"THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS" We Reap What We Sow (6:7-9) by Mark Copeland

                     "THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS"

                      We Reap What We Sow (6:7-9)


1. While encouraging Christians to share and do good, Paul reminds them
   of the principle of sowing and reaping... - Ga 6:7-9

2. Related to sowing and reaping, Madame Chiang Kai-shek once wrote:

   "If the past has taught us anything it is that every cause brings its
   effect, every action has a consequence. We Chinese have a saying: "If
   a man plants melons he will reap melons; if he sows beans, he will
   reap beans." And this is true of everyone's life; good begets good,
   and evil leads to evil. True enough, the sun shines on the saint and
   the sinner alike, and too often it seems that the wicked prosper. But
   we can say with certainty that, with the individual as with the
   nation, the flourishing of the wicked is an illusion, for,
   unceasingly, life keeps books on us all. In the end, we are all the
   sum total of our actions. Character cannot be counterfeited, nor can
   it put on and cast off as if it were a garment to meet the whim of
   the moment. Like the markings on wood which are ingrained in the very
   heart of the tree, character requires time and nurturing for growth
   and development. Thus also, day by day, we write our own destiny; for
   inexorably...we become what we do."

[The implications of this principle (we reap what we sow) are important,
worthy of our consideration...]


      1. Our position, attitude, character, etc., is the result of our
         actions in the past
      2. We cannot lay blame on heredity, environment, parents, society,
      3. Such things influenced us only to the degree that we let them
      4. We must accept responsibility for our actions, for God will
         demand it of us one day! - cf. 2Co 5:10
      -- Truly, the present reveals much about our past!

      1. We can change, if we do not like what we are today! 
         - cf. 2 Co 5:17
      2. But such change comes slowly, not overnight - cf. Ro 12:1-2;
         1Pe 2:1-2
      3. We must begin sowing today, if we want to reap tomorrow!
      4. While true of everyone, especially true for the young
         a. They are making choices which will affect the rest of their
         b. They cannot "sow wild oats" and not "reap the harvest"!
      -- Just as true, the present portends much about our future!

[And so, "we become what we do." Now let's consider the principle as
applied by Paul in our text...]


      1. Either we sow to the flesh - Ga 6:8a
         a. This entails the works of the flesh described earlier - cf.
            Ga 5:19-21
         b. Those who sow to the flesh reap corruption (sorrow, disease,
         c. They will not inherit the kingdom of God! - Ga 5:21
         d. They will instead experience the wrath of God! - Ep 5:5-7
      2. Or we sow to the Spirit - Ga 6:8b
         a. This entails walking in the Spirit (see more below) - Ga 5:
         b. Those who sow to the Spirit reap everlasting life (abundant
            life, salvation)
         c. They will also reap the fruit of the Spirit - cf. Ga 5:22-23
      -- We can't do both (cf. Ga 5:16-17); so which will it be?

      1. By doing good to all, especially brethren - cf. Ga 6:10
         a. This is the context of Paul's remarks on sowing and reaping
            - cf. also 2Co 9:6-7
         b. Paul writes of reaping everlasting life - Ga 6:8
         c. Elsewhere he makes a similar connection - cf. 1Ti 6:17-19
         d. Jesus makes a similar connection on several occasions
            1) In the sermon on the Mount - cf. Lk 6:35
            2) To His disciples, following a parable on covetousness
               - cf. Lk 12:15,33-34
            3) To the rich young ruler, who lacked one thing 
               - cf. Lk 18:22
      2. By sharing in the good things taught in the Word - cf. Ga 6:6
         a. As some understand Paul's comments in verse 6
         b. Even if not Paul's original intent, the principle certainly
            remains true
         c. We can so share in two ways:
            1) Obedience to the gospel, of course - cf. He 5:9; Mk 16:16
            2) Growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ 
                - cf. 2 Pe 3:18
         d. Doing so will one day reap a wonderful harvest! 
            - cf. 2 Pe 1:5-11
      -- We sow to the Spirit (and lay up treasure in heaven) as we do
         good to all!

      1. There is the need for patience and perseverance - Ga 6:9
      2. The labor is not in vain - 1Co 15:58
      3. The reaping will come at the proper time (the coming of the
         Lord) - cf. Jm 5:7
      4. We shall reap if we don't lose heart and give up
      -- Learn from the farmer...have faith like a farmer!


1. Our character today may not be what it should be, but it can change

2. We have but two choices, which shall it be...
   a. Sow to the Spirit, and reap eternal life?
   b. Sow to the flesh, and reap corruption?

Eternal life awaits those who are willing to sow to the Spirit by
patiently doing good... - cf. Ro 2:7

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Does a Personal Response by Paul Disprove Inspiration? by Wayne Jackson, M.A.


Does a Personal Response by Paul Disprove Inspiration?

by Wayne Jackson, M.A.


Some have suggested that the Bible contains a lot of trivial information—e.g., Paul’s request that Timothy bring his “cloak” to Rome (2 Timothy 4:13). They say this sort of material argues against the idea of verbal inspiration. Could you comment on this?


What appears to be superficial initially, upon deeper reflection, may contain a rich depository of truth. Consider the following possibilities.
(1) Why did Paul leave his cloak in Troas? Was he forced to flee, and thus had no time to obtain it? Is this another hint of the apostle’s ongoing persecution in his declining years? Perhaps.
(2) This is another commentary on the sacrificial poverty of him who was willing to spend and be spent for the cause of Christ (2 Corinthians 12:15). Think of it—winter approaching (vs. 21), and yet the apostle’s one coat is a thousand miles away! Paul was no stranger to “cold and nakedness” (2 Corinthians 11:27).
(3) Where are the saints in Rome during the time of Paul’s physical need? Where are the enthusiastic Christians who had rushed out of the city years earlier to meet the tireless preacher as he approached the city (Acts 28:15)? Had many of them been scattered by persecution? Had some turned against the apostle (see Philippians 1:15-17)? At Paul’s first defense, no one took his part; all forsook him (vs. 16). And even as this second letter to Timothy was composed, only Luke remained with him (vs.11). People can change; love can wax cold (Matthew 24:12).
(4) The passage is revealing of the fortitude and independence of the magnificent Paul. No word of complaining or whimpering comes from his courageous lips. No brow-beating of neglectful brethren, and no pitiful solicitation from others, is here in evidence. What a man!
Let it never be said that this, or any other passage of Scripture, is meaningless or trite. Such superficial criticisms come only from those who neglect the responsibility of serious investigation. There is not an insignificant sentence in the Sacred Volume.

God, Atheism, and the True Meaning of Life by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


