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The Future of the Planet

Chris Packham, at the moment one of the BBC's darlings, is prophesying that the planet will heat up to the point where human life can no longer exist on Earth, unless - of course - we take urgent measures to reduce our emissions of CO2. If our present way of life continues, it means that sooner or later the Earth is will just go up in fire.

Now, I am something of a Climate Change sceptic. I do not doubt that the earth is warming up, nor that our present consumption of its natural resouces is not at least partially to blame. What I am sceptical about is that anything or anyone can change this from happening. In this country or the Western world we may change over from burning fossil fuels for using heat pumps, or relying on wind farms or solar panels. But can you see the rest of the world, still so far behind us in standards of lving, countries like India, China or the nations of Africa, refusing to develop as we have done: to bring comfort and prosperity to their millions by exploiting their natural resources, by increasing their manufacturing, and growing their economies, with the inevitable results for the world's climate?

In any case, I know of another prophet, whose word I respect rather more than Chris Packham's who has another prophecy about the world's end. It is the prophecy of Jesus, a first century Jewish prophet who was recognised by many, then and now, to be the Son of God, the creator of the world himself. Jesus prophesied that there would always be ‘wars and rumours of wars, famines and earthquakes in various places’, but that eventually the world would come to an end; he would come again in glory; and we, both the living and the dead, would be judged. It is worth noting that his followers, Peter and Paul, also believed that the world would end in fire!

Does that mean that we should ignore completely the warnings of Chris Packham? Not entirely. God did create us, human beings, to work and care for the Earth (Genesis 2.15). It is our sinfulness that in so many ways has led us instead to exploit and ravage God's creation, and to ruin the Earth by our greed and avarice. I am disgusted and ashamed at all the heaps of rubbish that I and my wife end up throwing away every week, most of it going to land-fill. This cannot go on indefinitely; every hole in the ground will be full of our debris. But I do not know what the answer is to all this waste and consumption. As individuals we are locked into this catastrophic way of life. What can we do to make any significance difference? OK, let's do what we can, individually and as societies, but I do not believe that we can stop this stampede to acquire for oursleves more and more of this world's goods.

In any case, the most important thing is to keep our eyes fixed on the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus, which is certain, whatever we do in the meantime. It is not in this world that we are going to find Paradise, whatever we do to the climate, but in a new world, a world to come, free at last from sin, and living in perfect harmony with God, with each other and with the whole of God's new creation. Hallelujah.

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