Why Global Warming?
In one of his exhaustive studies, noted 19th century Biblical Scholar and Author, Charles Russell, said: "In studying God's Word, we find that the Genesis account does not begin with the Creation of the physical earth, as was once supposed. "The beginning" refers merely to the work accomplished by Divine Power in bring the waste and lifeless earth into condition for man's use.
The earth was already in existence, and had been created by Divine Power, before the time mentioned in the Genesis account. Higher Critics discuss various theories respecting how the mass of earth was formed, and they attribute millions of years to this. Bible students may well content themselves with the record that the earth already was at "the beginning," of the Genesis account.
Why the Polar Ice?
Geology testifies to a Glacial Period, when great icebergs, carried by floods of water, rushed from the poles toward the equator. Geologists have traced great valleys cut by these icebergs. On their findings they base the theory that the earth was once ice-covered. Instead of attributing the ice to the period of the Deluge, 4,400 years ago, they add a handful of naughts; and the more they add, the prouder they feel of their achievements, because they think that they are getting away from the Bible and discrediting it.
But scientific Bible students are having their faith in God's Word established more and more. Without affecting the torrid zone, the warmer temperature is now extending itself into the frigid zone quite rapidly. "Greenland's Icy Mountains" will soon be things of the past. The poles are warming up. The ice caps are dissolving. Last winter was called the "straw hat season" of Alaska, because of the higher temperatures than ever before known.
"Thy Word is Truth"
The fitting of these facts to the Bible narrative is not only intensely interesting, but conducive to faith in God, in His providences, and in the Bible, and very conducive to a disregard of the wild guesses of "professors," who have no faith in the Bible and are seeking to discredit it.
The sudden break of the canopy of water would not only cause a deluge to come down at both poles, and the flow of great tidal waves toward the equator, as geologists show was the case, but it would also produce a sudden and intense cold at the poles. The water froze so rapidly that out of the solid ice animals have in recent years been dug, which have grass between their teeth.
We have only to put two and two together to have a chain of evidence linking us to the Bible. For instance, it is asked why it was colder at the poles then than now? The reply is: The more direct rays of the sun then, as now, fell on the equator; but the torrid zone was hotter than now, until the trade winds sprung up, which carried the heat and distributed it all over the earth. And the waters of the equator must have been hotter then, as the poles were colder, until the ocean currents set in - which, like the Gulf Stream, carry the water from the equator and distribute it along the shores of America and Europe - and the Japan and other currents, which in the Pacific carry their water warmed at the equator to the poles.
These processes, going on for 4,400 years, are gradually thawing out the polar regions, as all scientists agree; and this it is that has recently been causing larger numbers of icebergs from the glaciers of the polar region to break loose and float down, to the distress of mariners.
Still there remains the question, Why was not Noah's ark carried off by this swift current toward the equator? Why did it apparently remain not far from the place where it was built and come to rest on the top of Mount Ararat? Professor George Frederick Wright has dropped the suggestion which fits well with the Bible narrative. As we understand the professor, the geological evidences are that the swift currents of water, laden with icebergs and rolling rocks, visited various parts of Europe and America, and perhaps Asia, but seemingly avoided the vicinity of Mount Ararat. There, alluvial deposits are of extraordinary depth. The geologists say that while there was a commotion round about, there was an eddy and back water in that particular vicinity.
Is it too much for the child of God to believe that the Great Creator, who intended to preserve alive Noah and his family to begin afresh the population of the earth, was fully competent to regulate the currents of that Deluge?
"Faith can firmly trust Him, Come what may."
It is pleasing to us, additionally, to note that the time required for the draining off of the waters (Genesis 8:1-14) is reasonable and in harmony with the scientific investigation conducted from the Bible standpoint.
The Cause of the Deluge
We have already seen that physical causes led up to the Deluge. Next let us inquire, Why did Divine Providence decree the obliteration of man, except Noah and his family? Why did He who knew "the end from the beginning" purposely allow that last canopy to remain to cause the Flood, instead of precipitating it before man was created?
The answer is that God foreknew the rebellion of Satan and his attempt to become the "Prince of this world." God also foreknew that His human son, Adam, would fall before the temptation which would come upon him. He permitted the temptation and the fall solely because He foresaw a way by which, ultimately, good would be accomplished thereby and valuable, instructive lessons be given both to angels and to men. These lessons test the love and loyalty of every creature in Heaven and on earth, and when rightly learned, will serve their purposes to all eternity.