God, Atheism, and the True Meaning of Life

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

I wonder how many casual atheists (and agnostics who teeter on the brink of atheism) have actually thought through the fact that atheism implies that life ultimately is meaningless. One of the world’s most celebrated atheistic, evolutionary writers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Dr. Richard Dawkins, confessed in a 1995 Scientific American article, “The Universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom…no purpose…nothing but pitiless indifference.”1 More recently, in September 2016, Graham Lawton, Executive Editor of New Scientist magazine, penned a one-page article titled, “What is the Meaning of Life?” What answer did this leading evolutionary agnostic give? Here was his heavy-hitting first line: “The harsh answer is ‘it has none.’”2 “Your life may feel like a big deal to you,” he wrote, “but it’s actually a random blip of matter and energy in an uncaring and impersonal universe.”3 Other than subjective feelings of meaning and importance, unbelief implies “we will never get objective data on the matter.”4Atheism and agnosticism simply fail “to capture a ‘true’ or ‘higher’ meaning.”5
In light of such valid, but depressing, confessions about unbelief, I would simply like to point out two beautiful truths about theism, and specifically biblical theism. First, a person can logically come to know that the God of the Bible exists.6 If matter demands a Maker; if life on Earth demands a life Giver; if complex, functional design in the Universe demands a Designer; and if the supernatural attributes of the Bible demand a Supernatural Author; then the evidence demands this verdict: the God of the Bible exists. Second, the Word of God gives mankind the meaning and purpose that he inherently longs for. Please understand, rational Christians do not come to believe in God and in the Bible as His inspired Word simply because we want some objective meaning to our life on Earth. Rather, once we see the evidence for God and His Word and commit our lives to the Lord in obedience to the Gospel of Christ (Romans 6:1-17; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9), our admittedly innate but formerly uninformed desire for a “higher meaning” is at that moment made complete by the “perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25). In fact, God gave His inspired Word so that “the man of God may be complete” (2 Timothy 3:17). No doubt, part of this Divinely given, God-revealed “perfection” or “completeness” is one’s realization that the human life actually has real, objective meaning.
The best atheism can do is to ask people to choose for themselves what the meaning of human life is. But such meaning is entirely subjective. One person could just as easily conclude that the meaning of life is to reduce the population of human beings on Earth by any means possible in order to “save mother Earth,”7 as he could decide that the meaning of life is “to follow those impulses and instincts which are the strongest or which seem to him the best ones,”8 including having sexual relations with anyone, at anytime, anywhere.9 On the other hand, Christianity offers the world real, objective meaning. The Creator of mankind has informed us that we exist on Earth for the purpose of choosing (by the grace of God) where we want to live eternally (Matthew 7:13-14). As we prepare to meet our Maker (Ecclesiastes 12:7), He has instructed us to “[f]ear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).


1 Richard Dawkins (1995), “God’s Utility Function,” Scientific American, 273[5]:85, November, emp. added.
2 Graham Lawton (2016), “What is the Meaning of Life?” New Scientist, 231[3089]:33, September 3.
3 Ibid., emp. added.
4 Ibid., emp. added.
5 Ibid.
6 See Eric Lyons and Kyle Butt (2014), “7 Reasons to Believe in God,” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=5045&topic=93. For even more evidence, visit the “Existence of God” section of ApologeticsPress.org.
7 See Eric Lyons (2010), “Save the Planet! Kill the People!” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=3586&topic=94.
8 Charles Darwin (1958), The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, ed. Nora Barlow (New York: W.W. Norton).
9 Regardless of whether the person is willing. Cf. Randy Thornhill and Craig T. Palmer (2000), A Natural History of Rape (Cambridge: MIT Press).

What Should We Call the Church? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


What Should We Call the Church?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

A visitor to this Web site recently wrote our offices inquiring about the name that the universal Church should wear. In a day when millions of church-goers are naming themselves after everything from angels to men to religious offices and activities (with many churches apparently feeling like the more bizarre they are, the better), this gentleman’s e-mail was refreshing to read. It was evident that he and those of the church where he worshipped had a desire to be called, not the latest trendy name or whatever denominational name their great-great-great...grandparents wore, but whatever God wants them to be called. What does God want the Church to be known as? If a congregation of the Church is going to put a sign outside of their meeting place, or put their contact information in phone books and on the Internet, or have an official name on the books at the court house, what name should the Church wear?

There is only one place to turn to find out what followers of Jesus Christ should be called: God’s Word (see Butt, 2007). God created man, saved man, and has every right to tell man what to do and how to do it. The teachings of Jesus Christ and His apostles and prophets in God’s revealed Word is man’s ultimate authority and the book by which the world will be judged (Matthew 28:18; John 12:48; Colossians 3:17). If the saved want to please God in every area of their lives, including the religious name they wear, God’s Word must be consulted.

It is helpful, first of all, to understand something about the word “church.” The Greek word ekklesia, translated “church” in most English Bibles, was generally understood in the first-century Roman-ruled world simply to mean “assembly”—a gathering of people, whether for a secular or a religious purpose (Danker, et al., 2000, pp. 303-304; Thayer, 1962, pp. 195-196). Three times in Acts 19, Luke used the term ekklesia to describe a disorderly, secular assembly at Ephesus (vss. 32,39,41). The Septuagint translators used the term ekklesia more than 200 years before Christ in their Greek translation of the Old Testament to describe a group of 400,000 Israelite soldiers (Judges 20:2). In short, the word ekklesia was used before and after the time of Christ in reference to any kind of assembly. In the New Testament, however, it most often refers to obedient followers of Jesus Christ—those who have been called “out (Greek ek) of darkness intoHis marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9, emp. added).

Several times in the New Testament, the term “church” is linked together with the Greek term theos (God), and thus one easily can ascertain the fact that the Church to which obedient believers belong is the Church begun and owned by God. Paul wrote “to the church of God which is at Corinth” (1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1, emp. added), and later commanded the Corinthians to “[g]ive no offense...to the church of God” (1 Corinthians 10:32-33, emp. added). He confessed to the churches of Galatia that he had “persecuted the church of God” before becoming a Christian (Galatians 1:13, emp. added). Paul also wrote to the Christians in Thessalonica, reminding them how they “became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea” (1 Thessalonians 2:14, emp. added), and even boasted of them “among the churches of God” for their endurance through persecution (2 Thessalonians 1:3-4, emp. added). One must not miss the point that the Church of the New Testament is God’s Church. It is of divine origin and established according to Deity’s “eternal purpose” (Ephesians 3:11). Certainly then, the name “church of God” is a biblical name to wear. “Children of God” (John 1:12; Romans 8:16; 1 John 3:1-2) are members of the “church of God.”

The Bible writers also referred to the “church of God” as the body or Church of Christ. Why would God’s Church be called Christ’s Church? Consider the following:
  • Jesus is Deity (John 1:1,3,23; 10:30,33; 20:28; cf. Isaiah 9:6).
  • Jesus said the Church was “His” (Matthew 16:18).
  • Jesus paid for the Church with His own blood (Acts 20:28).
  • Jesus saved the Church from eternal destruction (John 3:16; Acts 4:12; Ephesians 5:23)
  • Jesus is “the head of the body, the church” (Colossians 1:18,24; Ephesians 5:22-23).
  • Jesus is the bridegroom and the Church is His bride (Ephesians 5:22-32; Revelation 21:9; cf. Matthew 25:1-13).
  • Jesus is returning to take His faithful Church to a new home (John 14:1-3; Matthew 25:1-13; 1 Corinthians 15:24; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
Sincere, open-minded, obedient followers of Jesus Christ (i.e., Christians—Acts 11:26) who read the New Testament wondering what they should call the Church of which they are members, will come to the following conclusion: Though God did not assign one particular title for the Church, there are biblical designations that Christians can wear “by faith” (Romans 10:17), namely “Church of God” and “Church of Christ.” [NOTE: This is not to say that everyone who wears one of these names is a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. Sadly, many who wear both of these names dishonor God with unscriptural acts of worship, a variety of false teachings, lukewarm lives, etc.) A faithful follower of Jesus Christ must be committed to assembling with Christians who not only wear a scriptural, non-divisive name, but also who practice authorized, unadulterated, New Testament Christianity (see Miller, 2007).]

Nowhere in the New Testament was the Church called Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Catholic, Guardian Angels’, etc. In fact, the Christians in Corinth were specifically warned about wearing divisive names that bring honor to men and imply that the Church is divided (1 Corinthians 1:10-17; cf. John 17:20-21). Sadly, millions of “Christians” around the world continue to call themselves by names other than those God has authorized in Scripture.

