Rule over the earth: COP26, climate change, lies and money

Rule over the earth: COP26, climate change, lies and money. Given that COP26 just ended, let’s not forget that either. Not that much, if anything has changed. Sadly, it’s little more than time to say that old adage, the more things change, the more they stay the same. In other words, the more the climate changes, the more entrenched the most powerful world leaders become. Therefore, the more rule over the earth comes to mean destroy the earth.

Rule over the earth: COP26, climate change, lies and money is article #1 in the series: U. N. Climate Change Conventions. Click button to view titles for entire series
Rule over the earth: climate change, lies and money

What is COP26 and what does COP stand for? COP stands for Conference of the Parties, and will be attended by countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – a treaty agreed in 1994. The 2021 meeting will be the 26th meeting, which is why it’s called COP26.  From: COP26: What is it and why is it happening in Glasgow in 2021?

This is an update to something I wrote back in April 2018. With the close of COP26, the lies are still there. The money is still of prime importance. Climate change continues to get worse.

After watching BBC coverage of the event, I also have to add something to that sad list. People. More specifically, people who live in poor, small countries. And maybe especially, in the short run, those who live along the ocean. Of course, there are rich people who live along the ocean as well. The U.S. is no different. And yet, something is different.

As I was writing this, it became obvious it was going to be too long. So this is now going to be a two-part series on COP26, climate change, lies and money. Obviously, even that isn’t enough to go over all the areas where Christians have pretty much abdicated our responsibility for taking care of God’s creation. A creation we were supposed to rule over / subdue. Not destroy, but rule over it in a way to care for it. There will be more written. This is just a start.

Rule over the earth: climate change, lies and money

Let’s start back in April 2018. See what prompted the original article. As we do that, remember, the U.S. had a different President. Donald Trump. Republican. The supposed party for the religious conservatives. Now we have Joe Biden. Democrat. Supposedly the party of the Godless, if not for Satanists (according to some).

With that as a backdrop, here we go.

April 2018

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?

The party of the conservatives wants to spend money on a problem they claim doesn’t exist. (We’ll find out in a moment exactly what that problem is).  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:

The Beginning

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.

Seriously! This would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic. And getting more pathetic, even disgusting, every year.

The first question should be, given that the Republicans are (were at the time of the original writing) 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 1 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.

The Fall of Man


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.  Yes, 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.  That’s a lie of omission. 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.

Cain and 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.

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 was 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, … Continue reading

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?

What if it is a lie? What’s the big deal?

Here’s a huge part of the deal. Christians aren’t supposed to lie! Remember the Ten Commandments? Check out the ninth one below – verse 16.

The Ten Commandments – Exodus

20:1-17 pp — Dt 5:6-21

Ex 20:1 And God spoke all these words:

Ex 20:2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

Ex 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.

Ex 20:4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Ex 20:7 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

Ex 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Ex 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

Ex 20:13 “You shall not murder.

Ex 20:14 “You shall not commit adultery.

Ex 20:15 “You shall not steal.

Ex 20:16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

Ex 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Ex 20:18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”

Ex 20:20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”

Ex 20:21 The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.

Let’s make it simple. Don’t lie! And while we’re trying not to lie, let’s also remember the Biblical definition of lying that we just read up above.

So what does that mean to us today? 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. (The original version of this article only had the verses below. As we get to the COP26 updates, I am going to put in the remainder because the situation is so much worse now.)

Warnings Against Folly

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.

Rather than go into the details of applying those verses to the single event we’re discussing at the moment, let’s hold onto that until we reach the COP26 discussion that’s coming.

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.”

Rule over the earth: COP26, climate change, lies and money.

We’ve reached the point where we need the image that went with the original article, do here it is.

Yes – the fish.  Look at the image of the burning oil rig.  That’s not taking care of the fish.

And the birds.  Look at all the smoke in that picture!  That’s not 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. (In fact, it’s the impact on the people that was made so incredibly clearly on the BBC coverage that led to this update being written.)

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

Oops! Somehow, this is something we just don’t seem to understand/remember. I can’t figure out why.

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, they’re 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 government’s 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 well claim to be Christian.  But how are they doing as God’s representatives – and ours – in taking care of God’s creation?

To be continued – Rule over the earth: COP26, climate change, lies and money

There was more in the original article. However, with the addition of some info from COP26, I need to break it here. For one thing, I don’t want it to be so long as to lose interest. For another, it introduces a whole new focus on the impact of what we’ve turned “rule over the earth” into.

So, part one ends here. Part two continues at I’ll add the link when part two is published – hopefully in a day or two.


Image by Bela Geletneky from Pixabay


Footnotes

Footnotes
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.

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