What does the Bible say about global warming and keeping God’s creation healthy?
Do human activities really contribute to the destruction of the earth’s climate? As concerns about climate change grow more prevalent in the eyes of the public, many people, including religious leaders, are calling for a solution to help God’s creation.
In this episode of Citizens’ Climate Radio, host Peterson Toscano discusses the evangelical Christian perspective of caring for God’s creation. Peterson sits down with Kyle Meyaard Schaap and Corina Newsome from Young Evangelicals for Climate Action (YECA), along with Rev. Josh Gibson, pastor of Emmanuel Bible Fellowship Church in Pennsylvania, to find out what the Bible says about climate change.
Bible verses about climate change
Then God said, let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals and over all the creatures that move along the ground.
The Lord, God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
All of Peterson’s guests explain that we are made in God’s image, and God has appointed us to be the stewards of the earth. This means that when we care for the earth, and for one another by extension, we give praise to God.
“What does it mean to be made in the image of the creator, who creates and calls His creation good over and over and over again, even before humans are on the scene?” Kyle asks. “We look at Genesis 2:15, where it says God took humans and placed them in the garden to serve and protect it.”
Kyle mentions other Biblical examples that provide an even deeper context and understanding. “We look at some of the passages in Leviticus and Deuteronomy when God is teaching His people how to be His people, and some of the commands He gives them have to do with honoring the land and recognizing the land’s need to have a Sabbath in order to honor God. [The land] as well as humans need to have a Sabbath, to let the land rest. We look at the prophets who command the people to seek justice for both people and the land because they recognize that their mutual well-being is inextricably bound up together. We look at Psalms like Psalm 19, Psalm 104, Psalm 24, and others that speak so beautifully about God’s love for the created world for its own sake. God takes great delight in the creatures that He has made.”
Psalm 24: 1-2:
The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it, for He founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.
Psalm 104: 10-15:
He makes springs pour water into the ravines — it flows between the mountains. They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst; the birds of the sky nest by the waters — they sing among the branches. He waters the mountains from His upper chambers. The land is satisfied by the fruit of His work. He makes grass grow for the cattle and plants for people to cultivate, bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts.
“We jump to the New Testament, where we look at the incarnation. What does it mean that God loves the world so much that He takes on the stuff of His world?” Kyle explains. “God could have achieved salvation in any way that He wanted, but He chose to take on flesh and blood and tendon and cartilage and continues to be incarnate. God has taken up the stuff of creation into His own self. I can’t think of a greater affirmation of the goodness of the world in God’s eyes than to actually take on the stuff of that world in order to redeem it.”
Kyle points to more Biblical examples, such as Revelations 21. “We see the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven and a voice saying that God’s dwelling place is among the people, not that the people’s dwelling place is with God. It’s God coming down to the people and saying, ‘See? I’m making everything new.’ And the Greek word there for new means renewed, not brand new. We see that God’s ultimate purpose for the world is to join heaven and earth as one.”
Rev. Gibson expands on this point, explaining that stewardship for the earth is a way of honoring heaven and earth. “Stewardship is a biblical principle…and doesn’t mean that we’re supposed to dominate the Earth. Dominion is something that we are supposed to reflect on, how God would treat His creation. He’s given us these resources, and to use them in such an over abusive way…there’s going to be consequences.”
This idea of creation care tends to be interwoven with environmentalism. Corina Newsome, who is an Associate Conservation Scientist, as well as active in the evangelical movement, has been addressing the overlapping circles of religion, environmentalism, and minority communities for some time. You can see examples of her work on her website.
“We are stewards of the Earth,” she says. “So not only is it a gift, and not only did God furnish this for us and provide this for us, if we destroy it, it’s only going to hurt us. So we are responsible for stewarding this earth because if we allow it to become destroyed or become compromised, it’s going to decrease the cleanness or the reflection of God that exists within it. And ultimately it will cause harm back to the stewards — back to us.”
For Corina, the idea of being a steward of the earth flows directly into loving our neighbor. “There’s no question that any church or any Christian would agree with me: we are to love our neighbor. That is a principle that you must abide by. If you call yourself a follower of Christ, then stewarding the natural world is a reflection of loving our neighbor. Because when we choose to be wasteful or we choose to live in a way that is unsustainable, that creates waste, that creates degradation in the natural world…even if it doesn’t affect us, it is affecting some other human being. It is affecting people who live by landfills…people who live in these extremely marginalized and vulnerable areas. They’re the ones who are going to be reaping the negative effects of our lifestyle. You must be a good steward if you love your neighbor.”