In addition to Scripture’s numerous examples of the Church being called God’s or Christ’s, common sense demands such biblical designations. Consider two examples.
  • If Christ owns the Church, should the Church not wear His name? If a man (we’ll call him Ricky) worked 20 years, saved his money, and bought a house, whose house is it? It is Ricky’s house. If anyone ever put a sign in front of Ricky’s house that said the house was any person’s other than Ricky’s, he would be doing that which is unauthorized and displeasing to Ricky. Only he who owns the house has the right to name it. The Church is “the house of God” (1 Timothy 3:15, emp. added), no one else’s. Christians should call His “house” by no other name.
  • If my wife informed me today that she wanted to wear another man’s name, I would be terribly hurt and “jealous with godly jealousy” (2 Corinthians 11:2-4). Perhaps it wasn’t another man’s name, but simply a name that correlates with something she likes. Say, for example, instead of Jana Lyons, she wanted to be called Jana Homeschooler. Would that bother me? It most certainly would. I love homeschooling, but I am seriously opposed to my wife calling herself by any other name than Lyons. Similarly, if the Church is the bride of Christ, why would any church claiming to be in love with Jesus and married to Him spiritually ever call themselves by another name? God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5) and nothing in Scripture authorizes His Church to call herself anything other than after Him.
When the Jewish Sanhedrin brought Peter and John before them not many days after the Church had been established (Acts 4) and inquired “by what name” they had been teaching, Peter exclaimed:
[B]y the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:8,10-12, emp. added).
The Bible may not give one official title for the Church, but both reason and revelation demand that Christians put off party names and simply call themselves after the One Who saved them. When Jesus comes back to receive His bride and take her home, she better be wearing His name and no one else’s.


Butt, Kyle (2007), Behold! The Word of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

Danker, Frederick William, William Arndt, and F.W. Gingrich, (2000), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).

Miller, Dave (2007), What the Bible Says About the Church of Christhttp://www.apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/wtbsatcoc.pdf.

Thayer, J.H. (1962), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

The Da Vinci Code and the Dead Sea Scrolls by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


The Da Vinci Code and the Dead Sea Scrolls

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The Schøyen Collection MS 1655/1
In 1947, a number of ancient documents were found (by accident) in a cave on the northwest side of the Dead Sea. This collection of documents, which has become known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, was comprised of old leather and papyrus scrolls and fragments that had been rolled up in earthen jars for centuries. From 1949 to 1956, hundreds of Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts and a few Greek fragments were found in surrounding caves, and are believed by scholars to have been written between 200 B.C. and the first half of the first century A.D. Some of the manuscripts were of Jewish apocryphal and pseudepigraphal writings (e.g., 1 Enoch, Tobit, and Jubilees); others are often grouped together as “ascetic” writings (miscellaneous books of rules, poetry, commentary, etc.). The most notable group of documents found in the caves of Qumran near the Dead Sea is the collection of Old Testament books. Every book from the Hebrew Bible was accounted for among the scrolls, except the book of Esther.
The Dead Sea Scrolls make up one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all times. Jews and Christians often point to these scrolls as evidence for the integrity of the Old Testament text. Prior to 1947, the earliest known Old Testament manuscripts only went back to about A.D. 1000. With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Bible scholars have been able to compare the present day text with the text from more than 2,000 years ago. What they have found are copies of Old Testament books separated in time by more than a millennium that are amazingly similar. Indeed, the Old Testament text had been transmitted faithfully through the centuries. As Rene Paché concluded: “Since it can be demonstrated that the text of the Old Testament was accurately transmitted for the last 2,000 years, one may reasonably suppose that it had been so transmitted from the beginning” (1971, p. 191).
So what does all of this have to do with The Da Vinci Code? According to Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate” (2003a, p. 1, emp. added). Yet notice how Brown uses one of his main fictional characters (Leigh Teabing) in the book. In an attempt to disparage the New Testament documents, Teabing alleged the following about them and their relationship to the Dead Sea Scrolls:
“[S]ome of the gospels that Constantine attempted to eradicate managed to survive. The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the 1950s hidden in a cave near Qumran in the Judean desert” (Brown, 2003a, p. 234).
“These are photocopies of the Nag Hammadi and Dead Sea Scrolls, which I mentioned earlier,” Teabing said. “The earliest Christian records. Troublingly, they do not match up with the gospels in the Bible” (p. 244).
Although Brown asserted on the very first page of his book that “[a]ll descriptions of...documents...in this novel are accurate” (emp. added), and even though he claimed “absolutely all” of his book is based on reality in terms of things that actually occurred (see Brown, 2003b), among the many inaccurate statements he made in his book are those quoted above regarding the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Simply put, the Dead Sea Scrolls are not in any way “Christian records;” they are Jewish writings from a Jewish religious sect, most of which predate the time of Christ (and thus Christianity) by several decades, and in some cases one or two centuries. These scrolls contain no “gospels.” In fact, Jesus of Nazareth is never even mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Such a reckless use of one of the greatest biblical archaeological discoveries ever should cause readers to see The Da Vinci Code for what it really is—a fictional novel bent on raising unnecessary suspicion about the trustworthiness of the Bible. Interestingly, the “documents” Brown used in hopes of casting doubt on Christianity, are, in actuality, some of the greatest pieces of evidence for the reliability of the Old Testament. What’s more, the Old Testament was “the Bible” of the early church. It is from these “Scriptures” that first-century Christians gleaned a greater understanding about Jesus, Who, as taught in the Old Testament, was the Christ, the prophesied Messiah (Acts 8:32-35; 17:10-11; 2 Timothy 3:15-17). In that sense, the Hebrew Scriptures contained in the Dead Sea Scrolls collection marvelously “match up with the gospels in the Bible.”


Brown, Dan (2003a), The Da Vinci Code (New York: Doubleday).
Brown, Dan (2003b), “Today,” NBC, Interview with Matt Lauer, June 9.
Paché, Rene (1971), The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

Big Bang or "Big Crunch"? by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


Big Bang or "Big Crunch"?

by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


Some scientists have suggested that the Universe started via the “Big Bang,” and will collapse via a “Big Crunch.” Then the whole process will start all over again. Does such a concept have any merit?
The origin and destiny of the Universe always have been important topics in the creation/evolution controversy. In the past, evolutionists went to great extremes to avoid scenarios that suggested a Universe with a beginning or ending, because such scenarios posed bothersome philosophical questions (“What came before the beginning?” or “What will come after the ending?”). Only theories that guaranteed an eternal Universe were worthy of consideration.


