This is something that has confused me over the years. It appears that many Christians stand against the belief that global warming or climate change is occurring. But I have yet to hear any biblical reasoning. What is the biblical basis, if any, that some Christians claim that there is no (potentially devastating) climate change? Furthermore, how does this affect how a Christian should believe and act regarding this issue?
No. The Bible says nothing about global warming either way. Any attempt to twist any scripture to support or deny global warming is pure speculation.
Global warming is something that is squarely within the realm of science to support or disprove. We have facts, evidence, and trustworthy (if contradictory) data. It's a matter for scientific inquiry not Christianity.
Global warming does not predict the end of the world, a repeat of a global flood that would wipe out all mankind, or anything else that would contradict Scripture. Global warming is irrelevant to Scripture and vice-versa. It does predict flooding, but not at the scale necessary to conflict with God's promise to Noah. In short it predicts hardship, not total destruction.
As for how global warming should affect Christian worldviews (and vice-versa) the two are completely unrelated, and should affect each other no more than Brittney Spears' favorite color should affect what I want to eat for breakfast. (which is bacon and eggs.)
We're already supposed to be good stewards of the world God gave us. The truth or falseness of global warming does not change the fact of our responsibility.
The bible has very little to say on the topic. The closest would be Genesis 9:11
I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.
Even that passage has little relevance to the Global Warming issue today, as no one I know would suggest that Global Warming/Climate Change is threatening to cover the entire Earth with water (perhaps large parts, but not the entire globe).
I believe the larger question here is whether or not you believe that God directs history. If you believe that God is in control of the world, as do most Christians, then Global Warming and it's consequences are irrelevant. Maybe God intends catastrophe, and Global Warming will change the face of the planet; if so, this is God's will and mankind will be powerless to prevent it.On the other hand, maybe God intends it all come to nothing; in this case "Nature" will recover no matter how much mankind pollutes things.
This means that it makes little difference to Christians whether or not Global Warming itself is or is not real, because we have no influence in the outcome either way. The idea that we need to recycle more or become more energy efficient in order to "save the planet" is something that many Christians will vehemently dispute. There may be other good reasons to do both, but from the Christian perspective, saving the planet isn't one of them.
This isn't to say we should always act helpless. If I see a house on fire, I'm going to call the fire department to put it out. But what alarmists are talking about here is on the level of global catastrophe; perhaps not complete utter destruction, but still on the level where Christians tend to believe things are firmly in God's Hands.
That out of the way, there is also a stewardship issue in play here as well: God gave the Earth to mankind, to take care of it. It is amazing to me that Christians who would never just throw litter around will also take part in polluting the planet in just slightly less-direct ways. Of course, I am no doubt just as guilty of this hypocrisy, as are many Global Warming advocates. It's just so easy to cause indirect pollution these days; if you rode a vehicle to work or school this morning that ultimately derives motive power from petroleum or coal, even a hybrid or mass-transit, you're already guilty.
While perhaps many Christians do doubt Global Warming, it's not really Global Warming or Climate Change that the Christian faith would stand against most strongly: it's the fear-mongering that goes along with it. Let's teach our children to care for the planet, but teach them to do it because it's the right thing to do for themselves and for society (and for believers, because it's what God wants us to do), and not because the world will end if we don't.
We can also go a step deeper. It may not be true that man is powerless against global warming. A major theme in the Old Testament is how it shows a cycle of the Israelite Nation: Israel turns from God, God punishes Israel, Israel turns back to God, God rescues Israel from the punishment and restores it. This theme is repeated over and over. If global warming does result in catastrophic climate change, it may be that God is working through a similar process. In a global culture that is increasingly secular, such a calamity could serve to move the hearts of man back towards God, at which point He would restore us.
If this the case, then there is a route we can take that avoids dooms-day scenarios. However, this route does not involve conservation or limiting carbon dioxide. It's through lifting our hearts to God in prayer and praise.
I have heard a couple of "biblical" arguments against Global Warming. One is an appeal to God's promise that never again would a global flood destroy all life:
Genesis 9:11 (NIV)
11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
Genesis 9:15 (NIV)
15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.
Of course, this is ludicrous, as global warming advocates do not actually predict a global flood. Another argument, used by a Senator Inhofe is to reference God's promise to sustain the seasons:
Genesis 8:22 (NIV)
22 “As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”
This is also ludicrous, as global warming advocates do not actually predict cold/heat or summer/winter to cease.
I'd like to point out that even though a disproportionately large number of Christians do doubt global warming, this is due to (in my opinion, unfortunate) societal and political factors - not biblical reasoning. Most Christians would readily recognize that these "biblical" arguments are weak at best, and delusional at worst.
The passage in Genesis 8:22 is perfectly applicable to the issue of global warming because it specifically says that summer/winter & cold/heat shall not cease. The seasons will not be interrupted. Someone on this thread said that even global climate change proponents are not saying that the seasons will be destroyed...and then they go on to talk about how spring is longer, summer is hotter, etc. Interesting!
God's word is absolute. Cold and heat (meaning extremes) will continue.
There IS one scenario where the earth could warm. There's one Biblical way for the earth to warm and not contradict the above-mentioned passage. The Scriptures promised that at one point the earth will melt with a fervent heat. Could it be that God has declared it the end, and has set global warming in motion in order to accomplish this? The promise in Genesis 8:22 says that cold/heat will continue as long as the earth remains, if God sets in motion a plan to destroy it by fire, with the earth gradually warming up to a melting point, both scriptures would compliment one another.
While this is a possibility, I tend to believe that global warming/cooling is cyclical in nature - just like the seasons it's natural and has happened for hundreds of years. Either way, global warming is clearly not man made and Christians would be wise to avoid the attempted manipulation of the populace for a power grab by the ruling elite.
The purportedly relevant passage is probably this one: From Genesis 8:20-22 after the flood (_my translation, available on Wikisource )
And Noah did build an altar for Yahweh; and he took from all the pure beast, and from every pure fowl, and raised smoke in the altar. And Yahweh smelled the comforting smell, and said to Himself, no more will I curse the ground on cause of man, because the heart of man has wrong from his adolescence, and no more will I strike all that lives, just as I have done. Onward, all the days of the earth: seeding and reaping and cold and hot, and summer and winter, and night and day, will not arrest
This passage says that God will not strike down the Earth with catastrophic flooding again. So this could be interpreted by anti-global-warming zealots as saying that global warming will not melt the ice caps.
Even ignoring the fact that the whole Bible is not a scientific guide, and this story is in no way historical or factual, this story is not making predictions regarding future climate.
This passage is solely talking about the relation of God to man, and states that God will not turn his back on the descendents of Noah, no matter how terrible their deeds. It does not make any claims about whether the activity of humans can alter climate, or whether humans can cause catastrophic flooding by their own stupid actions.
Many protestant Christians in the U.S. tend to be politically conservative, and the global warming denial movement is essentially just a propaganda machine by wealthy businessmen whose business interest involves burning fossil fuels. This means that it is supported by conservatives, and by extension, many Christians. Global warming denial is a fringe position, and it is not taken seriously by any large group of people outside the U.S., nor by many scientists, nor by theologians.