What the Bible says about the Effect of Humanity on the Environment.

Source: Wikipedia. (User: Diliff)

Standing on the edge of Sydney’s Blue Mountains, it is easy to see that the world is pretty awesome, reminding us of the Creator and what he has done.  However, according to scripture the world we live in is a corrupted version of the original creation.

When Adam sinned, it wasn’t a problem for him alone, but for all humanity after him, and along with it all creation was plunged into pain.  God said, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.  It will produce thorns and thistles for you.” (Genesis 3:17-18a) 

Later in the book of Romans, Paul described the fall using these words, “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own voice, but by the will of the one who subjected it…. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” (Romans 8:20&22) 

The creation we know, the Earth and the Universe as we see it, is like a corrupted hard drive on a computer.  It doesn’t work properly and is not what was originally built.  

One could say that humanity has had a significant impact on the environment.  

There is a lot of debate today about climate change and the environment.  The temperature seems to be gradually warming, and the question is whether this is good or bad, and caused by people or by natural causes.  

But the original environmental devastation was certainly of human origin, and incredibly destructive.  The world we are living in now is a shadow of previous version.  

So… If you ever hear someone say how beautiful the world is, and how finely tuned it is, and how it is evidence of a Creator.  They are speaking the truth.

And… you may also hear someone else say how the world could not have been created because it is full of death, disease, wars, predators, natural disasters and more.  They are kind of telling the truth too, because the world we live in isn’t the world that was created.  So both points of view are correct.

What is left for us to do?  Fall on the mercy of God, and find your way back to Him.  It is the beginning of a wonderful walk with the creator of life. 

Is the World Just Beginning?

There are many perspectives that believers have on the timing of things that God does with the Earth.  

In terms of when the world started, believers who take the creation story at face value (literal creationists) believe the world was created just six thousand years ago, so it is young.  But believers who take a theistic evolutionary approach think the world is four billion years old.  That’s quite a difference.

In terms of when the world will finish, dispensational believers and many premillennial Christians think the world will be over any day, so it has a short future.  But amillennialists and partial-preterists are open to a longer time frame, some of them up to millions of years into the future before Christ appears.  I will soon write a blog on the scripture that can back the idea of a long future.  

So with those four perspectives, the two variations on the timing of the beginning, and the variations on the timing of the future, you end up with four rough timelines like this.

The Four Views:

  1. TED: Theistic Evolutionary Dispensationalists.
  2. TEP: Theistic Evolutionary Partial-Preterists
  3. LCD: Literal Creation Dispensationalists
  4. LCP: Literal Creation Partial-Preterists.

The first view is those with a long view of history, but a short view of the future.  For them, they have a perspective where for millions (even billions) of years, sin and death have ruled and reigned, and Christ comes basically to change that and finish things up.  The atonement comes as a last gasp right and the end of history as the timeline shows.  Under this viewpoint, what advantage is there for God to wait so long before coming?  And then why is God returning so quickly to wrap things up when billions of people are not aware of him.  

The second view is of those who hold to both a long future and a long history.  For them, the atoning work of Christ comes right in the middle of human history as the timeline shows.  One would ask if this perspective is true, why would God place his work right in the middle, other than perhaps for symbolic reasons?  

The third view is of those who take creation literally, so the Earth has only been around for six thousand years.  They also hold to a short future, which can end as soon as today.  The timeline looks as below.  We would ask, why does an eternal God wait until so late percentage-wise (about 66% of human history) to come?  And why does he return back so soon with billions of people still unaware of who He is, and having no chance of salvation?

The fourth and final view is those who also believe in a literal creation, but consider the idea that Christ has much yet to do, so there will probably still be a long future.  For them Christ has stepped into history immediately at the atonement, and is giving people time to grow and change and find him.  He is as much concerned about individual salvation as he is about nations, and wants to redeem the world and restore it.  So he is concerned about both eternal things, and temporal things.  