Matthew 25: 34-40: Then the king will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed by my father, take your inheritance: the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick. And you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Then the righteous will answer Him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The king will reply, “Truly, I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
If heaven is our home, then what is the earth? A temporary shelter, a rental property, where we bide our time before we come into our eternal inheritance? Kyle explains that God doesn’t want to replace this earth, but renew it. “Our home is the kingdom of God, which is not here yet, but it will be here on this renewed earth forever joined with heaven.”
Romans 8:19-21: For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed, for the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage and decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
There are times during our climate work when it seems like our efforts can be in vain. Sometimes we question whether or not it really matters. Rev. Gibson references the above passage and the strain on creation that human sin has caused. He discussed the Book of Revelations, and how creation groans and seems broken. However, Rev. Gibson gives us a sign of hope, pointing to the promise of resurrection and new life.
“God didn’t say he’s going to make all new things. He’s going to make all things new. So creation is going to have a resurrection, so to speak, just as Jesus did. The apostle Paul tells us in Romans chapter 8 that it may seem painful right now, and things may look broken and beyond repair. But don’t lose hope, because this is just the beginning.”
Be a steward of the earth and help us by volunteering
In this section of the episode, Peterson Toscano also creates a fictional persona called Tony Buffusio to explore the question “What does the Bible say about climate change?” He tells the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis, who lives in Egypt during a time of temporary regional shifts in the climate. Not only does he predict changes in weather patterns, he develops a plan of how to look after the people. Peterson is a Bible scholar with a passion for looking after the welfare of people who are affected by extreme weather events.
This month, we hear from Jay Greene in Salisbury, England. She tells us what her faith has to do with climate change. Since this is such a rich question, we want to keep it open another month. Here’s the puzzler:
Louis, someone you know from your faith community, asks why are you involved in climate change work. You say, “Lots of reasons, but a big part is because of my faith.” Louis looks puzzled. He asks, “Climate change? What’s faith got to do with it?” What do you say to Louis? How is climate change connected to your faith or religion or spiritual practice? What do you have to add to this topic?
- Here is a list of the various Bible passages referenced in the episode. You can look up these verses at BibleGateway: Genesis 1:26, Genesis 2:15, Leviticus 25:4, Psalm 24:1,2, Psalm 104:10-15, Colossians 1:15, Revelation 21, Matthew 25:31-46, Romans 8:19-21
- Stopping Climate Change is Part of Following Jesus by Kyle Meyaard-Schaap (Relevant Magazine)
- YECA resource list of books for Christians interested in learning more about climate change and creation care.
- Evangelical Christians’ Call-to-Action on Climate Change
- Operation Noah, a Christian charity working with the church to inspire action on climate change
- The Christian Climate Professor Bridging the Gap Between Faith and Science. (Quartz)
- Citizens Climate Lobby Faith Outreach
Read Kyle Meyaard-Schapp’s book, Following Jesus in a Warming World: A Christian Call to Climate Action
“This is a marvelously engaging book about overwhelmingly urgent matters. Kyle Meyaard-Schaap is convinced that we are formed by stories in how we understand reality, and he urges us to approach climate change action in the light of the gospel’s Big Story. I pray that many will be moved to climate advocacy by the compelling personal stories that Meyaard-Schaap tells in making his case.”
— Richard J. Mouw, senior research fellow at Calvin University’s Henry Institute for the Study of Religion and Politics
“This is an excellent book: insightful readings of the Bible, a perceptive analysis of our culture, and honest and engaging reflections in well-written prose. Following Jesus in a Warming World is a must-read for any Christian seeking to understand what it means to live one’s faith in these tumultuous times.”
— Steve Bouma-Prediger, Leonard and Marjorie Maas Professor of Reformed Theology at Hope College
You can listen to Citizens’ Climate Radio on these platforms:
Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.
Citizens’ Climate Radio is a monthly podcast hosted by CCL volunteer Peterson Toscano.
- Blog: Conservative Solutions to Climate Change
- Pope Francis and the Catholic Climate Movement
- Podcast #55: Creation Care and Climate Change: What Would Jesus Do?
