Rule over the earth: climate change, lies and money.

Rule over the earth: climate change, lies and money.  Genesis says we are to rule over the earth.  Republicans say there is no climate change problem.  Republicans want to spend $12 Billion to protect Texas oil from climate change.  Does no one see the problem here?  Is someone telling lies?

Rule over the earth: protect business from a climate problem that doesn't exist?The party of the conservatives wants to spend money on a problem they claim doesn’t exist.  The party of the conservatives wants to spend money to protect the oil companies equipment from a problem caused by their own product.  And let’s not forget, the party of the conservatives includes the religious right, who are supposed to believe this:

Ge 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

The religious right is supposed to be taking care of the earth for God.  Be His representative.  But instead, we seem to be working for the god of government.  Is this for real?  Is it fake news?  $12 Billion sounds pretty real.  And it’s just one of a number of projects with the same goal – protection from climate change.

Especially if you’re part of the religious right – read on and see what your party is doing.  The article that brought this to my attention is from the AP, and is on msn money.  It’s titled Big Oil asks government to protect it from climate change.  [sorry, the article has been removed from msn.com]  The article starts with this:

PORT ARTHUR, Texas — As the nation plans new defenses against the more powerful storms and higher tides expected from climate change, one project stands out: an ambitious proposal to build a nearly 60-mile “spine” of concrete seawalls, earthen barriers, floating gates and steel levees on the Texas Gulf Coast.

The first question should be, given that the Republicans are pretty much in control of things and they don’t even believe in the whole climate change issue, why are we spending anything on protection from climate change?  Why are we planning defenses against something that’s [supposedly] not happening?  Could it be that they are lying?  

Lies

The Bible quote above is from Chapter 2 of Genesis.  We really only need to go to the very next chapter to find the first lie.  This takes place at the end of the conversation between Eve and the serpent.  The one about fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Ge 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Ge 3:8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”

Ge 3:10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

Ge 3:11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from? ”

Ge 3:12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

That may not seem like a lie, but look at this phrase from verse 6: She also gave some to her husband, who was with her.  Yeah.  Adam was with her.  He knew what was going on in that fatal conversation between Eve and the serpent, because he was right there with them.  And he never said a word.  And so, his answer to God was a lie.  What Adam said was true.  In part.  Eve did give it to him.  But Adam left out the part about being there and witnessing the whole thing.  For a deeper look into that, please see Why were Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden of Eden?

Then, we need only go one more chapter to find the next lie.  It’s right after Cain killed Abel.

Ge 4:9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

OK – I don’t know – that one’s an outright lie.  Cain knew full well where Abel was.  And that Abel was dead.  Because he led Abel out into the field and killed him.

But you know, I left something out.  After they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve had a price to pay.  As do we still, today.  And after Cain killed Abel, Cain had a price to pay.

Ge 4:10 The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth. ”

There’s always a price to pay.  Because God always knows what we did.  Or didn’t do.  Including when we lie.

These days, lying seems to be considered to be a nothing little thing.  It’s no big deal.  But is that true?  We could say the punishment for the events we just read were because of what Adam, Eve and Cain did.  It had nothing to do with the lying.  But is that true?

Lies and Lying – a Biblical view

Let’s start by looking at The New Bible Dictionary:

LIE, LYING (Heb. šeqer, ‘falsehood’, ‘deception’; kāzāḇ, ‘lie’ or ‘deceptive thing’; Gk. pseudos and cognates). Essentially, a lie is a statement of what is known to be false with intent to deceive (Jdg. 16:10, 13). Biblical writers severely condemn aggravated forms of lying, e.g. those which perpetrate a fraud (Lv. 6:2–3) or secure wrongful condemnation (Dt. 19:15), and the testimony of false prophets (Je. 14:14). Lies may be expressed in words (Pr. 6:19), a way of life (Ps. 62:9), error (2 Thes. 2:11), or a false form of religion (Rom. 1:25). The prophets regarded lying as a specific expression of the principle of evil (Ho. 12:1). Lying is prohibited as repugnant to the moral conscience of Israel (Pr. 19:22), because of its antisocial effects (Pr. 26:28), and, above all, as incompatible with the divine nature (Nu. 23:19). Jesus declares that Satan is the father of lies (Jn. 8:44). All falsehood is forbidden in the Christian community (Col. 3:9).

