Does Environmental Conservation Matter in the Last Days?

I recently read an article that asked a very intriguing question. It reminded readers that Revelation informs us with vivid language that this earth is going to be consumed very soon by fire. So why, the article asked, should we bother trying to take care of nature? On the surface, the answer may seem simple. A deeper analysis shows that we are tenets living on God’s land (Job 41:11, Psalm 24:1). The Bible informs us that in these last days, the earth is wearing out (Isaiah 51:6), and God will eventually destroy it with fire (2 Peter 3:10–12). But he continues to sustain it daily and has not abandoned it yet (Revelation 7:1).


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11964
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Keep planting the apple seeds!

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I appreciate the call for Adventists to take the environmental crisis seriously, but I’m struck by the strangeness of asking apocalyptic believers to think “sustainably.” For Adventists, this world is literally not sustainable. Not only that, but because Jesus is put forward as the one and only solution to… everything, human actions are minimized and thought to be ultimately hopeless. Adventist eschatology says that the world will inevitably become worse. Suffering until Jesus returns is expected.

ADRA’s mission of humanitarian service with no strings attached is wonderful, but when I worked there I wrote a script to answer the many calls from donors who didn’t understand why we would try to improve the world at all. My answer was similar to those in this piece. It revolved, ultimately, around duty. God tells us to care for the world so we are obligated to do so.

Although I grant that this can motivate a limited kind of concern for the environment, compare it to those of us who sincerely believe that caring for each other and our world is OUR responsibility alone. I long for the day when Adventists can stop fantasizing about a future world that may never come, and focus their passion and will entirely on making this world a better place right now. By all appearances, the corporate Adventist church can’t even manage to make itself a better place, so I’m really not holding my breath for the rest of the world.

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Your answer would be similar if we ask the question about our bodies, if we are to be given new bodies on Christ’s return, why do we expend so much effort and have so many programmes on healthily living and eating the right foods?

I think we do so while we wait on Jesus’s return and the same for the environment, humans were placed here to care for the earth so regardless of what revelation tells us will happen in the last days, our primary duty is to care for the environment as best as we can.

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I have often wondered about this question as a Christian. Cutting to the short, it seems inhumane to remove the access to coal and oil that has been a great source for life in so many ways. Heat, and mobility are only a few examples. I have never heard any reasonable argument for cutting them as we have been witnessing as of late. If anyone argues based on greenhouse temps, I can only roll my eyes at the shallow attempts. However, when I see food wasted, resources wasted, water wasted, land wasted, filtering not used, trees not re-planted, etc. then I wonder about the wisdom of such carelessness or maybe selfishness. I agree that the degree of such measures becomes the debate as well as the allotment of sources.

As mankind pillaged the world, I can just imagine God sitting in Heaven saying, “I gave you just one job. You had just one one job…steward the earth.”

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I think there is a typo in “Yet, here we are 2,000 years and roughly 1,000 generations later.” should probably read “Yet, here we are 2,000 years and roughly 100 generations later” otherwise we are count two years to a generation and that seems unlikely.

Edit: it has been fixed.

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I once heard that when people started to realize the importance of taking care of the planet, the Adventist Church’s reply was “We don’t need to worry about that, the Lord is coming soon, so we’re not going to have time to deal with it.” But as time went by and the Lord didn’t return when they thought he would did the church start playing a role. And no matter what will happen in the Last Days, we still need to be stewards to this world, because that’s what we’re going to be in the next.

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Thanks for your observation. Yes, two-year generations don’t exactly make sense for homo sapiens. The sentence has been corrected.

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RE: Does Environmental Conservation Matter in the Last Days?

Well, it might not matter so much if we knew, really knew, it was the last days. But we don’t. Paul wrote it was the last days. Christians have been harping on the idea for 2000 years. They’ve all been wrong.

Still, Environmental Conservation at it’s most basic level is about preserving life. What could be more Christ-like than preserving life?

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It is an expression of “Love thy neighbor as thy self” where neighbor is not just humans, but all of creation that needs healing.

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Yeah, honestly the duty thing is a problem right through most SDA beliefs in my opinion.

Imagine two people in two different living scenarios:

The first is a teenager living in his parents’ basement. He knows the arrangement is only temporary, and spends most of his time looking forward to moving out and getting on with his “real life.” Because he respects his parents and their home, he cleans his room every week or so, but his heart isn’t really in it. He keeps the areas everyone can see tidy enough, but doesn’t spend a moment thinking about the dust bunnies under the bed, the new coat of paint that the room will eventually need, or even the asbestos hiding in the walls. He’s moving out very soon after all. Next week, probably, although he said the same thing last week. In the end, this house is not his home, he’s just passing through.

On the other hand, consider the young woman who just moved in across the street from the soon-and-very-soon basement dweller. Her new home is in need of significant maintenance and repairs, and although she didn’t create the problems herself, she jumps into extensive renovations. She has ownership over this house. Every carpet stain, every leaky pipe and every unknown problem lurking in the walls is her responsibility. She wants to raise a family in this house and make it a home. She wants to build a better future for her children. Even though she has no guarantees of success or parents to bail her out, she perseveres and invites others to join her.

This isn’t just an environmental issue. It’s an issue of responsibility and character formation. What kind of people do we want to be? If the sort of grudging, duty-bound environmentalism described here is the best the church can do, then I’d say the Adventist Church (and in my opinion most American Christians) are giving their answer loud and clear. Perhaps someday the church will grow up and move out of the basement, but again, I am not holding my breath.