- Conservatives on Climate Change
- Video: Talking to Conservatives – What’s Working
- 5 Conservatives Arguing for a Price on Carbon
- Blog: CCLers Connect with Conservatives at Local Hunting and Fishing Event
- A Climate Solutions Conservatives Can Embrace
- Conservatives Work for Common Ground on Climate
- Conservative Guide to Climate Policy
- Find and Connect with Climate-Conscious Conservatives
- Short Film on Conservatives & Climate
- Traditional media rarely shows the Conservative view on the environment. Anna Sagatov, a film student at Montana State University wanted to capture that view outside of her university. Starting with Conservatives in the Montana countryside, they are often bound by a closeness to the earth. The film expands to a broader Conservative demand for climate action.
Read the transcript
Episde 30: What does the Bible say about climate change?
Peterson Toscano 00:04
Welcome to Citizens Climate Radio. This episode is airing on Saturday, November 24 2018. In today’s episode we are going to revisit the topic of faith and climate change, we will consider theology. What does the Bible say about climate change? The Art House will feature this question with a fresh look at a well known Bible story, Joseph and his brothers from the book of Genesis. We will also hear the answers to the puzzler question, what’s faith got to do with it?
Peterson Toscano 00:41
So what does the Bible say about climate change even among Christian denominations, there are a variety of ways of reading and interpreting the Bible. But today, we are going to hear from three different American Evangelical Christians.
Kyle Meyaard Schaap 01:01
My name is Kyle Meyaard Schaap.
Peterson Toscano 01:04
Kyle is the national organizer and spokesperson for Young evangelicals for Climate Action. He lives in the Midwest of the USA. We also hear from Corina Newsome after college, she worked as a zookeeper in Nashville, then brought a new message back with her to church.
Corina Newsome 01:22
I tend to be very passionate about bringing issues of environmental sustainability to black churches. So like the church, the churches that I’ve gone to, there have been times where I’ve had the opportunity to have an animal show at my church and talk about things like climate change or environmental sustainability relating it of course back to their daily lives.
Peterson Toscano 01:42
And we hear from a pastor in the rural Pennsylvania town where I live,
Rev. Josh Gibson 01:46
Josh Gibson, pastor and Emanuel Bible Fellowship Church.
Peterson Toscano 01:50
Reverend Gibson is not part of any environmental group and readily admits the tensions between folks who attend his church and climate advocates.
Rev. Josh Gibson 02:00
Climate change will bring about in a lot of conservative angelical circles and negative connotation, and it’s because science and faith have definitely not gotten along, especially in the last century. And so anyone who speaks against climate change is seen as as ignorant ignoring science.
Peterson Toscano 02:19
Kyle, Corina and Reverend Gibson each see their faith in Jesus Christ as central to their lives. As a pastor and a believer, Reverend Gibson emphasizes a life fully committed to serving God.
Rev. Josh Gibson 02:33
Sunday morning is not an event but is a rallying point to respond then to God’s Word together as a body in a way that makes a difference in our lives as believers to each other and also impacts the world around us.
Peterson Toscano 02:51
Kyle went to a church similar to the one Reverend Gibson pastors,
Kyle Meyaard Schaap 02:56
I grew up in a community that loved and loves Jesus deeply that has committed to the gospel. It formed me deeply into a person who cares about God’s world who loves Jesus who cares about the witness of the church in the world. It was a beautiful community and a lot of ways.
Peterson Toscano 03:19
Kyle’s church, though, grew suspicious when the topic of climate change came up.
Kyle Meyaard Schaap 03:24
There was something mildly comical about it, that it was probably, at best, just misguided and at worst, a potentially nefarious scheme to steal our money and diminish our freedoms.
Peterson Toscano 03:38
But something changed. While Kyle was still in high school, his older brother went off for a year of study abroad at a university in New Zealand, his brother came home changed, he had become a vegetarian.
Kyle Meyaard Schaap 03:58
And in my head, I had a caricature built up of anyone who would ever make that choice as hemp friendship bracelet weaving tree huggers who were throwing red paint on fur coats on the weekend. And for my brother, who I loved and respected deeply to make that choice. It caught me off guard and kind of gave me gave me the choice of either lumping him into this caricature that I had built up in my head, which was painful, because I loved and respected him or kind of suspending my assumptions and hearing him out and thanks be to God, I chose to do the latter.
Peterson Toscano 04:30
And in doing so, Kyle learned a new way of thinking about his earthly home and God’s creation.