All of God's dealings with His intelligent creatures are along the lines of absolute Justice, guided by Love Divine. But while Love can guide Divine Justice, Justice must rule, as we read: "Justice is the foundation of Thy Throne." (Psalm 89:14.) The Bible record is that at the time of the Flood wickedness had become so great that the conduct of mankind and the thoughts of their hearts were "only evil continually." - Genesis 6:5.
This great increase of wickedness for 1600 years is explained to have come, not merely from human depravity, but by the connivance of some of the angels. These, although created holy, perfect, became enamored of sin through humanity, until they became disobedient to God, and by their greater intelligence led humanity into depths of iniquity.
The Apostle Jude declares that thus they "left their own habitation," or condition as spirit beings, in violation of the Divine Law. Thus, instead of using their permission to appear as men to help and instruct mankind, they used this power to still more rapidly degrade humanity. Moreover, the children born of those angelic sons of God by human mothers were human beings of a new order - different from Adam's family. We read that they were giants - physical and mental - "men of renown."
The fact that they grew to manhood and became renowned proves that this improper relationship between angels and humanity continued for centuries, because in that primitive time full manhood was not reached in less than a hundred years. Those giant sons of the angels, begotten in lust and in violation of the Divine Law, would not, naturally, be renowned for their virtues or holiness, but the reverse. Therefore, it does not surprise us to read further that those sons of the angels tyrannized over humanity, and that the whole earth was filled with violence.
The time had come when God's displeasure with those conditions should be manifested - not by sending those angels and their giant-renowned sons and the depraved antediluvians of Adam's race to a hell of torture, but by merely overwhelming them in the Deluge. God thus set an example of His opposition to sin and His determination that, eventually, it should be fully stamped out. But neither in this, nor in anything else, did God ever suggest any thought of torturing sinners, or anybody, throughout eternity.
On the contrary, all those antediluvian sinners of Adam's race were as much redeemed by Christ's sacrifice as other sinners of the race at any time. They belonged to the great mass of mankind, with whom Messiah will deal during His Millennial Reign of righteousness. They will all be brought to an accurate knowledge of the Truth, like the remainder of the race. The object in so doing will be that after lessons of chastisement for any willful disobedience, they may be, if they will, fully recovered from sin and death, and brought back to all that was lost - human perfection and everlasting life in an earthly Paradise restored - world-wide - at Jesus' cost.
As for the sons of the angels by human mothers, there is no hope for them. Their begetting and birth were not authorized of God. They were cut off in death. They were not redeemed. They will never be awakened nor resurrected.
As for the fallen angels themselves: The Bible tells us that for these 4,400 years they have been exiles from God, restrained "in chains of darkness," "until the Judgment of the Great Day." - Jude 6; 2 Peter 2:4.
DIVINE foreknowledge is one of the great lessons that God will impress. God would have us know that every feature of his plan was premeditated, prearranged from before the foundation of the world. He would have us recognize the fact that he is working all things according to the counsel of his own will, according to fixed rules, and principles that are unchangeable.
A beautiful word-picture of this Divine foreknowledge and prearrangement is given us in the fifth chapter of Revelation. There, Jehovah, the Emperor of the Universe, is pictured upon the throne, and in his hand a written scroll, sealed with seven seals. That sealed scroll represents the Divine plan which God purposed in himself from before the foundation of the world, but which he had revealed to no one, no, not to the angels, neither to the Son. (Matt. 24:36.) In a word, all that has occurred since creation - the permission of sin, the fall, the Covenant with Abraham, the Law Covenant with Israel, the coming of Jesus, the Pentecostal blessing, the gathering of members of the Church - all these things were foreknown to the Father and provided for. Additionally, that scroll contains a record of all that is happening now, and all that will occur throughout the Millennial Age, down to its very close - down to the time when every creature in heaven and in earth shall ascribe praise, honor, glory and dominion to him that sitteth upon the throne and to the Lamb forever. - Rev. 5:13.
