics promoting today’s climate change hysteria points to such things as more significant amounts of greenhouse gases in earth’s remote past “before man.” (These scientists said that our current greenhouse gases, purported to be thanks to human activity, now matchedwhat they observed in that distant past.) 

Other factors impacting weather and climate have nothing to do with man. For example, thanks to volcanic activity, our world entered a mini-ice age persisting for several centuries, despite the birth of industrialization, into the late nineteenth century.3 And there are likewise such factors as orbital changes (i.e., Milankovitch cycles) and sunspot activity influencing the weather. Regarding the impact of sunspots, scientists note the Maunder minimum that persisted for over twenty years between the latter seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. It added bitterness to the already cold mini-ice age.4 

The weather is going to change. It always has and always will. Though the climate is different from weather, one notes climate is the weather record over a protracted period. And when was the last time your weatherman gave you an accurate weather forecast for a month into the future? Of course, they cannot do that, can they? No, they are constantly observing the computer models and giving you their best guess from their resources’ data. A forecast can drastically change within a day. 

Computer programmers have a mantra as old as modern computing: “Garbage in, garbage out.” In other words, a program is only as good as the data entered into it. Therefore, if you have bias, the results of your programming will reflect that bias. Those crying “climate change” benefit from computer modeling that paints an apocalyptic future picture. Fear is a great motivator. Unscrupulous people will use unfounded fear to get you to go along with the message they are peddling. 

Does this absolve us of our role as God’s caretakers (Genesis 1.26-28)? No, we ought to be good stewards. Therefore, we accept as a principle what Paul said of man’s stewardship of the Gospel: God must find us faithful (1 Corinthians 4.2). If God has given us stewardship of the planet, we ought not to pollute or abuse it. The Dust Bowl and Georgia’s Providence Canyon reveal what happens from poor farming practices that rob the earth of the protective soil: severe erosion. In like manner, belching industrial smokestacks and burning fires wreak havoc on the lungs of the asthmatic. Without rushing headlong into a hysteria that ultimately doubts God’s power or fails to accept His promise, we can grasp these truths. 

I will close as I began, with those words God spoke in the presence of Noah to all of humanity. 

“As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.” (Genesis 8.22 NLT) 

Sources Consulted 

1 Carlin, George. “‘Saving the Planet,’ by George Carlin.” Wheelersburg Local School District, Wheelersburg Local School District, www.wheelersburg.net/Downloads/GeorgeCarlin.pdf

2 Freedman, Andrew. “The Last Time CO2 Was This High, Humans Didn’t Exist.” Climate Central, Climate Central, 3 May 2013, www.climatecentral.org/news/the-last-time-co2-was-this-high-humans-didnt-exist-15938

3 Parry, Wynne. “Volcanoes May Have Sparked Little Ice Age.” LiveScience, Future US, Inc., 30 Jan. 2012, www.livescience.com/18205-ice-age-volcanoes-sea-ice.html

4 “Maunder Minimum.” Edited by Erik Gregersen, Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 25 Feb. 2011, www.britannica.com/science/Maunder-minimum

Seeing God In Nature: Volcanos

Seeing God In Nature: Volcanos

Neal Pollard

As we received word of the volcanic eruption near Guatemala City, Guatemala, yesterday, where Bear Valley Bible Institute has had an extension school for several years, we were reminded of the omnipotence of God. The power God displays through nature and His creation reveal how such a powerful effect reveals an even more powerful cause. Volcanic activity for which there is no recorded history, like at Yellowstone, Deccan Plateau, and Santorini, stand alongside several we do know about. Perhaps Pompeii or Mt. Saint Helens is most infamous, but the Mount Tambora volcano in Indonesia has been called the most explosive and deadly for which there is historical recounting. Mount Tambora’s eruption began on April 5, 1815, and the mountain blew apart on the evening of April 10th. “The blast, pyroclastic flows, and tsunamis that followed killed at least 10,000 islanders and destroyed the homes of 35,000 more” (britannica.com). It went from being a mountain 14,000 feet high to being a caldera (a crater) 3.7 miles across. Its effects were intense and global. It shot megatons of material into the atmosphere, preventing so much sunlight from reaching the earth’s surface that 80,000 more Indonesians died from famine and disease. The earth’s average temperature was reduced over five degrees. Western Europe and eastern North America experienced heavy snow and killing frost in June, July, and August, causing “crop failures and starvation in those regions, and the year 1816 was called the ‘year without a summer’” (ibid.).

