Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Was Jesus Christ an Environmentalist?

What a silly title for an article! No, it’s a silly question, in the first place. For how could the Designer and Creator of the whole Universe not be one? That is, if we define an environmentalist as one who is concerned with preserving and conserving the Earth’s resources to sustain human societies that can provide equitable means of livelihood and opportunities for wholistic development.

Jump to the Book of Revelation (v. 11:18) and we find that among those reserved for God’s wrath are those “who destroy the Earth”. Who could those be? Why would God have such anger that He would take vengeance by “destroying” them?

If you search the Bible, there are only two cases where the phrase “destroy the Earth” is mentioned. The first was accomplished by God through the Great Flood and the second is this one accomplished by humans. God has all the right to do whatever He desires upon His own Creation but not so humans. These are those who murder people whole-scale – not just a few individuals at a time but populations and even generations. That gives us a clear reason for the future judgment, one we would do well to heed.

You destroy the Earth, you destroy life. You destroy the environment, you destroy the web of life -- or what we call the ecosystem that supports life on this planet.
But why do people not fear such a dire outcome of their wanton ways? Why do illegal loggers, destructive miners, greedy fishing companies, polluting manufacturers, selfish big-farmers and nuclear-testing, war-freak leaders continue to participate in the murder of Nature?

Sins bring about judgment. Whom God wishes to utterly destroy, He makes first totally blind (usually through money or power) to their wicked ways until it is too late. The ten plagues unleashed by God through Moses upon Egypt was a prime case of multiple environmental destruction directed upon a proud leader of a nation who defied the authority of God and His messenger. The polluted rivers, the sickened animals, the widespread pestilence, the cataclysmic meteorological carnage and the death of an entire generation that accompanied the release of the Hebrews from Egyptian slavery, provide us with a picture of a future divine act that will target Earth-Destroyers.

Those few families and individuals who use or manage natural resources without considering the future generations who will take over the use of those God-given gifts must awaken to the call of the people, if not of Heaven. Perhaps, if they understood this “green” character of Jesus or, at least, feared the gravity of their misdeeds, they might earnestly try to save not just their own souls but also the lives of those thousands they destroy and will destroy along with Nature’s resources. These new slave-owners enrich themselves at the expense of Nature and God’s people. They are God’s enemies and allies of Satan.

He who made Paradise also gave humans precious life and bliss. To benefit from such divine love and providence without a corresponding love and service to others removes our privilege to be called children of God that we all truly are. Did not Jesus say that the “meek shall inherit the Earth”?

Picture our fishermen, farmers and tribal people dispossessed of their natural and ancestral sources of livelihood – no, their very homes and playgrounds – by selfish businesspeople and sometimes even by governments. They have no arms and money to fight against the powerful managers of Nature. All they have is their dignity, their historical rights and their hopes of bequeathing their children and future generations what they themselves received from God since the beginning. All they have is meekness to oppose the mighty, powerful and wealthy Nature-owners/destroyers of today. How then shall God grant them the Earth if God will not destroy the destroyers? The problem is so simple that even the solution stares at us like a wide-eyed child asking for candy.

Where are the forests that provide us everything we need to survive (more than 80% already gone after mindless logging began during the Spanish Era and accelerated in the early 1900’s under the American administration*)? Where are the many mountain springs that water the luscious plants and refresh the various animals and birds that dwell in these islands? Where are the clean rivers and seas the ancient people used to get their daily sustenance from? Where are the fish and corals that once lined and defended our coasts and our lives from poverty? All these will soon be gone in a matter of decades if we continue with our negligent ways.

And we will continue to do so because the nation’s managers and their cohorts have pawned the future of the nation to the banks and corporations that have lent us money to spur our country’s development. And since the only way we can repay our debts is to give in to the creditors’ demands to develop (that is, exploit and despoil our natural resources) in the manner they have dictated upon us for many years, we will continue in our spiralling downfall into environmental decay.

Together with the meek, the mighty will suffer their ignoble end with Nature’s demise. As King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 9:3: “This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all.” Many of them may think that the destruction of our islands will not affect their continents far away. Think again! What they began to destroy decades ago will cease to provide them with what made them affluent. What they conquered and could not resist them will fall with them. But guess who will rise up for the ashes?

Yes, how will the meek inherit the Earth eventually?

That is for God to accomplish in His own good time. If He allows the wicked to remain wicked still, He can also allow the holy to be holy still. If He can create the Earth and make it as perfect as Paradise, he can do so again and grant it to those he desires. A New Earth: That is the only hope believers have in this life. It is the only hope this so-called Christian nation has whatsoever.

And so, a fair warning to Earth-Destroyers: Beware of God’s coming judgment. You may escape the many noisy environmentalists-activists lurking around you today; but you will not escape God and His angels who see your grievous deeds in the daylight and during the night.

Christians can only teach and warn people; but Christ, the Environmentalist-Judge, can send people to eternal punishment. Remember, no matter how rich or powerful a person may think or feel he or she is, that is nothing compared to what Jesus Christ has. All authority in Heaven and on Earth is in His hands. His judgment will not be thwarted by lawbreakers.

Today (as of this writing) may be December 26; but Christ was not born yesterday. He is eternal and the same yesterday, today and forever. When He returns, we will see Him and receive according to what we have done.

May 2011 be a bright beacon to all that will constantly remind us that Jesus Christ reigns in Heaven with love, righteousness and power over the Earth and all of Creation. Give Him the glory!

*Robin Broad with John Cavanagh, Plundering Paradise (Berkeley & LA: University of California Press, 1993), p.32.