JISHOU, HUNAN — I visit Dispatches from the Culture Wars almost every day, and today commented on a report about Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), who is convinced that not only is global warming a lot of hooey, but that God has everything under control, so we humans needn’t worry at all.
In an interview with Voice of Christian Youth America, Inhofe repeated his claim that anthropic global warming is all a hoax. He gave as his reason:
Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that “as long as the earth remains there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night.” My point is, 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.
At Dispatches, there was a lot of commentary about how knuckleheaded this reasoning is, and I added to the discussion with a rejoinder that I think is so good I am repeating it here.
If you read Genesis carefully (and not human chauvinistically), it’s important to note that God created humans last, and told them to be stewards of His creation (while he was off on holiday playing golf, I suppose). Then he repeatedly punishes them when they continue to screw up, wiping entire populations clear off the map. After washing the Earth clean, he tells Noah he won’t turn on the wash cycle again, but implies there might be other divinely inspired cataclysms awaiting humanity (perhaps the spin cycle or the quick-dry cycle) if they continue to screw up.
Taken as a whole, one could conclude that God cares more about the Earth than about humans, and that our stay here might only be a temporary one, until he thinks of something better to amuse himself with. He made a covenant with humanity, which like any other contract requires both parties to live up to the agreement. So, who’s to say (Biblically speaking) that God won’t look at what we’ve been doing to the Earth these last 100 years, re-read the clause about humans being stewards of his creation, conclude we broke the contract, and just let us slowly make ourselves extinct? (Hanging us out to dry, to continue the clothes washing metaphor.)
Inhofe and others have a complete lack of humility, a kind of religious anthropic principle, which tells them God created Earth just for us, and so He would never ever let us permanently dirty the playpen He made especially for us. We’re his little darlings. Humans don’t have to act responsibly at all; God will make everything better.
Again, as the OT repeatedly points out, irresponsible behavior makes Daddy really, really angry. Inhofe, et al., have clearly missed that lesson.
In addition, the very passages that Inhofe cites says only that God will continue to let the seasons happen “as long as the earth remains.” That’s an important clause there. A careful reader (or a lawyer, which Inhofe is not) would notice the gaping loophole in God’s promise. He could still honor the promise by wiping the Earth out of existence. Moreover, the promise says nothing about humans being around to enjoy the perpetual cycle of changing seasons.
Inhofe, by the way, is the ranking member of the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. This man, whose reading of the Bible is as poor as his understanding of science, helps shape the environmental policy of the nation.
Somewhere, God is shaking his non-existent head, and trying instead to focus on his golf swing.