Minister’s Letter October 2015

Dear friends,

The Bible begins and ends with descriptions of God’s creative genius and his relationship with all that he made out of nothing (Gen. 1:1).

The opening chapters of the book of Genesis describe the creation of the Universe, the stars and the planets, the planet earth and all forms of life. While the events are described in a systematic way, Genesis does not provide a scientific account of how Creation came into being. However we are provided with a description of God’s active and purposeful involvement in the work of Creation.

The end of the Bible describes how God will bring to an end Creation as we know it and replace it with the new heaven and the new earth. It seems that the realms for heaven and earth will somehow be brought together, there will be harmony (not conflict) in this new realm where Jesus will reign over those who have been resurrected from the dead and have been saved through faith in his Lordship (Rev. 21:1-5).

Human beings are part of God’s Creation. The Bible describes us as the pinnacle of God’s creative endeavours (Psalm 8:5). But, we have been invited to be stewards of the world with which God has blessed us. Human beings have always had an impact on the environment. This week I read about an improvement in North Sea cod stocks, as reported by the Marine Conservation Society. The improvement comes in the wake of years of reduced fishing quotas and other regulations to help stocks recover from their impoverished levels of the 1980’s. In the long term this is good news. Yet, there was another story in the news this week that is disturbing. Volkswagen has fitted software to its diesel cars that provide false information on exhaust emissions. In other words their vehicles have had a more negative impact on the environment than the customer has been led to believe. Where ever we look, human activity has an impact on the environment; from mining, fishing, farming, industry and waste management, transport etc. Have we been good stewards and held true to God’s invitation to look after the world?

One such area is the phenomenon of climate change. You can come clean now and admit whether you are a cynic or an advocate of global warming. There is no doubt from scientific evidence that the climate is changing; hottest summers and coldest winters are regularly reported in different parts of the world. We often hear of extreme climactic events; we learn of a drought in one place and severe flooding in another. Scientists report thinning polar ice-sheets, retreating glaciers, acidification of our oceans and sea level rises. There are recorded, visible changes to the world’s climate, but what is the cause?

There are natural phenomena that affect the earth’s climate and these have had an impact over long periods. However the burning of fossil fuels, over reliance on man-made fertilisers, increased livestock and deforestation can be attributed as factors; with fossil fuel usage being by far the biggest contributor.

So how do we move forward? We need to make big changes in how we produce energy and how we consume it too. We must exploit renewable sources of energy and shift away from fossil fuels, care for our forests and develop more sustainable ways of farming. If we fail, the cost to future generations will be incalculable. And God’s invitation to be good stewards will have fallen on deaf ears.

Your minister and friend