This paper will identify the major goals of global warming advocates, propose a biblical (young-earth creationist) framework for evaluating the issue, and highlight basic scientific data related to the alleged claims. It will be shown that the Bible provides sufficient counsel to enable Christians to evaluate the claims of global warming and arrive at a confident position that is in accord with real science.
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Exactly why are global warming advocates so concerned about burning fossil fuels and the harvesting of forests? It must be kept in mind that global warming advocates are predominantly evolutionists. Al Gore readily admits that he is an evolutionist (Gore 2006, p. 160). Accordingly, they believe that there was a time in the distant past when earth’s atmosphere contained a much higher percentage of CO2 (over 21%) and no oxygen (O2). They believe the earth’s atmosphere developed O2 only as a result of photosynthesis by plants or bacteria (Bergman and Renwick 2003, p. 137). Advocates believe that forests, especially tropical rain forests, are the largest reservoir for storing carbon and generating oxygen on land. This helps explain their strong desire to protect rain forests. From an evolutionary perspective it is easy to see why preserving forests and reducing CO2 is important, even if the projected catastrophes are unfounded or exaggerated.
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Contrary to evolution theory, the atmosphere is not a constantly changing mixture of gases, which billions of years ago were poisonous to life but now has evolved to the point where it can support a precarious array of life. The original created atmosphere contained the right amount of CO2 for the plants that would be created on day three and sufficient O2 for the soon to be created animals and mankind. This is a far different atmospheric history than the evolution story. A created atmosphere has purpose, stability, and is more robust than a randomly evolved atmosphere.
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Following the Flood, God assured Noah that there would be no other worldwide water catastrophe as long as the earth remains (Genesis 8:22). According to this promise, “seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” Along the same line, Peter mentions that in the last days people will say that “all continues just as it was from the beginning” (2 Peter 3:3–7). Christ also mentioned that in the days prior to His second coming all would continue routinely, “just like in the days of Noah” (Matthew 24:37–39). From these verses it appears that until the tribulation occurs no worldwide catastrophe will affect the earth. Global warming is described as a worldwide catastrophe by the radical environmentalists and the media. The tribulation of Revelation certainly contains events that sound like some of the dire predictions associated with global warming. Unlike global warming, the tribulation is initiated directly by God, as judgment on sinful mankind, and is a sudden, not a gradual change. People undergoing the tribulation realize that it is from God, as a result of their sinful behavior, but they intentionally refuse to repent. We should not confuse the claims of global warming with tribulation events.
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The biblical history of the earth, contained in the first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis, provides a useful and sufficient framework for evaluating the current global warming issue. As we have seen, CO2 is a natural atmospheric gas that is essential for man’s existence. It is not a pollutant. The atmosphere is likely deficient in CO2 compared with the original created atmosphere. Reducing CO2 would definitely create problems, but increasing it will not. Burning fossil fuels merely returns CO2 to its place of origin. Forests are to be used for man’s benefit. They are not needed to produce O2 and they have no intrinsic rights, but should be managed responsibly and effectively.