Kyle Meyaard Schaap 04:36
The gospel is deeply connected to the way that we live on the earth and relate to the creation. commitment to the gospel required taking that seriously.
Peterson Toscano 04:47
With this revelation, Kyle then went off to Calvin College to begin studies to become a pastor. After ordination he served in a church for a time, but he felt a calling to a larger congregation. As a young Evangelical, he wanted to bear witness to the changes happening in the world, and how it affected his neighbor. As national organizer for Young Evangelicals for Climate Action ,with a background in studying theology, he immediately launched into a sweeping overview of the Bible, a gorgeous sermon about God, stewardship, and creation care. And don’t worry if you don’t know the Bible. Well, with the help of voiceover actor Richard Bowen, I’ll make sure you hear the relevant passages, I will also have resources for you in the show notes. Kyle makes clear, there is not just one passage in the Bible that speaks to this topic.
Kyle Meyaard Schaap 05:45
The thread of God’s love for God’s creation is a woven throughout the entire story, from Genesis all the way to Revelation. And so what I really like to do is, is kind of take people on a journey from Genesis all the way to Revelation, and make some stops along the way to help pull out this thread.
Peterson Toscano 06:08
Fasten your seat belt, we are going on a Bible journey.
Richard Bowen (voiceover actor) 06:16
Genesis 1:26, then God said, Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea, and the birds in the sky of the livestock and all the wild animals and over all the creatures that move along the ground.
Kyle Meyaard Schaap 06:34
What does it mean to be made in the image of the creator of the creator who creates and calls his creation good over and over and over again, even before humans are on the scene.
Richard Bowen (voiceover actor) 06:48
Genesis 2:15, the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden, to work it and take care of it.
Kyle Meyaard Schaap 06:57
We look at Genesis 2:15, where it says God, God took humans and place them in the garden, to avad and shamar. It is the Hebrew, which is most closely rendered, to serve and to protect it, what does it mean to be tasked to to serve and to protect the creation. And then we look at some of the passages in Leviticus and Deuteronomy when God is teaching God’s people how to be His people. And some of the commands he gives them have to do with honoring the land and recognizing the lands need to have a Sabbath in order to honor God, as well as humans need to have a Sabbath to honor God to let the land rest all of the ways that God teaches his people to honor the land. We look at the prophets, who commanded the people to seek justice for both people and the land because they recognize that their mutual well being is inextricably bound up together. We look at Psalms like Psalm 19, Psalm 104, Psalm 24, and others that speak so beautifully about God’s love for the created world for its own sake. God takes great delight in the creatures that God has made.
Richard Bowen (voiceover actor) 08:18
Psalm 24:1,2. The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it, for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. Psalm 104:10 through 15: He makes springs pour water into the ravines, it flows between the mountains, they give water to all the beasts of the field. The wild donkeys quench their thirst. The birds of the sky nest by the waters, they sing among the branches. He waters the mountains from his upper chambers. The land is satisfied by the fruit of his work. He makes grass grow for the cattle and plants for people to cultivate, bringing forth food from the earth, wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts.
Kyle Meyaard Schaap 09:24
And then, you know, we jump to the New Testament where we look at the Incarnation what is what does it mean that God loves God’s world so much that God takes on the stuff of his world. God could have achieved salvation in any way that God wanted, but he chose to take on flesh and blood and tendon and cartilage and continues to be incarnate. God has taken up the stuff of creation into God’s own self. I can’t think of a greater affirmation of the goodness of the world and God’s eyes than to actually take on the stuff of that world in order to redeem it.
Kyle Meyaard Schaap 10:04
We look at Colossians 1:15, where Paul says Christ is reconciling all things to himself, not just humans, but everything. We look at Revelation 21, where the curtain has kind of pulled back and we get a picture of where the world is headed God’s ultimate purposes for the world. And we see the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven and a voice saying, Look, God’s dwelling place is among the people, not the people’s dwelling place is with God, but it’s God coming down to the people and God saying, See, I’m making everything new. And the Greek word there for new means renewed, not brand new.