Lying is characterized in various ways, e.g. Cain’s evasive answer (Gn. 4:9), Jacob’s deliberate falsehood (Gn. 27:19), Gehazi’s misrepresentation of his master (2 Ki. 5:21–27), and the deception practised by Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1–10). Lying is the sin of Antichrist (1 Jn. 2:22) and all habitual liars forfeit eternal salvation (Rev. 21:27).  1)Flavelle, A. (1996). Lie, Lying. In D. R. W. Wood, I. H. Marshall, A. R. Millard, J. I. Packer, & D. J. Wiseman (Eds.), New Bible dictionary (3rd ed., p. 687). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

We read things that clearly show that lying is more than what we’d call today an “outright” lie – a total fabrication that has little to nothing to do with truth. 

There is the intent to deceive.  Clearly, that’s going on here with the Republicans in the government trying to claim that there’s no such thing as climate change – and also saying that the oil companies need money to prevent serious impacts from climate change.  It really doesn’t matter whether you believe in climate change or not.  This is an outright contradiction.  How can anyone justify spending $12 Billion on something they claim doesn’t even exist?

For those in the government who claim to be Christian – and for those who claim to be Christian and support something like this, the following passage should be considered.  Very carefully considered.

Pr 6:16 There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:

Pr 6:17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,

Pr 6:18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,

Pr 6:19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

The only things in that Proverb that maybe don’t directly appear to apply to spending money to save the oil companies from a problem that supposedly doesn’t exist might be “haughty eyes” and “shed innocent blood“.  But – don’t go away yet.  We’ll soon see that in reality, both of them apply.  Lying leads to problems far bigger than we probably think.

Lies and Lying – a deeper Biblical view

OK – that last excerpt didn’t look good at all.  But most of it was Old Testament.  That can cause some Christians to write it off.  It wasn’t from Jesus, so it doesn’t apply.  Sorry.  Wrong again.

First of all, remember God’s command to us to rule over the earth.  That wasn’t a generic “earth”.  It was pretty specific as to the intent.

Ge 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Ge 1:27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

Ge 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Yes – the fish.  Think about the image at the top of the burning oil rig.  That wasn’t taking care of the fish.

And the birds.  Remember all the smoke in that picture?  That wasn’t doing anything good for the birds either.

And what about the livestock, all the earth, and all the creatures that move along the ground?  While the smoke doesn’t necessarily affect this last group directly, let’s not forget about the problem that some claim doesn’t exist: global warming.  Again – either that $12 Billion of protection isn’t needed – or global warming is real.  You just can’t have it both ways.  And global warming is killing / destroying everything we’ve just read about in the passage above.

Consider this as well – we haven’t even talked about the impact of these things on people yet.  But it’s coming.

Corporations don’t lie.  Governments don’t lie.  People lie.

Anyway – for now, we know one of the statements is a lie.  Global warming doesn’t exist.  We need to be protected from global warming.  They cannot both be true.  And yet, they were both issued by “oil companies”. 

But let’s get real.  Corporations cannot lie.  They are merely legal entities set up by people.  It’s the people that lie.  It’s not the company that’s destroying God’s creation.  It’s people that destroy God’s creation.  Sure, it’s easy to blame the big bad corporations.  But it’s really the people at the top of those corporations that are lying.  Lying to us.  Lying to God.  Destroying God’s creation.  Do we think God is going to send Exxon, Chevron or British Petroleum to hell?  Of course not.  But the people running them – the people making up and propagating those lies?  They’re certainly well on their way.

And then there’s the government.  Same story.  A government is a legally created system.  A system can’t lie or destroy any more than a corporation could.  But, just like the corporation, the government is made up of people.  People who can lie.  People who can destroy God’s creation.

But let’s not stop there.  In the U.S. and other democracies, the people running our governments are elected.  And let’s not hide behind the facade of the Electoral College here in the U.S.  It’s the people of the country who cast votes and who put people in office in the government.  By supporting those who are destroying God’s creation, are “we the people” also involved in that destruction of God’s creation?

Finally – let’s also remember that it’s the conservatives, including the religious right, who support the Republicans.  The same Republicans that support big corporations.  And, they are the ones pushing for giving the oil companies all that money to protect them from global warming.  And all the while, their telling us that global warming doesn’t exist.

And while we’re talking about the religious right, including a large number of Christians, what do we think about Jesus paying the price for us?  Earlier, I said there’s always a price to pay for things like lying.  But tell me, if we continue to lie, knowing full well that we’re lying about something that’s against God’s plan for us – what does that say about our feelings towards Jesus?  Do we really think He died so that we can just do whatever we want, even when it’s against God’s own command to us?  Not only do it once or twice, but actually make a career out of it?  At what point do we have to acknowledge that we really don’t appreciate what Jesus did?  Or worse yet, that we’re trying to take advantage of His sacrifice and death for us?  And at what point will Jesus say to us, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’  

As Christians – can’t we do better? 