In the picture, John notes a proclamation made throughout heaven and earth, inquiring for anyone worthy of the great honor of having this scroll of the Divine purpose committed to his care - to be opened, to be executed in harmony with the Divine purpose. He looked to see who the worthy one might be, but none was found worthy. Then he wept. It seemed to John too bad that God should have some great, wonderful purposes which might come to naught because no one was worthy to be the Divine executor in respect to the plan. But his tears were checked by the angel, who said, "Weep not: Behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof." And John said, "And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne...stood a Lamb as it had been slain." And to the Lamb was given the scroll. Then all the angels of God worshiped the Lamb, saying, Thou art worthy to receive glory, and honor, and dominion, and might, and power, etc."
As early as 1893,Charles Russell wrote that "It seems certain that to make the earth into a paradise like Eden, such as the prophecies picture, and a fit place for the restored race, some great changes of climate, etc., must occur. Looking back, we find that some important changes of climate, etc., took place at the time of the Deluge; a change which at once affected the longevity of humanity, for before that, life averaged 500 to 1,000 years, but immediately afterward it was shortened. (See Gen. 6:3; 9:29; 11:32.) Furthermore, we learn that until the flood, there had been no rain on the earth, it being watered by a mist instead. (Gen. 2:5,6.) These changes occurred at the end of the first world or dispensation - at the beginning of "The present evil world," or dispensation - and we think that a proper time to expect another change to a better condition would be at the close of the present evil dispensation, at the threshold of "The world [dispensation] to come," wherein dwelleth righteousness. That these changes will be sudden we do not believe, but think that the all-wise Director of the work has so planned that physical and higher changes run parallel and keep pace with each other.
So, then, to us, let the physical contortions and quakings and tempests and angry waves, speak of the better condition coming, just as the social revolutions speak of a more blessed time coming to the groaning creation who shall be delivered into the liberty of sons of God. (Rom. 8:21.) Whirlwinds or cyclones are disturbances occurring in the air or heavens - caused by disorders therein, and which exercise a baneful influence upon the earth."
In 1903 he further noted: "Polar ice, both Arctic and Antarctic, seems to have been steadily decreasing, and it may be that these frigid deserts shall once more blossom as the rose - Isa. 35:1, 7 - literally. Isa 35:1 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. Isa 35:7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water…"
The ice from both poles seems to be drifting toward equatorial regions, to such an extent that, in the north, it has become a menace to commerce, and it may be a work preparatory to the "times of restitution."
Arctic Ice a Menace to Ocean Steamships
"Philadelphia, March 18. - (Press dispatch.) - Navigators of the North Atlantic are worried about the manner in which the arctic floe ice is drifting south, directly in the pathway of steamships. Captain Beavis of the Philadelphia Trans-Atlantic line steamship East Point, which arrived here today from London, reports passing tremendous quantities of field ice in latitude 43 deg. 43 min., and longitude 49 deg. 21 min. Owing to the obstruction, Captain Beavis found it necessary to alter his vessel's course and steam 60 miles to the southward to avoid contact with it."
Have current world conditions fulfilled his Biblical expectations? Just note the following and decide for yourself:
In recent years many headlines have called attention to the issue of global warming and its attendant impacts. In March of 2006, ABC News correspondent Bill Blakemore, in an article entitled "Both Ends of Earth Are Melting" noted that "For the first time, scientists have confirmed Earth is melting at both ends, which could have disastrous effects for costal cities and villages. Recent studies have confirmed that the North Pole and the South Pole have started melting. Experts have long predicted that global warming would start to melt Greenland's two-mile thick ice sheet, but they also thought the more massive ice sheet covering Antarctica would increase in the 21st century. It seems they were wrong."
In addition, Stephan Lovgren of the National Geographic News wrote in April, 2004 that "Most scientists agree that global warming presents the greatest threat to the environment. There is little doubt that the Earth is heating up. In the last century the average temperature has climbed about 0.6 degrees Celsius (about 1 degree Fahrenheit) around the world. From the melting of the ice cap on Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's tallest peak, to the loss of coral reefs as oceans become warmer, the effects of global warming are often clear. However, the biggest danger, many experts warn, is that global warming will cause sea levels to rise dramatically. Thermal expansion has already raised the oceans 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters). But that's nothing compared to what would happen if, for example, Greenland's massive ice sheet were to melt. "The consequences would be catastrophic," said Jonathan Overpeck, director of the Institute for the Study of Planet Earth at the University of Arizona in Tucson. ‘Even with a small sea level rise, we're going to destroy whole nations and their cultures that have existed for thousands of years.'"