Kyle Meyaard Schaap 10:48
And we see that God’s ultimate purposes for the world is to join heaven and earth once and for all not to suck up disembodied souls into an ethereal heaven. the created world has a role in God’s good future and in eternity. And all of this kind of hinges on the the passages in the Gospels where Jesus says, the greatest commandment is to love God, and to love your neighbor, the entire law and all the prophets are summed up in. And Jesus I like to think has this thread in mind that runs through the Old Testament all the way through the new from Genesis to Revelation, that what it means to love God and to love our neighbor is to recognize this thread that runs through the story of salvation of God’s deep love for the world and his desire to reconcile all of it back to himself.
Peterson Toscano 11:49
Kyle raises three issues. I want us to dig deeper into, firstly, stewardship. Secondly, loving our neighbors. Thirdly, our relationship to the earth in light of heaven. Pastor Gibson and Carina also talk about stewardship.
Rev. Josh Gibson 12:07
Stewardship of the Earth is something that I’ve really started thinking about, because for one thing, it disarms the idea and you talk of use the word environment, there’s certain triggers, and all of a sudden, people think, okay, you know, he’s he’s a liberal stewardship of the earth stewardship is a biblical principle. But that doesn’t mean that we’re supposed to dominate it dominion is, is something that we are supposed to reflect how God would treat His creation, He’s given us these resources to use them in such a in over abusive way, there’s going to be consequences.
Corina Newsome 12:42
We are stewards of it. So not only is it a gift, and not only to God furnish this for us and provide this for us, if we destroy it, it’s only going to hurt us. So we are responsible for stewarding this creation. Because if we allow it to become destroyed or become compromised, it’s going to decrease the cleanness or the reflection of God that exists within it. And ultimately, it will cause harm back to the stewards back to us.
Peterson Toscano 13:07
For Corina, the idea of being a steward of the earth flows directly into loving our neighbor.
Corina Newsome 13:14
There’s no question that any any church that would go to any Christian would agree with me, I’m sure that we are to love our neighbor like they would agree that that is a principle that you that you must abide by, if you call yourself a follower of Christ. And stewarding the natural world is a reflection of loving our neighbor because when we choose to be wasteful, or we choose to live in a way that is unsustainable, that creates waste that creates degradation or causes degradation in the natural world, even if it doesn’t affect us. It is affecting some other human being people who live by landfills, people who live by Superfund sites, people who live in these extremely marginalized and vulnerable areas. They’re the ones who are going to be reaping the negative effects of our lifestyle. You must do this if you love your neighbor.
Peterson Toscano 13:59
Corina points to Jesus’s words in the gospels.
Corina Newsome 14:04
Didyou go to the people in prison? Did you feed the hungry to do you know for it for these people who were in need? Did you did you act on their behalf to meet those needs? In
Richard Bowen (voiceover actor) 14:15
Matthew 25:34-40. Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come you who are blessed by my Father, take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world, For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Then the righteous will answer him. “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you Do something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in? or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Peterson Toscano 15:22
Finally, there is the issue of heaven.
I got home and glory land. On the side, I got home and glory land and
Peterson Toscano 15:35
the evangelical churches where I’ve worshipped, we sang and said, I’ve got a home in glory land that outshines the sun. This world is not my home. I’m just a stranger passing through. My real home is in heaven with my Savior. If Heaven is our real home, then what is Earth? A temporary shelter? A rental property, or we bide our time before we come into our eternal inheritance.? Kyle explains, God doesn’t want to replace this earth, but renew it.
Kyle Meyaard Schaap 16:10
So our home is the kingdom of God, which is not here yet. But it will be here on this renewed earth forever joined with heaven. So I would actually argue that the assumption that our home is some disembodied heaven removed from this earth is much more found in Greek philosophy and Platonism, then it’s found in the gospels.
Peterson Toscano 16:33
Corina speaks about the need for gratitude, gratitude for the home God has given us.
Corina Newsome 16:40
And I think when it comes to my community, people of color or poor people, the angle that I would take would be that, first and foremost, the natural world is a reflection of God’s hospitality. It’s a gift. If you were to walk into someone’s house, they knew you were coming, they furnished it for you, they placed decorations on the wall, they painted everything they gave you comfortable furniture, things like that you wouldn’t go through and just destroy it.
Peterson Toscano 17:06
I turned to pastor Gibson to with this question, if heaven is the final home for Christians, and if God forgives us anyway for our actions, what difference does it make if we just trash the planet and move on?
Rev. Josh Gibson 17:19
This mentality of I’m saved, I’m going to heaven turns us into just always looking in that direction and not always looking at our neighbor, not always looking at the Earth. Because it’s like, well, you know, I’m out of here, I’m good, everything’s good for me. Everything else can just burn for all I care and that that mentality like I’d never say that but we act that way.
