People are getting a kick out of comments Rep. Tim Walberg (R.-Mich.) made at a recent town hall. Because he’s a Christian, his faith is in the Lord — not science. “I believe there’s been climate change since the beginning of time. I believe there are cycles. Do I think man has some impact? Yeah, of course. Can man change the entire universe? No.”
With President Trump recently withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement, it’s a great time for left-leaning “news” outlets to get a few extra clicks by turning the congressman’s comments into a story. Huffington Post wants you to know “you can rest easy now,” mocking Walberg. MSNBC thinks the congressman’s remarks are “problematic” because we could apply his logic when he says, “if there’s a real problem, [God] can take of it,” to everything from national defense to healthcare.
So what’s going on here, aside from non-Christians still being surprised and repulsed by Christians for giving Christian answers? Is the congressman correct? He said he believes “there is a creator in God who is much bigger than us. And [he’s] confident that, if there’s a real problem, [God] can take care of it.” Is he wrong?
Sounds like Walberg is expressing one of the most basic beliefs of Christianity: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). God is the creator and the sustainer of the universe. And if that’s true, people—with all our pollution and carbon emissions and plastic water bottles—will not be able to render ourselves extinct by changing the world’s atmospheric makeup. The simplest of Christian beliefs is that God is the ruler of everything, including time and history. It sounds like the congressman is only expressing a belief that since God created the world, God will rule it in such a way that if a changing climate is not God’s ordained means of ending the world, then we’ll be fine.
What Walberg didn’t say is that we should be irresponsible or not take any steps to steward God’s creation well. Because along with the basic belief that God created the world and knows how to keep it going until the end, is another basic Christian belief that people were given dominion over the creation and the responsibility to care for and steward it. “And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth’” (Genesis 1:28).
Should we, as Christians, care about the world? More than anyone else! Is it important; should we be conscious of the impact we make on the environment? Absolutely. If we can take reasonable steps to guard our negative effect on the climate, we should. The trick is finding agreement on “reasonable steps.”
But should we, as Christians, place all our eggs in the science basket and abandon our trust in God’s providence? By no means. God’s promises are truer than all our climate data. Should we denigrate those who disagree with us — either for or against climate change? Not if we are followers of Jesus.
And should we maybe not read so much into a couple of insignificant passing remarks made by a congressman at a local town hall meeting? Now that’s an answer everyone should be able to agree on!