The account of Jonah, where God provided a great fish to swallow Jonah and keep him inside for three days and three nights Jonah , provides a good example of God employing other creatures to achieve His purposes. God also used a donkey to rebuke Balaam orally Num. What role, then, does God play in the occurrence of natural disasters—especially those that have caused so much death and destruction? Are they part of His providential plan? It is clear from Scripture that some natural disasters are instruments of divine judgment.
Floods are repeatedly used to judge evil-doers, starting with the global Flood at the time of Noah Gen. Similarly, most of the plagues that God brought against the Egyptians as a result of their defiant refusal to release the Israelites, included natural disasters Exod. Revelation predicts that such disasters will also occur in the future.
Yet, it must be remembered that we live in a fallen, distorted world that has been subjected to frustration and decay, and natural disasters are manifestations of this frustration and decay. Many natural disasters e. Indeed, many catastrophic events occur in order to equalize the buildup of potential energy, extreme pressure or heat imbalance. In addition, some apparent disasters have beneficial consequences. In ancient Egypt, the agricultural economy was dependent on a natural disaster—the annual flooding of the Nile river. As Graeme Goldsworthy notes,. This creative order—God, who rules over mankind, who rules over the rest of creation—is clearly expressed in Psalm 8 :.
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! It is clear, then, that not all life is equal.
Human life stands above all other life. Human life is more precious to God because it reflects his own image. Yet, there are many people who believe that all life, irrespective of its nature, is intrinsically sacred. Moreover, many Christians deny that human life is superior or more precious to God that non-human life.
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For example, Calvin DeWitt claims,. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground. Human beings are not equal with fish, birds or any other created life forms. With respect to dealing with climate change, they write on a rabidly anticreationist website:. Thus, Pope and Edgar appear to believe that the incarnate Christ is, in fact, a part of creation. This is theological heresy, and goes against the early creeds and the teaching of Scripture.
In 2 Chronicles —10 , Nehemiah and Jeremiah , 16, it refers to subjugation in the form of slavery. In Esther , it refers to subduing or forcing a woman, and in Zechariah , it speaks of subduing enemies in warfare. In Leviticus , 43, 46 , the Israelites are forbidden to rule fellow Israelite bondslaves harshly or ruthlessly. In Isaiah , God subdues kings before the ruler from the east, and in Ezekiel , it refers to the shepherds of Israel ruling over the people with cruelty.
Many wild animals now pose a threat to human beings and their cultivating efforts, and the ground is now cursed:. As noted above, mankind stands above the rest of creation, and it all ultimately exists for the benefit of humanity. Indeed, the Garden of Eden was clearly for the benefit of Adam and Eve and they had total dominion over it, apart from one tree—the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
The fruit of all the other trees in the garden, as well as the seeded fruit from every other tree on the earth were theirs for food. As Schaeffer pointed out,.
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Humanity has dominion over the rest of creation, but with that power also comes the responsibility to use it wisely. Again, these ideas are echoed by David Psalm and Paul 1 Cor. Yet, Psalm also states that although the highest heavens belong to God, the earth has been given by God to mankind. Creation still belongs to God, but mankind has been given dominion over it.
However, this dominion is not without limitation or constraints. Thus, mankind has the active responsibility to care about the world, look after it, and ensure that the natural resources God has supplied us with are not misused or abused, or that they are not used in a way that is detrimental to other humans.
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In short, God has appointed mankind to act as stewards of His creation. Natural resources include land and water resources; fish, livestock and other animals and animal products; forests and other vegetation that could be used for food, clothing or building materials; minerals, precious metals and gems, as well as fossil fuels and any other naturally occurring substances of potential value or use.
Utilization of resources should also be directed to the common benefit of human society such that one society or community should not benefit at the expense of another e. Much of this should be common sense: there is clearly no future in burning your own house down, poisoning the well you drink from, or destroying your own food supply! Unfortunately, there have been many people and companies who have indeed wrongly exploited natural resources and caused lasting and significant damage to the environment.
Jeremiah indicates that the animals and birds have perished because the people who live in the land are wicked. Nevertheless, those who do so will not go unpunished. God will judge those who damage and destroy the earth. That the earth is overpopulated and that this excess of human beings has caused mass destruction to the environment via overconsumption and pollution is a common view among both Christians and non-Christians. But this is by no means a recent idea. Around AD , Tertullian wrote:.
The stimulus behind such visions appears to be an acceptance of the view that human beings are no different to the rest of creation, and that all of creation is equally blessed by God.