Volcanos are so awesome and powerful that they evoke a strong response from us. They illustrate several things of a spiritual nature. As noted above, they are demonstrations of an all-powerful God. So often, they erupt without specific warning. There may have been tremors and signs for years, but nothing out of the ordinary. Then, too rapidly for many to escape, the cataclysmic occurs. It is a testimony of good that comes from tragedy, too. The Department of Geosciences at Oregon State University reminds us that volcanic soil is very rich and conducive to a dramatic agricultural comeback following these geological events (volcano.oregonstate,edu). These events should help remind us of a truth Bible writers like Peter teach us, that “…the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!” (2 Pet. 3:10-12). 

Please pray for our brethren in Guatemala and for the hearts of all men outside of Christ, that they might come to a saving knowledge of the truth before it is eternally too late. May the evidence gleaned from places like nature, including volcanic events, persuade mankind of the reality and power of God. So persuaded, perhaps their hearts will be open to learning more about Who this God is as we share the revelation of Him as found in His Word!

caldera_mt_tambora_sumbawa_indonesia
Mount Tambora caldera

GET READY!

GET READY!

Neal Pollard

As one who can count on one hand the number of snow events experienced in childhood, I have lived the last decade in Colorado where snow is more ordinary than oddity. Even so, the meteorological chatter is much higher in advance of an anticipated big storm this weekend. Because almost all my adult life has been spent in either Virginia or Colorado, we have heard many warnings.  In both places, it has seemed as though the weather experts were akin the boy crying wolf.  At the same time, in both places, we have had some huge surprises measured in feet rather than inches.

Perhaps because of this, locals in both places have at times been jaded and skeptical at these fearsome forecasts.  Their facial expressions say, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”  Why not? I remember a time in Virginia when the forecast was a foot of snow, all metro county schools closed in anticipation, and the next pre-dawn morning revealed starry skies without even a cloud.  Man, even with sophisticated radar and computer models, are at the mercy of the complexities of weather put in motion millennia ago by an all-powerful Creator.

We should not make the mistake of thinking God is like man (Ps. 50:21; Ezek. 28:2).  When He speaks of things to come, it is not mere prognostication or educated guessing.  He declares the end from the beginning (Isa. 46:10).  Thus, whatever He says is to come must not be dismissed.  It is a promise, as certain as His perfect character.

Throughout the New Testament, God is telling us to get ready for a day of judgment.  When writers say, “The Son of Man is going to come” (Mat. 16:27), “an hour is coming” (John 5:28-29), “all the nations will be gathered before Him” (Mat. 25:32), and the like, we should not expect a change in that forecast.  Just because it has not happened yet does not mean it will not come.  Peter warned of those who would say, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation” (2 Pet. 3:4).  Nonetheless, Scripture says, “Get ready!” We don’t know when, but we should not wonder if.

Unprepared For The Conditions

Unprepared For The Conditions

Neal Pollard

As one who was born in Mississippi and raised in south Georgia, I am very proud of my southern roots.  Frankly, I could not hide them even if I was inclined.  It is a heritage that includes the Bible Belt, sweet tea, BBQ, lemon icebox pie, peanut butter, gnats, humidity, pecan trees, Georgia mud cats, the Georgia Bulldogs, and the Atlanta Braves (including the bad years).  But, one thing we rarely needed to be ready for was treating the roads for snow and ice.  Therefore, even a light or moderate amount of snow means impassable roads and gridlock in traffic.  The historic snowstorm that has hit the deep south has come with power outages, massive traffic jams, stranded motorists, numerous wrecks, and seven states of emergency.  Typically, southern cities do not have chemicals for road treatment, a bevy of snow plows, or organized plans because these events are so rare.

 

I am not criticizing these locales and governments because of this lack of preparation.  Of course, I was not trying to get home from work or school in those conditions. If you were, you likely feel differently.

 

Yet, there is a general state of unpreparedness for something that is 100% likely to occur at some point in the future.  Every single person could potentially make completely ready for it.  It has been forecast with the greatest of certainty.  It has been described in clear enough detail.  The preparation is outlined in clear and simple detail.  There are even a number of people who have been employed and enlisted to aid in warning and educating the general public.  Those tasked with being prepared and preparing others will be held accountable for whether or not they were involved in enacting that plan.  Every single person who is unprepared will nonetheless be accountable and liable for the consequences of their not being ready (Mat. 25:1-13).  There is absolutely no reason why anyone should be unprepared for the Judgment Day.  May each of us do our part to help prepare as many as possible for it!