One theory offered in an attempt to establish the eternality of the Universe was the Steady State model of Sir Fred Hoyle and his colleagues. Even before he offered this unusual theory, however, scientific evidence had been discovered which indicated that the Universe was expanding. Hoyle set forth the Steady State model to: (a) erase any possibility of a beginning; (b) bolster the idea of an eternal Universe; and (c) explain why the Universe was expanding. His idea was that at certain points in the Universe (which he labeled “irtrons”), matter was being created spontaneously from nothing. Since this new matter had to “go” somewhere, and since two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time, it pushed the matter that already existed further into distant space. Hoyle asserted that this process of matter continually being created (the idea even came to be known as the “continuous creation” theory) avoided any beginning or ending, and simultaneously accounted for the expansion of the Universe.
For a time, Hoyle’s Steady State hypothesis was quite popular. Eventually, however, it was discarded for several reasons. Cosmologist John Barrow suggested that the Steady State theory sprang “from a belief that the universe did not have a beginning.... The specific theory they proposed fell into conflict with observation long ago” (1991, p. 46). Indeed, the Steady State theory did fall “into conflict with observation” for a number of reasons. First, new theoretical concepts being proposed at the time were completely at odds with the Steady State model. Second, empirical observations no longer agreed with the model (see Gribbin, 1986). And third, it violated the First Law of Thermodynamics, which states that neither matter nor energy may be created or destroyed in nature. Therefore, the Steady State model was abandoned.
The Big Bang model replaced the Steady State theory by postulating that all the matter/energy in the observable Universe was condensed into a particle smaller than a single proton (the famous “cosmic egg”). The Big Bang model, however, suffered from at least two major problems. First, it required that the “cosmic egg” be eternal—a concept clearly at odds with the Second Law of Thermodynamics. John Gribbin, a highly regarded evolutionary cosmologist, voiced the opinion of many when he said: “The biggest problem with the Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe is philosophical—perhaps even theological—what was there before the bang?” (1976, pp. 15-16).
Second, the expansion of the Universe could not go on forever; it had to end somewhere. The Universe had a beginning, and would have an ending. Robert Jastrow has addressed both of these points: “And concurrently there was a great deal of discussion about the fact that the second law of thermodynamics, applied to the Cosmos, indicates the Universe is running down like a clock. If it is running down, there must have been a time when it was fully wound up” (1978, pp. 48-49). Matter could not be eternal, because eternal things do not run down. Furthermore, there was going to be an end at some point in the future.
Such a scenario is unacceptable to evolutionists. Jastrow himself admitted: “Astronomers try not to be influenced by philosophical considerations. However, the idea of a Universe that has both a beginning and an end is distasteful to the scientific mind” (1977, p. 31). To avoid any vestige of a beginning, or any hint of an ending, evolutionists invented the Oscillating Universe model (also known as the Big Bang/Big Crunch model, the Expansion/ Collapse model, etc.). Dr. Gribbin suggested: “[T]he best way around this initial difficulty is provided by a model in which the Universe expands from a singularity, collapses back again, and repeats the cycle indefinitely” (1976, pp. 15-16).
That is to say, there was a Big Bang; but there also will be a Big Crunch, at which time the matter of the Universe will collapse back onto itself. There will be a “bounce,” followed by another Big Bang, which will be followed by another Big Crunch, and this process will be repeated ad infinitum. In the Big Bang model, there is a permanent end; not so in the Oscillating Universe model, as Dr. Jastrow explained:
But many astronomers reject this picture of a dying Universe. They believe that the expansion of the Universe will not continue forever because gravity, pulling back on the outward-moving galaxies, must slow their retreat. If the pull of gravity is sufficiently strong, it may bring the expansion to a halt at some point in the future.
What will happen then? The answer is the crux of this theory. The elements of the Universe, held in a balance between the outward momentum of the primordial explosion and the inward force of gravity, stand momentarily at rest; but after the briefest instant, always drawn together by gravity, they commence to move toward one another. Slowly at first, and then with increasing momentum, the Universe collapses under the relentless pull of gravity. Soon the galaxies of the Cosmos rush toward one another with an inward movement as violent as the outward movement of their expansion when the Universe exploded earlier. After a sufficient time, they come into contact; their gases mix; their atoms are heated by compression; and the Universe returns to the heat and chaos from which it emerged many billions of years ago (1978, p. 118).
The description provided by Dr. Jastrow is that commonly referred to in the literature as the “Big Crunch.” But the obvious question is—after that, then what? Again, Jastrow explained:
No one knows. Some astronomers say the Universe will never come out of this collapsed state. Others speculate that the Universe will rebound from the collapse in a new explosion, and experience a new moment of Creation. According to this view, our Universe will be melted down and remade in the caldron of the second Creation. It will become an entirely new world, in which no trace of the existing Universe remains....
This theory envisages a Cosmos that oscillates forever, passing through an infinite number of moments of creation in a never-ending cycle of birth, death and rebirth. It unites the scientific evidence for an explosive moment of creation with the concept of an eternal Universe. It also has the advantage of being able to answer the question: What preceded the explosion? (1978, pp. 119- 120).


Several questions arise. First, of what benefit would such events be? Second, is such a concept testable scientifically? Third, does current scientific evidence support such an idea?
Of what benefit would a Big Bang/Big Crunch/Big Bang scenario be? Theoretically, as I have noted already, the benefit to evolutionists is that they do not have to explain a Universe with absolute beginnings or endings. A cyclical Universe that expands and contracts infinitely is much more acceptable than one that demands explanations for both its origin and destiny. Practically, there is no benefit that derives from such a scenario. Astronomer Carl Sagan of Cornell University noted:
...information from our universe would not trickle into that next one and, from our vantage point, such an oscillating cosmology is as definitive and depressing an end as the expansion that never stops (1979, pp. 13-14).
Could the Oscillating Universe model be tested scientifically? Gribbin felt that it could.
The key factors which determine the ultimate fate of the Universe are the amount of matter it contains and the rate at which it is expanding.... In simple terms, the Universe can only expand forever if it is exploding faster than the “escape velocity” from itself.... If the density of matter across the visible Universe we see today is sufficient to halt the expansion we can observe today, then the Universe has always been exploding at less than its own escape velocity, and must eventually be slowed down so much that the expansion is first halted and then converted into collapse. On the other hand, if the expansion we observe today is proceeding fast enough to escape from the gravitational clutches of the matter we observe today, then the Universe is and always was “open” and will expand forever (1981, p. 313).
Does scientific evidence support the theory of an “oscillating” Universe? The success or failure of this theory depends, in part, on the amount of matter contained in the Universe, since there must be enough matter for gravity to “pull back” to cause the Big Crunch. This is one reason why cold dark matter is so important. Dr. Gribbin has said: “This, in a nutshell, is one of the biggest problems in cosmology today, the puzzle of the so-called missing mass” (1981, pp. 315-316). In discussing the Oscillating Universe model, astronomers speak of a “closed” or an “open” Universe. If the Universe is closed, theoretically the Big Crunch could occur, and an oscillating Universe becomes a viable possibility. If the Universe is open, the expansion of the Universe will continue and the Big Crunch will not occur, making an oscillating Universe impossible. Joseph Silk remarked: “The balance of evidence does point to an open model of the universe” (1980, p. 309, emp. added). Gribbin commented: “The consensus among astronomers today is that the universe is open” (1981, p. 316, emp. added). Jastrow observed: “Thus, the facts indicate that the universe will expand forever” (1978, p. 123, emp. added). Recent evidence seems to indicate that an oscillating Universe is a physical impossibility (see Chaisson, 1992).
Evolutionary cosmologist John Wheeler has drawn the following conclusion based on the scientific evidence: “With gravitational collapse we come to the end of time. Never out of the equations of general relativity has one been able to find the slightest argument for a ‘re-expansion’ of a ‘cyclic universe’ or anything other than an end” (1977, p. 15). As Ross has admitted: “Attempts...to use oscillation to avoid a theistic beginning for the universe all fail” (1991, p. 105). No one yet has improved on Genesis 1— “In the beginning, God created....”


Barrow, John D. (1991), Theories of Everything (Oxford, England: Clarendon Press).
Chaisson, E.J. (1992), “Early Results from the Hubble Space Telescope,” Scientific American, 266[6]:44-51, June.
Gribbin, John (1976), “Oscillating Universe Bounces Back,” Nature, 259:15-16.
Gribbin, John (1981), Genesis: The Origins of Man and the Universe (New York: Delacorte).
Gribbin, John (1986), In Search of the Big Bang (New York: Bantam).
Jastrow, Robert (1977), Until the Sun Dies (New York: W.W. Norton).
Jastrow, Robert (1978), God and the Astronomers (New York: W.W. Norton).
Ross, Hugh (1991), The Fingerprint of God (Orange, CA: Promise Publishing).
Sagan, Carl (1979), “Will It All End in a Fireball?,” Science Digest, 86[3]:13-14, September.
Silk, Joseph (1980), The Big Bang (San Francisco, CA: W.H. Freeman).
Wheeler, John (1977), “Genesis and Observership,” Foundational Problems in the Special Sciences(Dordrecht, Holland: Reidel).