Peterson Toscano 17:43
Romans chapter eight, verses 19 through 21 states, For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, and hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay, and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. Pastor Gibson references this passage and the strain on creation human sin has caused He also points to resurrection and new life
The Bible talks about how creation grounds because creation itself has has this innate God sends you can’t see it, but that it’s broken. In Revelation 21. Jesus says, Behold, I make all things new. And I forget the name of the guy who said it, might have been CS Lewis, but he pointed out how God didn’t say he’s gonna make all new things. He’s gonna make all things new. So creation is going to have a resurrection, so to speak, just as Jesus did.
Peterson Toscano 19:04
Pastor Gibson reminds me how important it is in our life’s work, to have faith and perseverance.
Rev. Josh Gibson 19:14
And you almost feel like you’re you’re fighting a losing battle. If you’re just fighting it for the sake of the earth. That can be very frustrating. But if you look at and see that there’s one who is in control of it all, and as the Bible says, These are actually birth pangs and snot death pegs. When creation grounds, it’s like before a new baby is born. What the Apostle Paul is saying there in Romans eight is that it may seem painful right now and things may look broken, and and beyond repair. But don’t lose hope because this is just the beginning. And for those who are in Christ, the new baby so to speak is this new heavens in this new earth?
Peterson Toscano 20:08
You may not be an evangelical Christian yourself, but I hope this conversation helps you better understand the evangelical worldview. Feel free to share this episode with friends and family who read the Bible and look to it for guidance. This episode may deepen their understanding and challenge their faith. Many thanks to my guest Kyle Meyaard Schaap and Corina Newsom from Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, and Pastor Josh Gibson and Emanuel Bible Fellowship Church in Sunbury, Pennsylvania. To see a full listing of the Bible verses covered in today’s show, visit our show notes. You will also find links to our guests and a list of more resources.
Peterson Toscano 20:52
You can get to our show notes by visiting Citizens Climate lobby.org/blog the show notes can be found under the Citizens Climate Radio tag. That website again is Citizens Climate lobby.org/blog
Peterson Toscano 21:15
Now it is time for the Art House. shedding light on an old story we hear from Tony Bufussio from the Bronx. Tony is one of my own comic creations loosely based on my dad, Pete Toscano. Tony wants to weigh in on the question. What does the Bible say about climate change?
This is Tony Bufussio from the Bronx, how you doing? Show Yeah, you know the story about Joseph and his brothers, you know, Joseph with the with the coat of many colors, the Technicolor Dreamcoat, you know, this is a story about climate change, you know, really listen, listen it does. Alright, so Joseph, he somehow lands in Egypt, and then he’s in jail. I’m not sure what happened, why he got in jail, but he’s in jail. It doesn’t matter. Because the important thing is all of a sudden Pharaoh, the big guy, he started having these dreams, these weird dreams about cows and grandma Bufussio always said he’s never good. If you dream about a cow. No one could interpret Pharaoh’s dream.
They haul up Joseph because he apparently he’s good at doing dreams. And Joseph says to the pharaoh show what you dream about. You’ll Pharaoh tells Joseph to dream. Like in my dream to these cows, the seven beautiful fat sleek cows that come in up out of the Nile River, but then they’re followed by the seven scary skinny cows who all of a sudden attack the good cows, the big cows, the fat cows and eat them up. I wake up in a panic. Joseph, what does it mean?
Armed with this data, Joseph predicts climate change. Yeah, a temporary regional climate change. He says Pharaoh, those cows represent years, 14 years, this is going to be seven years of plenty, anything you put in the ground is going to grow like crazy. It’s going to be followed by seven years of famine. So he predicts climate change. And then he comes up with that adaptation plan. He says, if we know this is going to happen, we should do something right to look after the people. So he says during those good years, grow as much as humanly possible, so that during the lean years, we go full for the people, which is a very joyful thing to do. And that’s exactly how it happened. They put Joseph in charge. And there was a seven years of plenty, followed by the seven years of famine. And in fact, it was during those seven years of famine, that Joseph got reunited with his family, they were hungry, they heard there was food in Egypt, they came as climate migrants. And it was a wonderful story in many ways because people ate.
