The prophets, the kingdom of God, and global warming
Dr George Emeleus grew up in Belfast, studied physics at Oxford, and then followed a career in academic physics in Tanzania, PNG, and western Sydney. During the last decade he has completed an MDiv through the United Theological College in North Parramatta, NSW, where he is currently preparing a theology PhD thesis on ‘Divine and human creativity and the blessing and curse of fossil carbon’.
Biblical narratives of God speaking to people in promise, in judgment and in mercy offer timeless principles which may be used to hear God speaking today. The aim of this paper is to illustrate this principle in the contemporary context of global warming and use of fossil carbon. Christian theology is thus used to interpret a contemporary situation caused by, discerned through, and with some potential to be resolved by science and technology. God’s gift of the Promised Land to Israel, and the history of decline, destruction and exile may be interpreted using the Biblical themes of covenant, gift and promise, blessing and curse, exile and hope. These themes are applied to contemporary dependence on fossil carbon and the threat of global warming. Climate science gives voice to creation, and hence to the Creator, informing prophecy today. Reactions to the science of global warming resonate with how ancient Israel responded to prophets at times of existential threat. The paper continues by contrasting Christian hope with hope for the future based on science, technology and geopolitical change, and concludes by putting science in its place under the shalom of God.
Fossil carbon, blessing, curse, gift, promise