“We Are Fundamentally Destabilizing Our Natural Systems”
The headline of this post is part of a quote taken from Wolfgang Lucht, a co-author of a recent study released by the Potsdam Institute. In one pithy, insightful quote, he summarized half of what I am trying to say on this blog. Here is the relevent quote from Lucht as included in this Bloomberg article: “Our findings support the assertion that we are fundamentally destabilizing our natural systems,” Wolfgang Lucht was cited as saying in the statement. “We are leaving the world as we know it.”
That is quite a quote and it seems to do an excellent job of conveying the message that the systems that God created to sustain life on this earth are in steep and accelerating decline – the systems themselves. An excellent quote but, ultimately, his analysis comes up quite short for two reasons. First, because the systems of the earth have been in decline since man sinned – if we just look at how incredibly productive and healthy the oceans were 100, 200, and 400 years ago we can see that we are not just now leaving the world as we knew it. And if we could see the Garden of Eden we would profoundly understand just how far the world has declined through sin. What Lucht is really saying, then, is that we can now observe the decline of the earth in real time and within one generation. The second reason his analysis comes up short is because he does not lay blame at the root cause – he does not name sin as the cause of the destabilization of our natural systems. This second thing is a major point, because we – human society – tries to fix what it thinks is wrong. If what is wrong with the world is inadequate societal focus and organization on our environmental problems, then the solution is political. If what is wrong with the world is an inadequate amount of scientific knowledge, then the solution lies in science and research. But if what is wrong with the world is sin, then the solution is Jesus.
There are several reasons that I try to stay out of political discussions. Partly because they are a useless waste of time that generate heat but no light, partly because they bring out the worst in people, but mostly because such discussions have absolutely nothing to do with either the problem or the solution. It astounds me that otherwise sincere Christians can be far more passionate about politics than they ever are about the coming of Christ. If we are not focused on Christ, we are not focused on the solution and if we are not focused on the solution we are part of the problem.
I actually very much look forward to leaving this world as we know it – I look forward to going to heaven. But there is much work to be done before we get to heaven. There is a world waiting to be warned that nothing on this earth will endure, that all will be destroyed, and that the only way to escape this destruction is through our friend and savior Jesus Christ. We need to be proclaiming Christ. I do expect that the rest of the world will come to see the big picture and will understand that the systems that underpin the world truly are in accelerating decline and I also expect that their hearts will fail them for fear of what is coming on the world. We, however, need to calmly point to sin as the problem and Christ as the solution. The moment is coming when people will see the destruction that is coming on the world and will listen, however briefly, to what we have to say. It is our responsibility to point them to Christ through the Bible.
The bad news for the world is that we are in fact leaving the world as we know it. The good news for Christians is that very, very soon we will in fact leave the world as we know it.