Evolution, Environmentalism, and the Deification of Nature—EXTENDED VERSION by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Evolution, Environmentalism, and the Deification of Nature—EXTENDED VERSION
by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The year was 1970. It was the year of the Kent State shootings, Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Apollo 13, the disbanding of the Beatles, the X-rated movie Midnight Cowboy winning the Best Picture Oscar, the drug-related deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, as well as the death of Scopes Monkey Trial defendant John T. Scopes. That year also marked the birth of the modern environmental movement, with the observance of the first Earth Day on April 22 (see “1970,” 2000). By July, the Environmental Protection Agency was formed. Various pieces of federal legislation designed to protect the environment quickly followed, including the Clean Air Act (1970), the Clean Water Act (1972), and the Endangered Species Act (1973) [see “Major Environmental Laws,” 2003]. Since 1970, it is safe to say, the American way of life has been altered drastically. The environmental movement has changed forever the way Americans view the world around them. Even the otherwise environmentally insensitive citizen now possesses heightened consciousness about littering, recycling, global warming, and “going green.” But things have gotten out of hand.
It was one thing for young people who embraced this perspective to march in the streets in the 1960s and promote their offbeat, fanatical ideas. But now that they have moved into powerful political positions, their ideas permeate policy and literally wreak havoc on people’s lives. Fringe environmentalist groups, in collusion with liberal politicians, Hollywood celebrities, and the mainstream media, have conspired to unleash a flood of environmental propaganda and eco-myths. First it was the “deadly” ozone-depleting hairspray aerosols. Then it was the evil internal combustion engine. They have inundated the public with their alarmist claims that global pollution, ozone depletion, and environmental contamination due to technological progress and American affluence mean that life on Earth is facing inevitable and imminent extinction. They insist that humans are inflicting widespread damage on the environment, destroying the forests, and causing the extinction of animal and plant species. Friends of the Earth International insists: “[T]he Earth is a creation to be honored and respected as our Mother” (see “Friends of the Earth...,” 2007, emp. added).
Multiple examples demonstrate the absurd extent to which environmentalists are willing to go. A 400-page United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization report has identified rapidly growing herds of cattle as the greatest threat to the environment (Lean, 2006). We are told that the 1.5 billion cattle on Earth are responsible for 18% of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming—more than cars, planes, and all other forms of transportation combined. More than a third of the greenhouse gas, methane (which warms the world 20 times faster than carbon dioxide), is emitted by cows and their manure. And it is not just methane, since cattle also produce more than 100 other polluting gases, including more than two-thirds of the world’s emissions of ammonia—one of the main causes of acid rain (Lean, 2006). That’s right, gaseous expulsions by cows damage the planet more than emissions from cars. Environmentalists are beside themselves.
Researchers at Norway’s technical university claim that their national animal, the moose, is harming the climate by emitting over 2,000 kilos of carbon dioxide per year—equivalent to the CO2 produced by an 8,000 mile car trip (“Norway’s Moose...,” 2007). [Poor Bullwinkle now is politically incorrect.] Yet, Australian scientists are delighted with the discovery that flatulent kangaroos produce almost no greenhouse gas methane due to their peculiar digestive flora (bacteria)—which researchers hope can be transplanted into cows and sheep to prevent their contributions to global warming (“Flatulent Kangaroos...,” 2007). Meanwhile, to minimize the “deadly” effects of bovine belching, UK scientists at the University of Aberystwyth (Wales) are attempting to develop new varieties of plants which are easier for cows to digest (“Changing Cows’ Diet...,” 2007).
But it doesn’t stop there. Scientists from Austria and Germany recently reported that, though we humans are but one of the millions of species on Earth, we use up almost one-fourth of the sun’s energy captured by plants—the most of any species. More than half of the use is due to the harvesting of crops and other plants (Leung, 2007). You read that right. It is bad enough that we humans are soaking up more than our fair share of the Sun’s rays simply by being outdoors; but we are exploiting poor, defenseless green plants by greedily harvesting and consuming their bounty, thereby stealing from them the benefit they derived from the Sun.
To top such nonsense off, while it is common for environmentalists to blame mankind as the prime perpetrator of environmental destruction, now some environmentalists insist that, more specifically, children are significant culprits in the human assault on the natural order. One environmentalist emphatically insists, “Having children is selfish,” and gave as her reason for having an abortion, “it would have been immoral to give birth to a child that I felt strongly would only be a burden to the world” (Courtenay-Smith and Turner, 2007). Another environmentalist maintains that “a baby would pollute the planet” and “never having a child was the most environmentally friendly thing I could do” (Courtenay-Smith and Turner, 2007). Still another asserts, “That’s why I had a vasectomy. It would be morally wrong for me to add to climate change and the destruction of the Earth.... [W]e are doing out bit to save our precious planet” (Courtenay-Smith and Turner, 2007). Parents, we are told, should limit their offspring to no more than two children (one in China) in order to reduce carbon dioxide output. A report published by the environmentalist group, Optimum Population Trust, insists that the greatest thing one could do to help the future of the planet would be to have one less child (Templeton, 2007).
Let’s get this straight. Cows cause global warming, so we need to reduce the cow population. If we kill cows, we will upset the animal rights people. If we eat cows, we will offend the vegetarians. If we allow the present population of cows to live to old age and die naturally, we could arrest the growth of the cow population by performing partial birth abortions on all cows that get pregnant. But that, too, likely would upset the animal rights people (who probably would have no problem doing the same to pre-born humans—especially since kids contribute to the CO2problem). Since harvesting crops and other green plants is stealing solar energy, we need to cease consuming plants—to the further dismay of the vegetarians. Any of this making sense to you?


Radical environmentalists and animal rights activists share many of the same philosophical presuppositions held by atheists, evolutionists, Buddhists, Hindus, New Age mystics, and other forms of humanism, animism, and paganism from antiquity to the present. Their perspective is embodied in pantheism. To them, the material realm is all that exists. There are no metaphysical realities. The Universe is here because of accidental, non-purposive, non-intelligent happenstances. “Deity” resides in all natural phenomena—from inorganic rocks and dirt, to plants, animals, and humans. “God” is not the personal, Supreme Being of the Bible, Who is self-existent and transcendent of the Universe. Rather “god” is an impersonal force embedded in nature, in the physical realm, and in all life forms (cf. “The Force” in the Star Wars series).
The fundamental fallacy of the modern environmental movement is this inherent denial of supernaturalism and metaphysical reality. Rather than acknowledging that the entire Universe was created miraculously by the transcendent God of the Bible, Who both prepared and perpetuates the Earth for human habitation (Genesis 1:1-2:19; 8:22; Hebrews 11:3), the environmental movement posits the absence of supernatural origins and the necessity of an eternal Universe. Hence, the physical environment must be protected and preserved by humans in order for life to continue. The future of the Earth is viewed as dependent on mankind. If man damages the fragile environment, he is hastening its imminent demise.
Renowned Cornell University astronomer Carl Sagan held this view: “I believe we have an obligation to fight for life on Earth—not just for ourselves, but for all those, humans and others, who came before us, and to whom we are beholden, and for all those who, if we are wise enough, will come after” (1997, p. 75, emp. added). He also insisted that “[o]ur capacity to cause harm is great” (p. 97). In other words, the future of the planet—and all life on it—lies completely in the hands of humanity. Are we humans really so arrogant as to think that the future of the planet rests with us? Are we really so foolish as to think that the digestive tract of cows are defective—the result of mindless evolution rather than the all-knowing Creator—and that it falls to us to correct it?
If environmentalists believe that human beings are the product of the chance, mechanistic forces of nature working over millions of years through non-intelligent, evolutionary accidents, one can understand why they might think that we must preserve the planet at all costs—even at the expense of humans. To them, human beings are simply one more rung on the evolutionary ladder, with each prior life form being of comparable value. From this perspective, the environment in which evolution occurs is far more important than any one species that may happen to arise within that environment. The comparative worth of one species is based upon how large a danger that species poses to other species. Since humans have greater capability to harm the environment and to destroy lesser species, humans constitute the greatest threat to the well-being of the planet. To the environmentalist, humans are the natural enemy of nature. [NOTE: Though scientists disagree as to the cause, most admit that global warming is also occurring on Mars (Ravilious, 2007; “Mars Emerging...,” 2003; Britt, 2001; “Global Warming...,” 2001). Perhaps humans are hiding there and emitting deadly carbon dioxide.]
Sagan also stated: “There is no cause more urgent, no dedication more fitting than to protect the future of our species.... No social convention, no political system, no economic hypothesis, no religious dogma is more important” (1997, p. 75, emp. added). Such statements betray a purely materialistic outlook on life. Religious and spiritual concerns are secondary—or altogether nonexistent. The “number one concern,” according to Sagan and the environmentalists, is the preservation of the physical realm. Though Sagan and his fellow evolutionists disavow any allegiance to religion—Christian or otherwise—the dedication and devotion to the environment that they enjoin bears a striking resemblance to the devotion advocated by those who profess religious belief. The only difference is the object of the religious devotion. While manifesting hostility toward the Christian religion, it is apparent that environmentalists have their own religionthe worship of nature and the environment (see Houts, 2007, 27[11]:81-87). This explains why Sagan would write: “The Earth is a tiny and fragile world. It needs to be cherished” (1980, p. 103, emp. added). To say that the Earth needs to be “cherished,” i.e., loved, suggests distorted sensibilities that are unaided by divine insight. God has instructed humans to love Him, each other, His law, and truth. But He never has told us to love rocks, dirt, plants, and animals—or to hug trees.
Those who embrace this belief system are passionate—even militant—in their advocacy of the preservation of the environment. After all, if there is no Supreme Governor of the Universe and no afterlife, it is up to humans to protect the Earth so that physical life forms may be preserved as long as possible. Hence, they refer repeatedly to the “vulnerable planet Earth” and “our fragile atmosphere” (Sagan, 1997, p. 97, emp. added). To summarize, several assumptions inhere in radical environmentalism: the Creator depicted in the Bible does not exist; the Universe is eternal; the created order has no planned, overriding purpose; man is the ultimate offending culprit in his ability to destroy the planet; and the survival of the planet’s features (plants, animals, atmosphere, etc.) depends on man—not on any higher power.


