CHICKEN LITTLE REVISITED
Pastor Emeritus Philip Meyer
In August 2006 I wrote an article for the ESPRIT in which I asked readers to remember the multi-national folk tale Chicken Little. He was a scrawny chicken who was convinced that the “sky is falling,” after an acorn hit him in the head. He continually alarmed the other barnyard animals with his anxiety ridden speech. In that article I listed a number of alarming claims made by public personalities, some scientists and some politicians.
- The fluoride scare of the 60s which claimed that putting fluoride in our water to stop cavities was going to kill us all.
- Global cooling which would usher in another Ice Age.
- Acid rain was going to wipe out all the eastern forests.
- In 1970 a Harvard University biology professor, George Ward [a Nobel laureate no less!], predicted that “civilization will end with 15 or 30 years” unless mankind fixed all its environmental problems. Time’s up, professor, we’re still here!
- Paul Ehrlich’s 1960s book The Population Bomb. He won all sorts of awards, and warned, “If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.” In 2012 Gay and I spent a lovely 6 weeks visiting the island nation. No starvation was apparent.
- On the first Earth Day in 1970 some demographers predicted that by the year 2000, there would be a world-wide famine, and many scientists agreed that the world would end by 2000. Actually the number of starving people continues to drop in spite of world population growth.
These days a newly minted congresswoman claims that “the world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.” She and another presidential candidate have since lowered it to 10 years. One writer calls her “the high priestess in the Holy Church of Global Warming.” That’s an apt description.
Columnist Walter Williams, a professor of Economics at George Mason University, recently listed a few cataclysmic events which exceed any destructive power of mankind:
- The 1883 eruption of the Krakatoa volcano in Indonesia which had the force of 200 megatons of TNT, an equivalence of 13,300 15 kiloton atomic bombs.
- In 1815 there was the Tambora eruption, an even larger eruption. The following year became known as the “Year With a Summer.”
- The 1960 Chilean earthquake created a force equivalent to 1,000 atomic bombs going off at the same time.
The earth continues in spite of the cataclysms.
Williams finally got to the point after citing even more ecological disasters: “My question is: Which of these powers of nature could be duplicated by mankind?” Could any human program to halt climate change have any effect on these things?
“Follow the money” is an argument that we should keep in mind. Since March 4 of this year Apple’s iPhone will no longer have an app called Inconvenient Facts because it contradicts some inconvenient facts about climate change. That term is deliberate because former Vice President Al Gore sits on the Board of Directors of Apple. It seems that it hurts his income, to say nothing of his credibility. The New Green Deal seems to be less about science than it does money and political clout. The app is still available on Android phones, however.
Where does all this intersect with the Christian faith? Should we be running around like Chicken Little beside ourselves with fear? What separates us from people who lurch from one crisis to another? We believe and trust in a heavenly Father who has created all things and still controls all things. Look at the explanation of the First Article of the Creed.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
What does this mean? I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that he has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them.
God has created and preserves this earth for the benefit of mankind. Man is the crown of his creation, not the animals, nor the trees, nor anything else. The earth does not exist for its own sake. It exists for the sake of the crown of God’s creation. The Gaia people [aka, earth worshipers] have it all wrong. They worship the created order rather than the Creator. See Romans 1.21-23. Christians are considered scientific heretics and know-nothings.
Sadly, the voices which shriek the loudest are those who have no faith in this heavenly Father because they have long discarded the notion that there is an omnipotent God who actually controls the forces of nature and takes an active interest in the lives of his children. Of course, if one doesn’t have this God as one’s Father, then one does not have any assurance about one’s physical well-being.
But don’t stop with the First Article of the Creed because it moves us into the Second which tells us even further how this heavenly Father cares for us. He cared enough to send his only-begotten Son to be the sacrifice for our sin. That’s how precious we are in his sight. The Father and the Son together send the Holy Spirit [Third Article] to assure our hearts of all that God has done and still does for our salvation.
Anxiety is the lack of faith in such a God who reveals himself to us in Holy Scripture. Hear our Lord Jesus Christ:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?.” (Mt 6:25–26)
This world is wearing out. It will not last forever. The Apostle Paul writes:
“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Ro 8:19–25).
After the Flood of Noah God promised not to destroy with world with water again. He said:
“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night , shall not cease.” [Genesis 8.22] [Emphasis mine]
Yet, the heavens and the earth will pass away. Jesus himself has said so [Matthew 24.35.] So also the Apostles [2 Peter 3.11-13]. The promise of new heavens and a new earth awaits the end of this created order. God will make something new. He isn’t going to repair the old; he’s promised to make a new heaven and a new earth. See Revelation 21.1-5]. Politicians cannot save this decaying world no matter how radical their solutions.
Faith in the promises of the Triune God certainly changes one’s outlook! We know who God is, what he has done for us, and what he promises to do for us. He’s the One who makes all things new. That’s a change I can wholeheartedly embrace!