And I don’t know, I don’t want to Blake critique a Bible character. But you know, I actually got a little bit of a problem with Joseph’s plan, because it worked. It was effective, but it wasn’t really fair. Because to get this food from Pharaoh, you had to pay for it and it wasn’t cheap. So the first year of the famine that people came, they brought their money, they bought the grain the next year, they didn’t have any more money and they’re like now what Joseph is not a problem. Pharaoh takes other forms of payment, and he took livestock next year, We had no more livestock. We got no more money now what why don’t you land? How about you give your land to Pharaoh, and that you can still live on it. But you know, Pharaoh gets a percentage of everything you grow the next year, chokes you if we got nothing else to give Pharaoh. Yeah, you do actually you get your children. How much you give your children to Pharaoh. Now I won’t call them slaves because that’s not politically correct. Sorry, kids. You know, we can all go to eat right? The next year, Joseph, we’re dying here. We need food. We got nothing. Oh yeah, you got one of the things you got your own bodies. How would you give yourselves to Pharaoh, and you be His servants show Joseph’s plan to worked, but it wasn’t fair. It led to oppression. led to slavery. It led to Pharaoh owning everything and every one went to me. I don’t know, a faithful response to climate change is one that makes the world a better place for everyone and not just a couple of fat cats at the top. To me, a fatal response to climate change is one that it’s filled with love, right? Like not greed. But love. To me, a faithful response to climate change is really thinking through our consequences, so that we can come up with plans that in the end, they are a blessing.
Peterson Toscano 25:36
You have an idea for the art house, feel free to contact me. Radio @ Citizensclimate.ort
Peterson Toscano 25:48
Now it is time for our puzzler question, or puzzler question also centers on faith and climate change. Lewis, someone you know from your faith community asks, Why are you involved in climate change work? You say lots of reasons, but a big part of it is because of my faith. Lewis looks puzzled. He asks climate change what’s faith got to do with it? So what do you say to Louis Jay Green from Salisbury, England called in and confirms what Kyle Carina and Reverend Josh Gibson already told us,
Jay Green 26:21
I think it’s got everything to do with it. First of all, we’ve got the stewardship principle from Genesis, where God gave the earth to mankind to look after. And we have a responsibility to keep it right. So that we can hand it on to successive generations and in time back to God. But more importantly, in a way more relevantly, Jesus asked us to love our neighbor, love our neighbor as ourselves. And so I think about my neighbors in California suffering with the wildfires, a lot of this is caused by climate change, I think about the people in East Africa, who are suffering because of droughts, which leads to famine, and leads to a migration into the cities and homelessness. You think about my neighbor in the Philippines and in Bangladesh, where they’ve had terrible floods, I think about hurricanes, and cyclones. I think about all this, all those people suffering, they are my neighbors. And this is because of extreme climate events. And then of course, we think about creation. You think about animals, obvious animals, like the big animals like polar bears, some of whom drown because they cannot swim far enough, they get exhausted, and there is not enough ice for them to haul out onto and to hunt. And there are many, many animals now facing extinction because of climate change events, year after year after year, and I think faith has everything to do with it.
Peterson Toscano 27:56
Thank you, Jay, for that answer. I want to extend this puzzle question another month. I imagine some listeners come from a variety of faith backgrounds, and this show may have sparked some ideas. So climate change, once faith got to do with it. How is climate change connected to your faith or religion or your spiritual practice? Send me your answers. Leave your name, contact info and where you’re from. Get back to me by December 10 2018. You can email your answers to radio @ citizens climate.org TYou can also leave a voicemail of three minutes or less at the following number 518-595-9414 plus one if calling from outside the USA.
Peterson Toscano 28:57
Thank you for joining me today for episode 30 of Citizens Climate Radio. The show is written and produced by me Peterson Toscano other technical support from Ricky Bradley and Brett Cease social media assistance from Ashley Hunt-Mortorano, Flannery Winchester, Alison Kubisco and Steve Valk. moral support from Madeline Para, special thanks to Richard Bowen for his excellent voiceover work. All of the music of the program is license unless otherwise specified. The song Do Lord or Do Lord Remember me appears twice the 1954 version by the Russell sisters and the 2017 version by Kyle Fosburg. Both are available archive.org You can find us wherever you listen to podcast including iTunes pod bean SoundCloud tune in and Stitcher Radio. You can also listen at Northern spirit radio.org. Citizens Climate Radio is a project of Citizens Climate Education.