God’s present work in Creation
In other words, human beings have no more rights than any other animal, nor do they have any special relationship with God. Note the very negative view of humanity that DeWitt presents in this passage: human beings wield unchecked power, defile the environment, and cause mass extinction.
In fact, the idea that human population growth has been detrimental to the flourishing of other creatures is not supported by the empirical evidence. In fact, history has shown that people have not only been able to preserve various species from extinction, but also multiply their numbers far beyond what would naturally occur. Indeed, no one worries, for example, about chickens going extinct, even though Americans alone now slaughter over six billion of them each year. Therefore, it appears that the best way to ensure the survival of any particular species is to find a commercial use for it.
In any case, the notion of a population explosion is grossly exaggerated and the earth is nowhere near becoming full. Most countries in the developed world have birth rates well below the replacement rate. India has a quickly growing middle class and declining fertility.
Pyeong Hwa Gyeong / 평화경平和經
Most environmentalists assume that people are principally consumers and polluters. Feminist environmentalist and leftist activist Riane Eisler explains:. In other words, human society is fundamentally destructive! Yet a truly biblical worldview sees people as principally intelligent, well-meaning, creative producers and stewards, because that is the way God created them, and the way they are being transformed through the redeeming work of Christ.
Similarly, environmentalists believe that human population growth will strip the earth of its natural resources and smother it with pollution. A truly biblical worldview holds that continued population growth will result in the increased abundance of resources, rather than in their depletion, and in a cleaner, more developed environment better suited to human habitation, rather than a polluted and poisoned Earth. Thus, the Christian worldview leads to a very different prediction to that of the modern environmental movement:.
They worship creation instead of the Creator Rom. Of course, the same cannot be said of most Christians. In the second and third parts of this series, the focus is on the Christian view of development and environmentalism, as well as the Christian response to the perceived threat of climate change. We have supplied this link to an article on an external website in good faith.
But we cannot assume responsibility for, nor be taken as endorsing in any way, any other content or links on any such site. Even the article we are directing you to could, in principle, change without notice on sites we do not control. This article is from Journal of Creation 23 1 —93, April Browse our latest digital issue Subscribe.
Melbourne atheist: the exterminator Doomsday Glee Tale behind the Tasmanian tiger. Further Reading Creation, preservation and dominion: part 2 Creation, preservation and dominion: part 3 Ecology and Environmentalism Questions and Answers. References Erickson, M. Return to text. See also Psalm — Thiessen, H. Erickson, ref. Thiessen, ref. Henry, C.
Finally the vindictive language in the book Rev — 10 ; — is also to be understood symbolically and not literally. The cries for vengeance on the lips of Christian martyrs that sound so harsh are in fact literary devices the author employed to evoke in the reader and hearer a feeling of horror for apostasy and rebellion that will be severely punished by God.
The lurid descriptions of the punishment of Jezebel Rev and of the destruction of the great harlot, Babylon Rev — , are likewise literary devices. The metaphor of Babylon as harlot would be wrongly construed if interpreted literally.
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On the other hand, the stylized figure of the woman clothed with the sun Rev — 6 , depicting the New Israel, may seem to be a negative stereotype. The Book of Revelation cannot be adequately understood except against the historical background that occasioned its writing. Like Daniel and other apocalypses, it was composed as resistance literature to meet a crisis. The book itself suggests that the crisis was ruthless persecution of the early church by the Roman authorities; the harlot Babylon symbolizes pagan Rome, the city on seven hills Rev The triumph of God in the world of men and women remains a mystery, to be accepted in faith and longed for in hope.
Though the perspective is eschatological—ultimate salvation and victory are said to take place at the end of the present age when Christ will come in glory at the parousia—the book presents the decisive struggle of Christ and his followers against Satan and his cohorts as already over. Even the forces of evil unwittingly carry out the divine plan Rev , for God is the sovereign Lord of history. The Book of Revelation had its origin in a time of crisis, but it remains valid and meaningful for Christians of all time. Those who remain steadfast in their faith and confidence in the risen Lord need have no fear.
Suffering, persecution, even death by martyrdom, though remaining impenetrable mysteries of evil, do not comprise an absurd dead end. No matter what adversity or sacrifice Christians may endure, they will in the end triumph over Satan and his forces because of their fidelity to Christ the victor.
This is the enduring message of the book; it is a message of hope and consolation and challenge for all who dare to believe. The author of the book calls himself John Rev , 4 , 9 ; , who because of his Christian faith has been exiled to the rocky island of Patmos, a Roman penal colony. Although he never claims to be John the apostle, whose name is attached to the fourth gospel, he was so identified by several of the early church Fathers, including Justin, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Cyprian, and Hippolytus.