Climate Deniers And The Bible

The following blog will shortly appear on the web site of Sacristy Press:

The Glasgow Climate Summit approaches but governments mouth promises that fail to deliver. China, India, Germany, Brazil continue to massively pollute and UK fiddles while regions burn. Capitalists who make profit god while they rape the earth and climate deniers still pull the world’s strings.

Without a massive revolution we have less than a decade left of civilized life on earth. Yet churches use non-eco heating, fail to re-wild their churchyards, promote local food sharing or teach the biblical truths about creation-care.

From start to finish the Scriptures teach that we reap what we sow. The Bible starts with the story of the human lust to take control of earth: the blood spilt by Cain’s lust to control makes the earth sterile (Genesis 4:8-12). The Gospels end with an earthquake and the sun’s eclipse caused by humans killing the Son of God through whom all creation gets its life (Matthew 27:45-52; John 1:3).

The prophets repeatedly point out that human mistreatment makes the earth sterile: ‘You have polluted the land with your whoring and wickedness. Therefore the showers have been withheld and the spring rain has not come’ (Jeremiah 3:2, 5).  ‘Because everyone is greedy for unjust gain …there are no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the trees; even the leaves wither’ (Jeremiah 8: 2b, 3, 13). ‘Because everyone… is greedy and deals falsely (Jeremiah 8:10) the mountains and pastures are laid waste’ (9:10). ‘The earth will become a wasteland because there is no one who cares’ (12:11). 

 Most campaigners against climate extinction dismiss Christianity as a colonial religion that treats the earth as a refuse bin since heaven is all that matters.  We urgently need to point to creation-friendly traditions within Christianity.

 My book Celtic Christianity and Climate Crisis (especially the first chapter and Epilogue) does just this. It points out that Athanasius presents Jesus’ baptismal immersion in the river Jordan as a restoration of God not only with humans (Adam) but with all creation (Eden). Chrysostom taught that our baptism is meant to be a sign of our life-long calling to restore the divine communion with creation. It points out that the practice of Celtic saints of praying while immersed in water were visible signs of this restoration of communion, and of fellowship equally with angels and animals.

 the Celtic High Crosses combine the Cross with the Circle.  Interpretations vary, but for many the circle represents the sun, creation, becoming whole through the Cosmic Christ’s Defenceless Love. Christianity is about stewardship and transformation.  We model what we mouth.

 

The book contrasts the head-centered churches in urban areas of the Roman empire with the head/heart/hands centered churches in Celtic lands that became villages of God where stewarding the land and offering home-grown hospitality went hand in hand with theology and prayer.

 

It traces how the split in western Christianity between the spiritual and the material has betrayed the planet, and suggests that today’s churches can become holistic, eco-friendly hubs that offer a prophetic challenge to the earth’s rape by the  blind and greedy powers-that-be.

 

For, as Columbanus taught, if we trample the earth the earth will trample us.

 

Ray Simpson, Founding Guardian of The Community of Aidan and Hilda www.aidanandhilda.org

Posted at 08:25am on 5th August 2021
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