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Alisa you said you have never heard a reasonable argument for cutting them (coal & oil). Respectfully I’ll try.

Coal and oil do provide heat, energy, warm, access to cooking, etc. Things that make life bearable, sometimes lifesaving. However, they have tradeoffs in both the long term and medium term. For example coal mining leads to many lung diseases and linked to other forms of cancer. Those who live in the surrounding area also experience asthma, COPD, and other lung ailments. Not to mention the long-term climate issues as well as the environmental damage done to the earth (strip mining, mountaintop mining, tailings from mines that contaminate waterways). Oil has similar issues. Advanced fracking has led to earthquake activity in places in the midwest with little or no history of earthquakes. It uses dangerous chemicals in the process that can invade water aquifers and of course petroleum is the major cause of greenhouse gases which also lead to lung ailments especially among children and the elderly. I would support a process to develop other employment options for those effected as jobs in these fields are phased out for jobs in “clean energy”.

You say “it seems inhumane to remove the access to coal and oil that has been a great source for life in so many ways.” I don’t think anyone is suggesting that people don’t have access to life-giving energy for basic needs. They are suggesting that we develop sources of energy that are not so harmful to people and the earth we are stewards of.

Lastly, in March, 2020 the world almost completely shut down for a month or so. I remember going outside of my Southern Calif. home about two weeks into it and realizing that I have never seen the sky so blue here, or the stars so bright at night. There were thousands more birds flying around and you didn’t hear the constant sound of vehicles. The air tasted cleaner, like I was in Yosemite or some other place far away.

It was good.

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Even if everything else does not cut through, the last paragraph in itself should be ample evidence. “Everyone” asks for evidence. March 2020 was the lab test that yielded the evidence.

Yes, it was good.

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I understand those results and thank you for your reply. Failing to filter properly is much of the pollution problem too. I have been watching what is happening in Germany, and it is not good. Many people will die because of the “green” plan forced on them. Many people seem to be duped into thinking that solar and windmills as well as electric transportation are a conclusive solution. What seems more reasonable is to allow for options.

My guess is that the future of this world and its population before Jesus puts an end to it, is that the country or leader who uses the most efficient, cheapest, and plentiful energy sources regardless of pollution, will eventually rule them all. IMO, the people will be ruled over and viewed as merely a number, like an animal or merely a useless eater when they cannot work usefully anymore. I know how that sounds really crazy, but when I see how much energy it takes to make car, truck, and tractor batteries and the resultant waste as they deplete, and how much energy it takes to make windmills and their life expectancy, and how a home is heated on cloudy days, and how windowless buildings will be cooled on warm days, I begin to wonder about the direction we will be led in. I have to wonder if all the facts are being provided to the public when I hear a “sales pitch” from any government that begins to speak green. I have to wonder if they have fully planned for the future and see the future as bright for the population or for themselves. I have to wonder why we follow government as if they know best.

I do know that this earth is temporary and that people are more important than things, and that is good too.

Life may be temporary, as we know it, but the physical planet will survive. It was here before us and will be here after us for a long time. People are not being ‘duped’ but are given facts and they can choose to believe or not. Can someone tell me who these ‘many’ are that will die and what ‘green’ is being forced on them? Often letting ‘people’ choose the options simply means they will take the easiest way out. Some people are serious about their concern for how humanity is using up the planets resources, while other only talk about it in political terms.

Do you have more information about this? I’ve never heard of this before. How does supporting clean energy cause people to die in Germany?

Yes, it does. And it seems to have nothing to do with Environmental Conservation.

That’s a long and complicated thought, and I don’t think I grasp your point. How a home is heated on cloudy days? Windowless buildings cooled on warm days?

I have solar panels on my roof that generate most of the electricity I use each year. Seem to work great.

Why? What concerns you about that?

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Answer: Search Germany population food and heat shortage

Answer: See the above answer

Answer: Have you considered that many parts of the earth do not see sunlight even half as much as California or Arizona? Do you realize that many buildings do not have windows that do not open? Have you wondered how much electricity will need to be generated if our country relied on “electric only” vehicles? Already there are electric shortages in California. I wonder how government officials in California can even pursue trying to convince the public that mandating EV will be a reasonable solution.

Answer: My concerns were already stated.

I wonder how so many people will give complete compliance and trust in the government and not give a thought to mass formation affecting their thoughts and actions. I wonder if a mind fog prevents people from thinking carefully when they become victim to mass formation. One’s great care for the earth should not prevent them from caring for people.

This is a well thought out and balanced article . To live and utilize this earth resources as if there was no tomorrow here on this earth feeds selfishness much like those who horde material things as if life down here will continue indefinitely.

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Lets see now…clean energy causes food shortage…or a heat wave can cause food shortage. Which is it? Something does not compute here. Clean energy should help to curb the pollution that is a part of climate change. Climate change is causing drastic weather issues, ie, uncommon or more sever heat waves in places where they have not been before. That can/will cause crop issues.

Environmental changes are driving the issue of electricity issues in CA, less water for hydropower, etc . Politics , future planning issues, people movement, etc are also reasons. Claiming that finding more ways to conserve or produce electricity is not people friendly defies logic.

‘Mass information’, what ever the meaning of that, seems to be used as either a conspiracy thing or as a political statement. It has nothing to do with the topic at hand. Caring about issues that effect the lives of others is people caring and not the opposite as some may be suggesting. Solutions, not political rhetoric, is what we need for now and the future.