In stark contrast, the Bible affirms two crucial principles that should shape our understanding of the environment. First, God created the Earth for a specific purpose: to provide human beings with the appropriate environment in which to decide their eternal destiny. God created humans to be free moral agents, to experience earthly life as their one and only probationary period, with their fate in eternity being determined by their response to God during this earthly life. Hence, the Earth is as good (for the purpose God had in creating it) as any possible world, in that it was created to be a “vale of soul-making” for human beings (Warren, 1972, p. 19; cf. Genesis 1:31; Psalm 65:9; 104:24; Ecclesiastes 12:13).
God created the planet to be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18). He declared His intention that human beings were to rule and have domination over the Earth’s resources. Referring to humans, He stated: “[L]et them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:26, emp. added). He instructed humans to “fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28, emp. added). The Hebrew term for “subdue” (kah-vash) means to bring into submission by force (Oswalt, 1980, 1:430). The psalmist echoed these very directives when he praised God by saying, “You [God—DM] have made him [man—DM] to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:6, emp. added). God stressed human domination in even stronger terms after the Flood: “[T]he fear of you [humans—DM] and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that moves on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs” (Genesis 9:2-3, emp. added). God obviously intended for humans to make use of Earth’s natural resources, including animals and plants, in order to live, survive, develop, and progress—all in preparation for eternity.
Second, not only did God initially set up the environment to fulfill its divinely designated purpose, placing within it all necessary variables for sustaining it until He decides to terminate the physical realm, but He also continues to sustain and maintain it. The Bible has a great deal to say about the role that Jesus played at the Creation (e.g., John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2). He continues to have a relationship with the physical Universe by ensuring that it remains intact and functional. Paul referred to the “one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live” (1 Corinthians 8:6, emp. added). Paul also stated: “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth.... All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16-17, emp. added). The psalmist insisted that when God spoke the physical Universe into existence, the constituent elements of the created order “stood fast” and “were established,” God having “made a decree” with them (33:9; 148:5-6, emp. added). The Hebrews writer claimed that Jesus is “upholding all things by the word of His power” (1:3, emp. added). Peter said that “the heavens and the earth which now exist are kept in store by the same word” (2 Peter 3:7, emp. added). The terms in these verses connote the idea of preserving, governing, regulating, and superintending the created order (Nicoll, 1900, 4:251-252; Thayer, 1901, p. 650; Weiss, 1974, 9:59). In other words, deity continues to maintain the order, harmony, and well-being of the whole creation—the vast Universe as well as planet Earth (Barnes, 2005, p. 27; Milligan, 1950, p. 55). After all, with God is “the fountain of life” (Psalm 36:9). “He gives to all life, breath, and all things” (Acts 17:25). “[F]or in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). We can be assured: the environment will remain intact and suitable for life for as long as God intends. He is the great Sustainer.


The environmentalist viewpoint is fraught with self-contradiction. We are being told that due to human interference, global warming and the “greenhouse effect” are occurring, and that the Earth’s temperature is increasing (e.g., Sagan, 1997, pp. 105ff.). A recent National Geographicarticle sounds the typical alarmist cry:
The planet is heating up—and fast. Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, cloud forests are drying, and wildlife is scrambling to keep pace. It’s becoming clear that humans have caused most of the past century’s warming by releasing heat-trapping gases as we power our modern lives. Called greenhouse gases, their levels are higher now than in the last 650,000 years.... What will we do to slow this warming? How will we cope with the changes we’ve already set into motion? While we struggle to figure it all out, the face of the Earth as we know it...hangs in the balance (“What Is...?” n.d., emp. added).
Yet we also have been terrorized with the idea that our actions are “lowering the surface temperature of our planet” (Sagan, 1980, p. 103). Ironically, a 1974 TIME magazine article reported a three-decade-long cooling of atmospheric temperatures and other “weather aberrations” that “may be the harbinger of another ice age” (“Another Ice Age?”). Insisting that “telltale signs are everywhere,” as expected, one of the culprits responsible for the threat was identified as man, since “dust and other particles released into the atmosphere as a result of farming and fuel burning may be blocking more and more sunlight from reaching and heating the surface of the earth” (“Another Ice Age?”). [NOTE: Since the ozone will soon be gone, exposing humans to deadly UV rays, perhaps we should do more farming and fuel burning in order to block those rays?] The 1974 article concluded: “Whatever the cause of the cooling trend, its effects could be extremely serious, if not catastrophic. Scientists figure that only a 1% decrease in the amount of sunlight hitting the earth’s surface could tip the climate balance, and cool the planet enough to send it sliding down the road to another ice age within only a few hundred years” (“Another Ice Age?,” emp. added). So which is it? Ice age or global warming? Since yesterday’s science is today’s superstition, how wary ought we to be regarding the bold claims of today’s “science”?
We have been harangued with the notion that Western man’s technological advancements are responsible for depleting resources and damaging the environment, and that we should return to the “environmentally sensitive and harmonious” ways of primitive peoples. Yet, evidence exists to suggest that our predecessors did not live “in harmony with nature” as we supposed. Primitive cultures and poor nations also have damaged the environment. For example, farming techniques of many primitive societies caused extensive land erosion—unlike the modern American farming techniques that are responsible for greatly increasing the world’s food supply.