Later, in November, 2004, Brian Handwerk of the National Geographic News remarked that "Scientists have determined that the ice in Greenland and the Arctic is melting so rapidly that much of it could be gone by the end of the century. The results could be catastrophic for polar people and animals, while low-lying lands as far away as Florida could be inundated by rising sea levels.
The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment…the four year study of the Arctic climate involved an international team of more than 300 scientists, ..made a "moderate estimate" of future emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses that are widely believed to be contributing to the recent warming trend of the Earth's climate. The study concluded that in Alaska, western Canada, and eastern Russia, average temperatures have increased as much as 4 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit (3 to 4 degrees Celsius) in the past 50 years, nearly twice the global average. Temperatures are projected to rise 7 to 13 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 7 degrees Celsius) over the next hundred years. The rising temperatures are likely to cause the melting of at least half the Arctic sea ice by the end of the century….The melting of so much ice, and the resulting addition of so much fresh water to the ocean, could impact the circulation of currents and affect regional climate."
"The impacts of global warming are affecting people now in the Arctic," said Robert Corell, chairperson of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, in a news release. "the Arctic is experiencing some of the most rapid and severe climate change on Earth. The impacts of climate change on the region and the globe are projected to increase substantially in the years to come."
In a separate statement released with the assessment, the Arctic indigenous peoples said they are asking the eight Arctic countries to use the assessment to show leadership in the field of global warming.
"Everything is under threat," said Chief Gary Harrison of the Arctic Athabaskan Council. "Our homes are threatened by storms and melting permafrost, our livelihoods are threatened by changes to the plants and animals we harvest. Even our lives are threatened, as traditional travel routes become dangerous."
"The Arctic is the early warning for the rest of the world," said Sheila Watt-Cloutier of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference. ‘What happens to the planet happens first in the Arctic. Protect the Arctic and we save the planet…We must all take what action we can to slow the pace of climate change, while there is still time.'"
These viewpoints demonstrate the fears of mankind in our present day. Fears that were predicted by our Lord in His Great Prophecy to arise at the time of transition of our present society to the His blessed Millennial Age in God's program to bless all mankind.
Luke 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
Luke 21:26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
Men ask "will the earth be destroyed?" The scriptures answer: Ecclesiastes 1:4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
Charles Russell was asked about his understanding of what this scripture meant to mankind and how it compared with the expressions in Psa 102:25 Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands.
Psalms 102:26 They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:" and Heb 1:10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:
Hebrews 1:11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; Heb 1:12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail."
He replied: "In both cases the use of the word earth, indicates that the physical earth is meant. We harmonize them by understanding that the latter Scripture refers to the changes taking place as respects earthly conditions. This is signified by the illustration given, as a vesture (robe, coat). "Thou shalt fold them up, and they shall be changed;" as one would re-make or re-arrange the drapery of a gown, so the Lord will change, re-arrange, etc., the general matters pertaining to the earth. One such change took place at the flood, so far as we know, and we anticipate that some other change will take place in the near future, making the earth more fit than at present for the Millennial Age conditions. Additionally, we are to remember that the physical earth is used as the basis of a symbol, and that the symbolical earth refers not to the land, but to the people, the order of society, etc. In this view also, we expect a great transformation, the turning upside down, or changing all round, by which the present social order will be transformed into a social order more acceptable to God during the Millennial age. The time of this change is near at hand, and when the present symbolical earth - society - shall melt like wax from the fervent heat of strife and anarchy, the symbolical heavens, or ecclesiastical powers, will also take fire, and pass away with a great noise, commotion, disturbance - both to be superseded by the new heavens and new earth condition (symbolical), the Church, in glory, honor and power, and mankind under new social conditions."
"THESE words are a quotation by the Apostle from Psalm 102:25,26. They are used to attest the fact that God had foreordained that our Lord Jesus should be very great - should be superior to all change. We quite agree with the Apostle's argument in our text and its context. However, a question arises in the minds of some as to how this declaration agrees with some Scriptural statements to the effect that the earth abideth forever, etc.
In Vol. 1 of SCRIPTURE-STUDIES, the words "heaven" and "earth" are used in a figurative and symbolical sense in the Scriptures, as well as literally. We have shown that as symbols they represent the present order of things, which is to pass away and give place to a new order of things. We have shown that this is the sense of the Apostle Peter's argument when he speaks of the world that now is and the present heavens and earth, which are to pass away with a great noise (2 Pet. 3:10), and to be supplanted by the new heavens and new earth.
