Who needs to heed the warnings of an overwhelming majority of scientists when they can lean on misinterpreted, out of context and loosely applied scripture to support their stance on, well, just about anything? The manipulation of the bible has been used as a tactic to support countless arguments about any number of issues: climate change being one of them. Senator Inhofe is a rabid climate change denier who shamelessly denounces it, stating that “manmade global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people” and he asserts that it is a “conspiracy” forged by environmental liberals. In fact he wrote a book titled “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future” and in promoting that book he stated “God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.” On February 26th of this year Senator Inhofe’s own arrogance prompted him to bring in a visual aid as he rebuked climate change on the senate floor. The visual aid was simply a snowball and he used it as a means to disprove global warming. When I watched the video I was flabbergasted (if you haven’t seen the video, check out the youtube link at the end of this article). It was both humorous and unsettling and I honestly felt embarrassed for the man. Even more astonishing is the fact that he was the first elected Chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works back in 2003. He held that position until 2008 and this year he reclaimed it. In my eyes he can only be a detriment in that position. It is counterintuitive. It would make as much sense to put TransCanada in charge of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee?
Senator Inhofe claims to be a religious man. He is Presbyterian; a christian. His religion is the platform from which he launches and justifies many of his arguments on a number of hot button issues. Those holier-than-thous who tout their religion to justify their condemnation, judgement and hate of people, even fellow Christians who are not like minded, is absolutely unethical, immoral and down right abhorrent – which goes against the grain of true Christian values and Christian virtues. Often times these holier-than-thous contradict themselves and inadvertently showcase their hypocrisy as they rant about their convictions. In my experience, I see this most often on the far right, but that is a topic for another day. With regard to Senator Inhofe, he is anti-abortion but pro-death penalty, anti-gay and pro-guns as if it were a God given right. He takes a hard lined stance on these issues to the point of being hateful and discriminatory. His religion apparently grants him the right to judge and condemn those unlike him. When it comes to the climate, he is equally ignorant, self-righteous and boorish.
Senator Inhofe refers to Genesis 8:22 to support his argument that humans could not possibly influence climate change. The language of Genesis 8:22 varies slightly depending on which version of the bible it is taken from. Taken from the New International Version Genesis 8:22 states “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” The relevance of Genesis 8:22 as it applies to the global warming debate is tenuous at best. Any text taken out of context can become pretext for something else entirely and therefore it serves as a very poor and weak foundation for any argument. Putting it back into context, Genesis 8:22 must be reestablished as a part of the whole. Though its content is theological, the book of Genesis is chronological in its framework. There are 50 chapters and 1533 verses. Genesis 8:22 – chapter 8, verse 22 – is about Noah and the great flood. Simply put, God was pleased with Noah and He said to him in Genesis 8:21 “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.” Genesis 8:21 is obviously followed by Genesis 8:22 and in that context God is stating that He will not take part in destroying creation again. It is not a statement that gives us license to inflict injurious, destructive domination over creation. It is not a promise that assures the Earth will endure our negligence and abuse.
There are a number of verses that can be pulled from the bible that support the care and love for all of creation – context included. I’ve included links to several sites that list them. But allow me to cite a few of my favorites. Genesis 1:1-31 states that God created Heaven and Earth and all things found within. Verse 31 states “God saw everything that He made, and indeed it was very good.” God values his creation as should we. Genesis 2:15 states “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.” To tend and keep means to care for, protect and cultivate. Rather than giving us domination over nature and creation, God gives us the responsibility to care for it in accordance to God’s will. Psalm 24:1 states, “The Earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” It is not ours to exploit and treat recklessly and negligently. We must show our respect to the creator by our stewardship toward creation. Leviticus 25:23-24 states “…the land is Mine; for you are strangers and tenants. And in all the land of your possession you shall grant redemption of the land.” Again, the message is clear that God expects us to be his stewards with nature. “The Lord is good to all: He has compassion on all He has made.” (Psalm 145:9) And so shall we. And in psalm 145:16-17 the psalmist states “You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made.” Need I reiterate that we must follow His example?
The message I get from the bible is that God loves and cherishes all of His creation. The world is a gift from God and it is disrespectful to lay waste to it. We must harness its life-giving resources as well as protect them. Our actions have inadvertently, and deliberately, altered seedtime and harvest and we have been gradually, but measurably, interfering with summer and winter. The call to care for creation is all too urgent now. The Earth is supporting nearly 7 billion people and the consumption habits of so many of those billions threatens the gift God has given us to sustain us. The pursuit of self interest threatens the natural environment that we were intended to care for. As for Senator Inhofe, it is his self aggrandizement and his greed that truly motivate him, not is faith. His opposition to climate action is based on his concerns about the regulation of big business as it relates to his wealth. Senator Inhofe, need I remind you of the golden calf?
Genesis 8:22 does not substantiate that the excessive human consumption and abuse of the earth’s resources will be inconsequential. To the contrary, it challenges us to respond in an ethical, respectful manner to the call for environmental sterwardship. It is a promissory vision from God that we must work toward, not against. It is NOT a free pass to act irresponsibly. The phrase “As long as the earth edures…” tells me that as long as we care for creation, God will provide. The outcome otherwise will be dire. Genesis 8:22 is a challenge for us to meet God’s expectations. We have failed to do so time and again. So Senator Inhofe, it seems to me that instead of working with and for God, your self-interests have driven you to work against Him. Making arbitrary use of the earth is to betray creation and the earth will rebel in the form of hurricanes, floods, fires, tornadoes, drought, etc. Perhaps that is by design. Perhaps that is what He intended. Senator Inhofe may I quote a bit of scripture for you? “The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the exalted of the earth languish. The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left.” Isaiah 24: 4-6