Are we really still at the point where we say not “the woman (Eve) did it” but “the big bad corporation did it”?  Or the government did it?  That’s wrong!  We are allowing it to happen.  We are doing it.  We are responsible for the destruction of God’s creation.

Are we really still at the point where we say not “Am I my brother’s keeper”, but “am I the corporation’s keeper”?  Or the governments keeper?  That’s wrong!  We are in fact responsible for keeping watch over both the corporations and the government.  It wasn’t that way when the Romans were ruling in Jesus’ time.  But it’s true now.  We are allowing it to happen.  We are doing it.  We are responsible for the destruction of God’s creation.

Is this really real?

Think I’m overstating things?  Take a look at the concluding words from Big Oil asks government to protect it from climate change.

“Our overall economy, not only in Texas but in the entire country, is so much at risk from a high storm surge,” said Matt Sebesta, a Republican who as Brazoria County judge oversees a swath of Gulf Coast.

But the idea of taxpayers around the country paying to protect refineries worth billions, and in a state where top politicians still dispute climate change’s validity, doesn’t sit well with some.

“The oil and gas industry is getting a free ride,” said Brandt Mannchen, a member of the Sierra Club’s executive committee in Houston. “You don’t hear the industry making a peep about paying for any of this and why should they? There’s all this push like, ‘Please Senator Cornyn, Please Senator Cruz, we need money for this and that.'”

Normally outspoken critics of federal spending, Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz both backed using taxpayer funds to fortify the oil facilities’ protections and the Texas coast. Cruz called it “a tremendous step forward.”

There are some real names attached to real statements.

According to PEW Research, here are the religious affiliations of the two Texas Senators:

John Cornyn:  Nondenominational Christian

Ted Cruz:  Baptist

Also according to PEW Research, in January 2017:

Despite the steady decline in the percentage of Americans who identify as Christian, the proportion of congressional members who say they are Christian has remained very close to what it was in the early 1960s, according to a new report.

The report, released on Tuesday by Pew Research Center, found that 91 percent of the members of the new session of Congress, the 115th, identified as Christian. More than half a century ago, in 1961, 95 percent of United States representatives and senators said that they were Christian, the report said.

They may very will claim to be Christian.  But how are they doing as God’s representatives – and ours – in taking care of God’s creation?

Haughty eyes

By they way, how are they doing at taking care of us?  Earlier, I promised to cover a few more things.  Here’s the first – haughty eyes from the Proverbs passage:

Pr 6:16 There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:

Pr 6:17 haughty eyes,

“Haughty eyes” was the very first thing in that list of six things the Lord hates and seven that He finds detestable.  So what does haughty even mean?  It’s hardly a common word today.

Let’s start with the usage of the Hebrew word that we translate as haughty:

7311 יָרוּם, יָרַם, רוּם, רָם, רָמַם [ruwm /room/] v. A primitive root; TWOT 2133; GK 3727 and 3753 and 8123 and 8225 and 8249; 194 occurrences; AV translates as “(lift”, “hold”, “etc …) up” 63 times, “exalt” 47 times, “high” 25 times, “offer” 13 times, “give” five times, “heave” three times, “extol” three times, “lofty” three times, “take” three times, “tall” three times, “higher” twice, and translated miscellaneously 24 times. 1 to rise, rise up, be high, be lofty, be exalted. 1A (Qal). 1A1 to be high, be set on high. 1A2 to be raised, be uplifted, be exalted. 1A3 to be lifted, rise. 1B (Polel). 1B1 to raise or rear (children), cause to grow up. 1B2 to lift up, raise, exalt. 1B3 to exalt, extol. 1C (Polal) to be lifted up. 1D (Hiphil). 1D1 to raise, lift, lift up, take up, set up, erect, exalt, set on high. 1D2 to lift up (and take away), remove. 1D3 to lift off and present, contribute, offer, contribute. 1E (Hophal) to be taken off, be abolished. 1F (Hithpolel) to exalt oneself, magnify oneself. 2 (Qal) to be rotten, be wormy.  2)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

This gives the impression of someone who exalts themselves – lifts themselves up – and not in a good way.  If that sounds familiar, consider the case of Satan.  Being viewed in the same fashion as Satan isn’t something anyone should want.

Let’s continue with something on this Proverb in general, and haughty eyes specifically.