Having read the scriptures, and studied it my entire life I am convinced that God is patient and kind, and his heart is the save all who will respond.  For me there is also no reason to doubt the literal creation account.  While some have claimed the early chapters of Genesis to be metaphor, there isn’t evidence for that.  Moses who wrote it came from the only ancient culture that did write regularly in prose and narrative, because it was a straight telling of what happened.  Science also seems to raise more and more doubts about evolution as an idea, and as time advances, the Bible seems to be becoming more and more trustworthy in the minds of academics such as biologists, physicists, archaeologists, linguists and more.  

Believing as I do in a young earth with a long future, I marvel at the genius of God.  As soon as the problem of sin happened he was at work.  His son came at just the right time to bring salvation.  And the grace of God is at work in the world and will continue for as long as it is needed, even if that be for millions of years to come.  

Double Language in Scripture

The Bible is full of language that sounds clear, but turns out to have another meaning.  It’s straightforward once you know what the true meaning or meanings are, and we can recognize that the disciples were confused by this at times, but so often we ourselves get confused too, but often we don’t realise that we are.

A great example of double language is in John’s gospel where Jesus tells his disciples “I have food you don’t know about” (John 4:32)  That comment sparked a conversation about his apparent hidden food and how he got it without them knowing.  Preachers often label this type of thing figurative or metaphorical language, and observe that Jesus often had special spiritual meanings behind his use of everyday language.  

Can I suggest to you that Jesus is not trying to use regular words to hide a special meaning, but instead trying to explain a deep and much more real thing, by using something we relate to.  

Imagine someone born blind, and not having any idea of what light was or what the colors were.  If you had the task of explaining it to them you would try to relate something to them they did understand.  So you would perhaps use the volume and types of sounds to explain brightness and the types of colours.  In reality sound and sight are quite different, but to the blind only knowing one of the things, the other is a “greater reality” which we try to convey to them.  We have to use something similar to point to something a bit different but greater and hard to understand.  

God in the Bible, and Jesus in person both used language like this from the very first chapters of the Bible to speak to us.  But rather than seeing it as an attempt to hide meaning, is it an attempt to explain something much greater using earthly analogies.  There are things going on in the mind and heart of God, but we are much to earthly to get a sense of them, and yet there isn’t any way of explaining them except in terms of things we understand.  For this reason the Jews of Christ’s day thought he was coming as a physical king to sit on a physical throne.  But Christ has a different type of kingdom in mind.  Today there are many people who are still waiting for Christ to come and sit on a physical throne, and waiting for a third physical temple to be built, and waiting for a new Jerusalem that they believe is physical and will come out of heaven.  So often we cling to the apparent meaning, and don’t see the thing which is more real.  

In Genesis 2:17, God said to Adam not to eat the fruit of a certain tree, saying “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”  In the next chapter both Adam and Eve did eat from that tree, but both continued to live in the way we are accustomed to thinking of living.  So in what way had they died?

It turns out that there is a death worse than the death we are familiar with.  Or there is a death that is more real than the reality of death we know of.  In other words there are two types of death.  Scripture actually does talk about the first death and the second death.  Being thrown into the lake of fire is “the second death.”  (Revelation 20:6)  There are also two resurrections, or two lifes we might say.  The first resurrection is when we are born again and our spirit lives for the first time.  Prior to that we are “dead in our sins.”  The second resurrection is the one that happens on that grand final day when Christ returns.  The first death is the physical death of our bodies, but the second death is the permanent separation from God.  But in a sense many people are already dead with that second death, because they are not alive to God.  

So there is double language used of almost everything in the Bible.  We are told in John 6 to “eat my flesh,” which many have equated to physical things, believing that the communion host actually turns into Jesus body, rather than noting a greater reality at work.  Jesus said he was building another temple, but it is the joining of the lives of his people together… a building not made of hands, which is a supremely more significant thing than another middle-eastern building project.  

