Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Scientists are the modern day false prophets
I spent some time last night watching the special on ABC Earth 2100, that supposedly chronicles the disasters that will converge on the human race over the next 100 years. "Scientists" interviewed on the program were predicting that the earth would run out of fresh water, food would be scarce, a global pandemic would wipe out at least half the world population, ocean levels would rise and much of modern day society would become a wasteland. These days we have raised the vocation of "scientist" to that of a prophet.
Scientist love to make predictions; they love to make their predictions scary. After all, who would buy your book if all you predicted was that everything will stay the same. You've got to predict something big and bad if you want to make any money. Unfortunately the track record of these doomsday predictions isn't very convincing. Over the years these doomsday predictions have come up short and just been flat wrong. Deuteronomy 18:22 tells us that prophets who are wrong are no prophets at all.
That said, Christians can listen to the point of view of the "prophets" and hear the flap about climate change and take away one or two valuable points. Modern societies are not always the best stewards of God's creation. They should be. Christians especially should be. God gave us this world. He likes it. He thinks it's good. (Genesis 1:31) Therefore Christians should be concerned to take care of it. This is part of the Christian's vocation to serve his neighbor. After all, it's not serving your neighbor if your neighbor has to clean up all the trash that you threw out your window as you were driving by.
While Christians are conscious to be conscientious stewards of God's good world, that does not mean that we think of it as our salvation. ABC news promised us that if we change our behavior and started living a greener lifestyle we could look forward to a Utopian world where there is lots of food and clean air and clean water for everyone. Environmentalism is our means to self salvation.
This is not the world as the Bible describes it. A quick read through Revelation 8:8-12 is helpful. Because God wants all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth he will send natural disasters. Crops will burn up and be destroyed. (Revelation 8:7) The oceans will be disrupted and the living things in them will die. (Revelation 8:9) Our clean drinking water will be polluted. (Revelation 8:11) The sun will be darkened. (Revelation 8:12)
This is good prophecy. This is true prophecy. All we need to do is think back over the headlines from the past few years to see that God has done this very thing. Remember the floods in Iowa and Indiana? Remember the devastation to the farmland? Remember the polluted drinking water? Remember the loss of life? Remember Katrina? The tsunami? Remember the devastation to local commerce and maritime trade? All these disasters were predicted right there in Revelation. God said he would send them. But these disasters won't be the end of us. God limits these disasters. Revelation tells us they come in thirds. (Revelation 8:7, 8:9, 8:12) Natural disasters are not intended to destroy all of God's world, only part, because He wants sinners to know that the Judgment is coming and they must repent.
Our own modern day false prophets tell us the world is ending. They are correct. The world is ending. But the salvation they proclaim is self salvation. "No Jesus? No Repentance? No Problem! Just use less gas. Buy new light bulbs. You can save yourself and your children." The thing is, it's that sin, that self-worshipping and self-saving sin, that got us here in the first place.