Culture At Large

Why I signed that evangelical scientists' letter on climate change

Clayton Carlson

A few weeks ago, along with about 200 other evangelical scientists and academics, I signed a letter calling Speaker John A. Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and members of the United States Congress to recognize that “climate change is real and action is urgently needed.” Here’s why I put my name on it.

A discussion of global climate change frequently devolves into a debate between self-described experts showing indecipherable graphs and tables. While I have spent a fair amount of time deciphering data from different federal and international scientific organizations, in the end I do not need data to be convinced of the threat of global climate change. I think we need to act to lower greenhouse gas emissions because of what Scripture says more than what arctic ice core samples say.

Scripture teaches that this is God’s good world and God has set up human beings as His stewards on Earth. We are to rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air and all that crawls across the ground. Clearly, God has entrusted us with much. Matthew reminds us of what God expects from His stewards. The foolish servant in Matthew 25 returns to the master exactly what he was given, no more and no less. The master says of him, “Throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there is much weeping and gnashing of teeth.” How would the master have responded if the servant had squandered and wasted what he had been given? I want to do whatever I can to protect and improve what God has entrusted to me so that one day He will say, “Well done good and faithful servant … come and share your master’s happiness.”

We need to act to lower greenhouse gas emissions because of what Scripture says more than what arctic ice core samples say.

In addition to belonging to God, this world also belongs to our children. If any of us had invested money from our children’s college savings account in a company that was doing poorly, I do not think we would wait until the company was totally bankrupt before we decided to act. The prudent action would be to evaluate the opinions of experts, pray for wisdom and do whatever is best to protect the future of our children. Why would we consider waiting until it is too late to try to stem the damage of global climate change?

Skeptics may decry my lack of faith and assure me that God will provide a solution to global climate change. God has provided a solution. He has given His church hundreds of scientists of faith who are praying that individuals, churches and political leaders have the courage and will to do what is needed to lower greenhouse gas emissions and be faithful stewards of God’s world.

We cannot risk abusing what God has given us to that point that we leave our children with a hotter, drier, more dangerous world. If there is even a chance that the science is right (and I am certain that it is), then we must act as families, churches, cities and nations to do whatever is necessary to lower carbon-dioxide emissions before it is too late. Our God and our children are watching.

Topics: Culture At Large, Science & Technology, Environment