As already shown, we understand that our physical earth has been the basis for "the world that was," "the present evil world," and "the world to come," and that the word "world," even in this instance, signifies the order of things that was, the order of things that is, and the order of things to come. The figure is carried out in detail by speaking of it as a heaven and earth, because the word "earth" is used to represent the earthly systems, social and political, while the word "heaven" is used to represent the higher, the ecclesiastical, the spiritual things connected therewith. Thus, the heaven and earth which were before the flood perished, disappeared; not the literal heaven nor the literal earth, but the symbolical or figurative. That social order, or earth, that prevailed before the flood passed away, and at the same time there passed also the spiritual or superior rule of the angels which was connected with that epoch which preceded the flood. After the flood, a new order of things was instituted; society was reorganized under new conditions, but on the same physical earth, and a new spiritual government or rule or order obtained also.
It is this symbolic heaven and earth that was organized after the flood which is to pass away with a great noise at the second coming of our Lord - not the physical earth nor the physical heaven. Similarly we understand the Apostle, "We look for a new heaven and a new earth," to refer not to some other planet, but to this same one, and to imply a new social order of things and a new ecclesiastical order or rule.
In view of these things, we feel justified in interpreting the words of our text in harmony with the other Scriptures referring to the changes of dispensation that are foretold to be coming to the world.
Hence, while agreeing with the Apostle's argument that our Lord Jesus was the Father's active agent in the creation of the physical earth and physical heaven, we understand the real thought to be that with him there will be no change, but with his creation, there will be change - not as respects the matter and form of the earth, but in respect to its highest interest, its social and religious order. To elaborate the statement further: The order which our Lord originally established in the world was right and proper - the Divine order.
As for the earth, Adam was its king, created in the image and likeness of his Creator and given dominion over the beast of the field, the fowl of the heaven and the fish of the sea. As for the spiritual heavens, they recognized the supremacy of the Almighty and that his will must be law to mankind. This beautiful arrangement originally established by our Lord was changed twice by sin, until today we have what is known as "This Present Evil World," in which neither the heavens nor the earthly ideals, regulations and arrangements, are in harmony with the original, but on the contrary, are quite unfit and ready for dissolution. They are about to be folded up and to be changed. They need a change, not because of any imperfection in the original arrangement, but because it was departed from through sin, disobedience and the penalty death.
The new heaven and earth which the Lord will establish by his Millennial reign will be the original restored. The law of love will then prevail amongst perfect men, and a direct responsibility will be realized to God, the giver of every good and perfect gift, and to the Lord Jesus, who not only was the Father's prime minister and agent in creation, but who during the next age will be the Father's prime minister and agent in bringing all things back to their primeval condition with added splendors.
Seeing that God hath appointed this "day of vengeance" in which to permit human effort to work itself out and prove its own inefficiency, and to demonstrate to them the necessity and wisdom of his laws and plans, what wonder if God has reserved many of the great changes of nature, with their attendant sorrows, for that same day of trouble, in which the increasing light of truth, instead of leading men to repentance and a recognition of the Lord, are because of hardness of heart leading to vain philosophies and self-conceit, which only a full course of discipline and an utter failure of those philosophies will make tractable preparing the way for God's government.
We may be sure that great changes must take place in the climates and soils of the earth, before it will be "prepared," as was the garden of Eden to be a fit home for perfect man. Cyclones, earthquakes, thunderbolts, and alternations of drought and deluge, and of blizzards of cold and hot and destructive sandstorms, are indications of the imperfection of earth; for the causes are doubtless natural, and very rarely indeed can we see them to be special dispensations of Providence. That God has the entire scope of his plan in all its details measured exactly, we cannot doubt, after learning the plan of the ages; hence we may know that earth must reach its perfection as the garden home of man by the close of the age of perfection - when man's trial being ended, it will be due time for all the willing and obedient to enjoy God's favor to the utmost, when "there shall be no more curse" either upon man or upon the earth for his sake. And if this be true, how appropriate that great physical, as well as moral changes, should occur in this harvest or transition period, "the day of preparation," that evil (catastrophe) may be ended, and that by streams breaking forth in the desert (Isa..35:1,2,6). The physical convulsions are as needful and as proper as the moral and social upheavals."
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