Nature vs. Itself

The absurdity of the environmentalists’ claim—that humans are harsh and insensitive in their treatment of the environment—becomes especially apparent, even whimsical, when one simply observes nature’s treatment of itself. For example, the Katmai National Park is home to the world’s largest grizzly bears, commonly referred to as Alaskan Brown Bears. Because of their rich salmon diet, these bears grow to over 1,000 pounds in weight, making them the world’s largest land predators. Philip Greenspun gave the following eyewitness report of the bears’ eating ritual in the Brooks River:
Dominant bears occupy prime positions on top of the part of the falls where salmon jump every few seconds. When the salmon are running well, every five minutes a bear will catch a fish in his teeth and hold it firmly enough that blood begins to flow as the fish flops around. If there are plenty of salmon, the bear goes after only the fatty skin, brain, and roe, removing these parts during a gruesome minute or so. The salmon may remain alive for much or all of its consumption. Why do you think they call them animals? (1993).
Notice the carnage, the waste, the brutality, the selfish competition between bears, and the flagrant insensitivity to both the salmon and the environment. But this one example is typical of the phenomena inherent throughout the animal kingdom.
The planet, itself, is equally destructive. The largest volcanic eruption in recorded history occurred in 1815 in Tambora, Indonesia, killing an estimated 92,000 people, thousands of species of wildlife, and spewing (as far as 800 miles) 150 times more ash than the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens (“Tambora, Sumbawa...,” n.d.). Hot, pyroclastic flows poured into the ocean, scalding sea life and causing additional explosions. Man and animal suffered cataclysmic devastation—due to starvation, disease, and hunger—earning the designation the “Year without a Summer.” Daily minimum temperatures were abnormally low in the Northern Hemisphere from late spring to early autumn. Famine was widespread because of crop failures (“Tambora, Sumbawa...”). The renowned volcano Krakatau (frequently misstated as Krakatoa) caused more than 36,000 fatalities, as devastating tsunamis inundated the coastlines of Sumatra and Java (“Krakatau, Sunda...,” n.d.). These are only two of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of volcanic eruptions that have unleashed massive environmental destruction through the centuries.
Consider the damage inflicted on the environment by the earthquake that killed 830,000 peoplein Shensi, China in 1556 (“Most Destructive Known...,” 2007). Only three years ago (December 26, 2004) the earthquake that generated the great Indian Ocean tsunami is estimated to have released the energy of 23,000 Hiroshima-type atomic bombs (“The Deadliest Tsunami...?,” 2005). More than a quarter million people were killed and millions more in 11 countries were displaced from their homes in South Asia and East Africa (“Most Destructive Known...”). The violent movement of sections of the Earth’s crust (the tectonic plates) created a rupture which the U.S. Geological Survey estimates was more than 600 miles long, displacing the seafloor above the rupture by perhaps 10 yards horizontally and several yards vertically. The displacement of such an enormous amount of water sent powerful shock waves in every direction, moving trillions of tons of rock along hundreds of miles, causing the planet to shudder, destroying thousands of miles of coastline and submerging entire islands permanently (“The Deadliest Tsunami...?,” 2005). Here was catastrophic environmental damage to plant, animal, marine, and human life.
The natural positioning of the Huang He (Yellow) River in China has caused it to overflow its banks many times in history, resulting in massive environmental damage (“The World’s Worst Floods,” n.d.). The human death toll of one such occurrence in 1931 was estimated to be from 1 to 3.7 million. Another in 1887 killed between 900,000 and two million (“The World’s Worst Floods”). The impact on plant and animal life was enormous. Hurricanes are no less destructive to the environment. On November 13, 1970, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) experienced the deadliest hurricane on record, flooding low lying areas and killing at least half a million people—with some estimates rising as high as one million (“The Ten Worst...,” n.d.).
On March 18, 1925, the deadliest tornado in U.S. history began in southeastern Missouri, crossed through southern Illinois, and then turned into southwestern Indiana, killing 625 people and injuring more than 2,000 others. Property damage was assessed at $16.5 million—$1.7 billion in today’s dollars. The tornado left a 219 mile track—the longest ever recorded (“The Deadliest U.S...,” n.d.). Once again, havoc was wreaked on plant and animal life.
Volcanoes, hurricanes, tornados, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis—the list goes on and on. The powerful energy, awesome force, and mind-boggling destruction that nature has inflicted on itself and Earth’s inhabitants has been ongoing—a perpetual pattern of catastrophe. Yet, as God planned, life goes on—until the day He decides to call the human population to account before His judgment seat.

Humans vs. Nature

Have humans tampered with nature and caused unnecessary harm to the environment? Certainly. Instances are legion. In 1876, the introduction of Kudzu, a fast-growing vine from Japan, ultimately led to the destruction of valuable forests by blocking sunlight from trees. The vine, which can grow 60 feet each year, and has blanketed the South, is virtually impervious to herbicides. Yet, many positive benefits have emerged, including remarkable soil erosion control, a nutritious food source for Angora goats, the creation of products such as baskets, paper, jelly, syrup, and hay bales, and even progress on the development of new medicines (see “The Amazing Story...,” 2002). In 1859, Thomas Austin brought 24 rabbits from England to Australia, where they multiplied uncontrollably, causing considerable ecological ramifications (see Kellett, 2006; “Environmental Damage...,” 2001). Many other non-native plants and animals have been introduced into non-indigenous habitats, with a variety of consequences (see “Non-Native Species,” 2002).
No one knows how many plant and animal species have gone extinct since the beginning of Creation. No doubt, the number would be staggering. The obliteration of the dinosaur population alone would account for the eradication of large numbers. It is estimated that, just in the past 2,000 years, more than a hundred kinds of birds and more than a hundred kinds of mammalshave disappeared from the Earth (see “Extinct and Near-Extinct...,” 1966). Included are the Dodo Bird of the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, the Tasmanian Tiger Wolf of mainland Australia, and New Zealand’s giant, flightless bird, the Moa (see “Endangered Species,” 2003; “Extinct Animals,” 2001). These estimates do not include the extinction of species of reptiles, fish, and insects. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains the Threatened and Endangered Species System (TESS) for both plants and animals. Presently, within the United States alone, 388 animal species and 598 plant species are listed as “endangered” (see “Threatened...,” 2003). While humans sometimes are blamed for causing certain species to diminish, no one knows in every case of animal or plant extinction whether humans or nature’s own agents were responsible. One fact is clear: the extinction of plants and animals through the centuries has not upset the realm of nature and the environment to the extent that the human race has been endangered or threatened with extinction itself—we’re still here! (Interestingly, many newspecies of both plants and animals have come into existence by humans implementing ingenious breeding procedures.)
On March 24, 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground on a reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling an estimated 11 million gallons of oil, which impacted 1,300 miles of shoreline. Exxon claims to have spent $2.1 billion on a cleanup effort that included 10,000 workers, about 1,000 boats, and 100 airplanes and helicopters. Though the reparative response to the crisis was massive, entailing exorbitant expenditures, “many believe that wave action from winter storms did more to clean the beaches than all of the human effort involved” (see “Frequently Asked Questions...,” n.d.). In fact, human efforts had to be adjusted when it was determined that spraying hot water on the oil-laden beaches using high-pressure hoses was cooking bacteria and other microscopic organisms, killing both plants and animals, thereby slowing the recovery that might otherwise have been achieved by nature itself (see Piper, 1993, pp. 61ff.). In 1992, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) studied the diffusion of the oil and concluded that “the great majority of the oil either evaporated, dispersed into the water column or degraded naturally” (“Lingering...,” 2003). In fact, years ago the National Marine Fisheries Services reported that “the vast majority of the spill area now appears to have recovered” (“NMFS Office...,” 2002). Though touted by environmentalists at the time as an ecological disaster of catastrophic proportions, the Valdez spill does not even rank in the top 50 internationally.
Similarly, the release of oil into the Pacific Ocean by damaged and sunken battleships and aircraft carriers during the great naval battles of World War II was considerable. Nazi U-boats disrupted Allied activities in the Atlantic Ocean by sinking large numbers of tankers and supply ships, causing large quantities of oil and hazardous substances to be spilled, creating slicks and coating Caribbean beaches. No cleanup crews, with their hard hats and bright yellow HAZMATsuits blasting coastlines with high-pressure hoses and detergent guns, were mobilized to rectify the mess. Yet the Caribbean beaches today essentially are pristine. What happened to all that oil—with no environmentalists to come to the rescue?