The problem with double language is that we think we know what it means, and we settle for the superficial meaning, and don’t find the greater reality of what God is doing.  God is trying to get our attention with big things. 

New Space Images Support My Book

In 2019 I started writing “Flag on the Glacier,” a book-sized letter to atheists a thousand years in the future. One of my goals was to get the book published before the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The reason for that was simple, I had a feeling that the data coming back from the telescope was going to confirm what I would write about. Writing about the future is challenging, and I really wanted to try to be accurate, but in the case of what I was to say about space, and its implications about God, I was certain.

When COVID hit the world in early 2020, we were just months away from the (at that time) launch date of the new space telescope in May. But my book was nowhere near complete. However, due to both COVID complications, and technical issues, the eventual launch ended up being Christmas Day, 2021. I consider that the launch, on that day, represents what the telescope is… a “Christmas gift” to the world.

It took about six months for it to travel to its point in space (lagrange point 2) and to be provisioned, and since then we have started to see some oof the most remarkable images released. To see some of those, go to https://webb.nasa.gov/

My thesis is that as time progresses we will come to a point where everyone will believe the world was created, and that somoe intelligent form (ie God) is behind it all. Even future atheists will concede this point. I postulated that the JWST would demonstrate that the universe is infinite, becuase it shows us what God is like. So now that articles like the below one, are surfacing, it is nothing suprising to me, but a great confirmation oof what I knew to be true. Click the image below to read the full article at Sky & Telescope.

How The World Has Changed

In ancient times human life held little value. Indeed gladiatorial games were even held for entertainment in which people were killed for sport. There was no Emporer more depraved than Commodus when it came to the arena. If someone had suffered a cardiac arrest during a game – it would probably not have raised an eyebrow.

Later in 391AD or so, Telemachius jumped the fence at what was believed to be the Colosseum to try and stop a fight to the death. He was himself killed, but becamse the catalyst for the banning of gladiatorial contests. His Christian values came from scripture, and the teachings of Christ that people do have value because of being made in God’s image.

Sport now exists in many forms, for the purpose of entertainment, with American football (NFL) being an example of a high-risk physical sport where players are routinely injured, hence the helmets that must be worn. Physical contests like the NFL, Rugby, Boxing, Wrestling and more are the closest thing we have to the games of ancient times.

On January 2nd, 2023, in an NFL game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinatti Bengals, Damar Hamlin was hit in a heavy tackle and dropped to the ground experiencing cardiac arrest. He was resucitated onfield, and taken away in a ambulance and the game was then cancelled. The below image shows his team plus others praying for him, as an ambulance takes him away. Others at the stadium including players and supporters of the other team where in prayer too.

At the same time, even before an ambulance had arrived, posts like this below exploded all over the internet.

Within hours the amount of posts about people praying was in the millions. People who don’t even have faith were saying prayers.

Even news agencies were calling for prayer:

And the Buffalo Bills official website – requested prayer right across the top of its website.

What happened after Damar’s life-threatening injury was an outpouring of prayer, love and concern, which demonstrates how much the world has changed. Human life is more important than any game, as demonstrated by the cancelling of the rest of the event. What began with Jesus Christ and his words to love and value humans, has worked in cultures, languages and groups of people to bring the most profound changes to the world.

What happened in Monday Night Football in just one example of how the world is different because of Jesus. Jesus laid down his life so that the lives of others could be saved, and set an incredible example which has an increasing effect even today.

A week later, Damar Hamlin is out of hospital, having spent days in ICU. This image from an ABC article says it all.

Can the Dead Hear?

John chapter five contains an event where Jesus heals a man on the Sabbath and tells him to carry his matt and walk. In the minds of the Jewish leaders, this equated to working, a thing which was not supposed to be done on the Sabbath day. Jesus clearly saw it differently and considered healing someone a great thing to do on any day, not only a Sabbath, and walking away with his matt was not working in Christ’s mind.