The evil qualities of deceit and malice which are disastrous to man are hateful also to God. The X+1 formula (six … yes seven) appears here for the first time in the book. It is a way of stating something indefinite, that is, the list is not exhaustive. Seven things follow which are regarded as “abomination” (absolutely repugnant) to the Lord, lit., “unto his soul” (6:16).
First, God hates “haughty eyes.” Of course it is not merely the look which is meant, but the temperament which the look expresses. The sin of pride is placed first on the list because it is at the bottom of all disobedience and rebellion against God’s moral law.  3)Smith, J. E. (1996). The wisdom literature and Psalms (Pr 6:16–19). Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co.

Yes, pride.  Looking good on the outside – with the claim to be Christian and the mentioning of God.  But remember when Jesus said this:

Mt 15:8 “ ‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.

Mt 15:9 They worship me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men.’”

Yes, Jesus was talking to the Pharisees and the teachers of the law.  However, when our leaders – even the political ones – use the name of God and go after the Christian vote – are they not trying to put themselves into a position of leadership because of their claims to honor and worship God?  And in reality, don’t we too often find that their hearts are far from God – and that they live by the rules that they set up for themselves?

So when I bring up haughty eyes, it’s about the look they have towards God.  But also the look they have towards us.  And the look they have towards the rest of God’s creation.

shed innocent blood

We’ve sort of talked around this thought already.  But I believe it would be good to make it more clear.  True enough, in the image of the burning oil rig, fish are dying under the ocean.  And both birds and fish will get caught up in the oil slick that almost certainly results when a tragedy like this occurs.

But what of the pollution in general from their core business?  Innocent people die because of that.  Even now, there are alternatives in many areas to using petroleum based products.  And those alternatives save lives.  But the corporations and the government – the people leading them – fight against it.  And animals die, God’s creation is being destroyed, people die – because of that.  Innocent blood is shed.  Because of people.  The people leading the corporations.  The people leading the charge in our government.  And the people who continue to vote those same government officials back into office.

People lie.  People look down on other people.  People shed innocent blood.  And God hates all these things.

Rule over the earth: climate change, lies and money.

Yes, we finally get to money.  We can’t talk about money without bringing up this passage:

Love of Money

1Ti 6:3 If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

1Ti 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

No, the Bible doesn’t say money is evil.  It doesn’t even say that money is the root of all evil.

The Bible does say that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  That’s very different.  It also points the finger, correctly, not at money itself – but at people.

$12 Billion is a lot of money.  Even though the government may consider it pocket change and not worth spending any time on, remember what Jesus said to the Pharisees – part of the ruling class for the Jewish people in His time:

Lk 11:39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

Again, given that our political leaders try to cloak themselves under cover of believing in God, I have to think this applies to them today.  They are doing the same things.  They claim to believe in God.  They claim to be Christian.  They want the Christian vote.  They have the photo ops when they go to church once a year and do something on national prayer day. 

But then, after trying to make the outside look clean, they do things like deny global warming and give all that money to some of the very companies that are pushing for global warming to continue.  They deny that God’s creation is being destroyed by their actions.  They try to cut back / remove programs to benefit the poor, so they can give even more to the rich.  What about the last part that Jesus said?  Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?  But give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

Rule over the earth: climate change, lies and money – conclusion

Think how much could be done with all the wasted money.  Think what they, as Christians, could accomplish if they actually lived like the Christians they claimed to be.  Think what “we the people” could do, if we actually lived like the Christians that most of us claim to be – and if we voted like the Christians most of us claim to be.

I know – there’s a problem with that voting part.  This particular article is about certain Republicans.  But the alternatives aren’t any better.  Not right now.  But even that is our fault.  We get the candidates we get because they tell us what we want to hear.  We listen to them, instead of to Jesus.  

In a section the NIV subtitles The Cost of Being a Disciple,  we read this:

Lk 14:34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

We vote like we’re ready, maybe even wanting, to be thrown out.  Because we have ears for the candidates we get – instead of ears for Jesus.

But then, Jesus also said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

If we would stop taking what is God’s and giving it to Caesar – but instead give it to God – I think we’d get a very different kind of candidate.  But we don’t.  We give too much to Caesar.  And nowhere near enough to God. 

And then we reap what we sow.  Then we get global warming.  We get lies.  We get rich people getting richer.  And poor people getting poorer.  And since we have neither ears to hear nor eyes to see, we wonder why isn’t God taking care of us.  All the while, we should be wondering, how can we claim to be Christian, and yet ignore Christ?

References   [ + ]

1. Flavelle, A. (1996). Lie, Lying. In D. R. W. Wood, I. H. Marshall, A. R. Millard, J. I. Packer, & D. J. Wiseman (Eds.), New Bible dictionary (3rd ed., p. 687). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
2. Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.
3. Smith, J. E. (1996). The wisdom literature and Psalms (Pr 6:16–19). Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co.

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