Salmon-grabbing bears, forest-gobbling vines, grassland-grubbing rabbits, oil-glutting humans—destruction by animals, destruction by plants, destruction by weather and nature’s own inanimate forces, destruction by man. Where will it all end? Should we not view our world and the environment as being in a state of crisis? Please consider carefully: God created the Earth to be self-sustaining until it has served its purpose. It is self-healing. It is resilient and restorative. It actually rejuvenates itself. The fact is that the greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon God set into place. God designed gases in the atmosphere, like carbon dioxide and water vapor, to remain in balance and warm the Earth, creating a stable climate for the support of plant, animal, and human life. Without these gases, Earth would be 40o to 60o colder—essentially a frigid desert (cf. Climate Change..., 1990, p. xxxvii). [NOTE: Have we forgotten what we learned in our elementary school science class—that the CO2 expelled by animals and humans is necessary for green plants to produce oxygen? Far from being an indication of man’s need to “regulate” the release of carbon dioxide, such environmental symbiosis points to divine design.]
The Earth is not “fragile” when it comes to human interference. Humans cannot destroy the Earth (let alone the Universe). Humans cannot eliminate the ozone layer. Humans cannot cause permanent, life-threatening global warming. Human ability to pollute, contaminate, and destroy the environment cannot begin to compare with the destructive forces of nature itself: volcanoes, tornados, hurricanes, drought, typhoons, earthquakes, and floods. The 1991 volcanic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines introduced 20 to 30 megatons of sulfur dioxide and aerosolsinto the Earth’s atmosphere, with those materials completely encircling the Earth in some three months (Sagan, 1997, p. 107). Satellite data collected indicated that, as a result, “the ozone levels had depleted by about 15 percent” (Rickman, 1997). In fact, as a direct result of the large amounts of stratospheric sulfate particles from the Mount Pinatubo eruption, “record low global ozone levels were recorded in 1992 and 1993” (“Environmental Indicators...,” n.d., emp. added). NASA concluded: “Stratospheric aerosols such as those produced by major volcanic eruptions are thought to be important catalysts in the chemical processes leading to the observed ozone losses” (“NASA’s Ozone Studies,” n.d.; cf. “Incomplete Recovery...,” 2006). Humans cannot begin to compete with nature’s impact on itself. We have an inflated sense of our own importance if we think that we determine whether the world goes on after we are gone.

The Ultimate Environmental Damage

The evidence indicates that God, Himself, has inflicted vengeance upon wicked civilizations in the past—to the point of wreaking complete destruction and devastation on the land itself. The reader is urged to read the following passages from the Bible: Genesis 13:10; 19:24-25; Deuteronomy 29:22-24; Psalm 107:33-34; Isaiah 34:8-15; Jeremiah 19:8; Ezekiel 30:7; Zephaniah 2:13-14. God has not chosen to reveal to us all of His dealings with the civilizations of history. We likely would know nothing about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah if Abraham’s nephew had not moved there (Genesis 13:12; 19). Could humans possibly inflict as much damage on the Earth as God did when He flooded the entire planet to a depth higher than the highest mountains of that day (Genesis 7:19-20)? The history of humanity and planet Earth has been one of catastrophism—not evolutionary uniformitarianism or gradualism. Yet the Earth is still here, the environment is intact, and life continues!
Make no mistake. The Bible certainly teaches the principle of stewardship and wisdom in the use of resources allotted by God (Matthew 25:14-30; 1 Corinthians 4:2). God, Himself, provides care for His nonhuman creatures (Job 38:41; Psalm 147:9; Matthew 10:29; cf. Jonah 4:11). He included animals in His injunction to the Israelites to rest one day per week (Exodus 20:10; cf. Leviticus 22:27-28; Deuteronomy 22:6-7,10). He instructed the Israelites to allow their farmland to lie uncultivated every seventh year (Leviticus 25:1-7). We ought not to be wasteful, greedy, cruel, or reckless in our handling of Earth’s resources. Christians will not go out of their way to inflict damage or harm. However, from a biblical perspective, the environment must not take precedence or preference over humans. A balanced and proper perspective realizes that the environment is purely physical and temporary. Plants, animals, air, water, and the rest of “mother nature” are not human, and are not to be regarded as such. Animals, like the rest of the created order, render divinely mandated services to humans as sources of food and clothing, as well as transportation and other work-related performance (e.g., Genesis 3:21; Proverbs 26:3; Mark 1:6; 11:7; 1 Timothy 4:3-5).
People who think that humans are the enemies of Earth, and invariably destructive to the environment, who think that animals deserve to be protected and preserved more than people, who think that humans are above other life forms due to an unfortunate Darwinian accident—since humans are carnivorous, wasteful, and harmful to the lesser species—have an incorrect view of reality and a devalued view of human life. They feel that humans possess no inherent value and worth that surpasses the rest of the created order (cf. Matthew 10:31; Luke 12:24). But this passion to preserve the Earth and animal life is essentially the same idolatry that has plagued humanity throughout most of history. In fact, this propensity sounds distinctly familiar in light of Paul’s summary of the long-standing human rejection of the Creator:
Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds, and four-footed beasts and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” (Romans 1:22-25, emp. added).
Our nation’s forefathers—and most Americans until about 50 years ago—would be shocked and appalled that right now in America, billions of dollars are being spent frivolously serving the creature!


The environmentalist possesses enormous arrogance if he thinks he can control the forces of nature by his paltry tinkering with the created order—as if he even had the knowledge or wisdom, let alone power, to do so. Ultimately, this feeble, faltering faux pas manifests willful ignorance and a lack of faith in the Creator. The environmentalists need a healthy dose of spiritual reality—the same one Job received when he thought it necessary to question God’s unfathomable superintendence of the Universe:
Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me! Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, who set its measurements, since you know?.... You know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great!.... Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty? Let him who reproves God answer it.... Then I will also confess to you, that your own right hand can save you (Job 38:2-5,21; 40:2,14, emp. added).
If there is no God and evolution is true, then humans are no more valuable than rocks, cockroaches—and, yes, cows. So if we really want to get serious about saving the planet, simply kill all the cows, crops, kids, and adults. When humans eliminate God from their thinking and jettison the biblical worldview, insanity begins to sound sensible. There’s the real “inconvenient truth.”
The facts of the matter are that humans are incapable of destroying the environment on any sort of large scale. The vast majority of the decline of the environment that we see is due to the normal operations of the laws of thermodynamics which mandate depletion, breakdown, dissolution, and the ultimate demise of the Earth and the Universe (see Miller, 2007, 27[4]:25-31). That is how God set it up! The material, physical realm was intended to be temporary—by divine design. Quoting the psalmist, the writer of Hebrews explained:
You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will fold them up (1:10-12, emp. added).
In the meantime, God will see to it that our environment remains intact until it has served the purpose for which He created it. Then, He Himself, will bring not only the Earth, but the entire Universe, to its grand and climactic conclusion by means of cosmic meltdown and dissolution (2 Peter 3:7,10-12). Contrasting the occasion on which God manifested His presence at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19) with what lies ahead when God manifests Himself at the end of time, the inspired writer cautioned:
See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:25-29, emp. added).
Rather than devoting one’s energies and resources to preserving the temporal environment and saving “Mother Earth,” we would do better to devote ourselves to saving our souls by cultivating the necessary spiritual attributes for eternal life with God: “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth [i.e., the non-physical realm of heaven—DM] in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13).

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