After this event, we have discussion about it from verses 16–30. The Pharisees accuse Jesus of breaking the sabbath, and Jesus comments back. In the story we have a contrasted example of one group who heard Jesus speak, but rejected it, and a man who heard Jesus speak and did as instructed. The subject is thus about hearing God’s voice. In this context, here is what Jesus says:


It is not hearing with the physical ears which is the subject of verses 24–25, but rather hearing in the sense that you ‘understand.’ And in that quote, the ‘dead’ which are the spiritually dead will live. In other words, if you are spiritually dead, but you truly hear God’s words…. it sinks into your heart and you understand and receive it… you are changed and will live. This is the essence of believing God. It isn’t just believing that there is a God, because the Pharisees believed there was a God, but they rejected Jesus words and didn’t ‘hear’ him.

In the second quote it is now talking about everyone who is physically dead, and about the final judgement. Jesus now says that in this situation everyone will hear his voice, and rise to be judged, some rewarded and some punished. So the two quotes are talking about two different types of dead, and two differnet types of hearing, and two differnet types of result.

In the actual story, the Pharisees were dead, and did not hear the voice of God in Jesus. The disabled man who was healed did hear the voice of Jesus and received life.

The question remains, do you ‘hear’ Jesus?

Queen Elizabeth II and the Lord Jesus Christ

Queen Elizabeth II has been a rock of stability for the world for the last seven decades. When I lived as a child in Papua New Guinea she came in 1985 to commemorate 10 years of independance and I saw her. A memory I will never forget. Presidents and Prime ministers have come and gone, but she has remained. Her calm manner has been a source of confidence for many, living through World War 2, the cold war, the fall of communism, terrorist years and everything in between.

Can I suggest that the Queen’s faith is what gives her such confidence. And can I further suggest that it is in fact God himself which gives the world its stability. God knows we need stability and so He gives us people like Elizabeth of Windsor. She has been a gift of God to the 20th century, and rather than worrying about the future, we can rest assured that the same God is still there. God will provide other gifts.

The Queen may have reigned while 13 US President came and went, and while a multitude of other world leaders changed over, but God has reigned on His heavenly throne before the Queen, and will continue.

There is one rock of stability and it is none other than Christ.

Malachi 3:6 “I am the Lord, I do not change.”

Will the Rapture Occur after Everyone has Heard the Gospel?

I used to think that the rapture could not possibly happen until everyone had a chance to hear the gospel. This was based on two verses:

Firstly Matthew 24:14 which states “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

And secondly 2 Peter 3:9 (Message version) “Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.”

However I have since learned a few things…

Matthew 24 (up until about verse 31/32) was not talking about. the end of the world, but the end of the Old Covenant, an the destruction of Jerusalem. The word translated world in verse 14 is ge which is not normally translated as ‘world’, it is better translated as ‘land’. We usually get the word ‘world’ from the greek word cosmos, which is not present here. Because of the assumptions of translators they assume it is about the final end, so they translate world instead of land, and they translate nations instead of tribes. Rather that verse should say somethign like this….. “the gospel will be preached through the whole land as a testimony to all the tribes, and then the end will come.”

Matthew 24:14 is saying that before Jerusaalem is destrooyed, the gospel emssage was to be preached to aall the tribes of Israel. The needed to know that Christ was teh messiaah, becauase the mosaaic form of Judaism wasa going aaway. The temple would be destroyed and they were being called into following their messiah, Jesus Christ. This was also the precisely the reason why Jesus said earlier to his disciples this in Matthew 10:23 “When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”

I have since come to see that Christ will not return to secretly rapture believers, leaving all the unbelievers alone, and then later return again. There is only one return of Christ, not two.

What has become more and more apparent is that Christ IS a very patient God, just as 2 Peter says, and he delays his return so that the world can be saved. He isn’t going to come back quickly and send billions of people to Hell. But at the same time, he isn’t coming back twice either – with a secret return, and then a visible return. There is only one second coming of Christ, and “every eye shall see him.”