Ask Chuck: What Does the Bible Say About the Green New Deal?

Dear Chuck,

Doesn’t the Bible say we should protect the environment? Are we going to have to give in to centralized government controls to preserve our natural resources? This “Green New Deal” has me nervous.

Ms. Green

 

Dear Ms. Green,

There is a lot in your question so let’s take the issues in order.

Yes, the Bible says we are to be stewards of our natural resources. It also addresses climate and economics and what is good and what is evil. We should always try and evaluate public policy through God’s Word to avoid being misled by proposals that are contrary to it.

Genesis 2:15 says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Adam was given a stewardship responsibility in the garden before the Fall of Creation. Man was placed here to work and manage the beautiful world God created.

But it doesn’t stop there. Throughout God’s Word we learn that we are to faithfully manage more than just natural resources but our time, talents, finances, our children, and the gospel as well. Stewardship is the Lord’s way of restoring all that is broken in the world. More on this below.

Second question, “do we have to become socialists to preserve our natural resources’? Answer: No. In fact, it is faulty logic to believe that the public sector will be better stewards of anything than those in the private sector. However, I do agree with you that what is being touted as the solution to potential environmental catastrophe, the Green New Deal (GND), is cause for concern and a great leap forward towards a dangerous form of government if the legislation is enacted as law.   

Supporting the Green New Deal Without Facts or Discernment

In December, 2018 a Yale survey reported that 81% of American voters support the Green New Deal yet 82% knew nothing about it. An explainer with the polled question described the promised environmental benefits without including the social impact.

Now that the impact has been more clearly defined, we know a few things.

The GND is predicated on the alarming assumption that we are on a collision course for a massive environmental and societal disaster in the near term – ten years – by 2029.

“Our nation – and our world – face a “perfect storm” of economic and environmental crises that threaten not only the global economy, but life on Earth as we know it.”  Jill Stein, Presidential Candidate in 2016 explaining the need for the GND.

Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., have toned the rhetoric down a notch calling climate change “a direct threat to the national security of the United States”. Their proposed resolution calls for the United States to “achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers.” Other elements include phasing out air travel and “aid for those unwilling to work.” Elements of  the proposal have already drawn support from some congressional Democrats, including several seeking their party’s presidential nomination.

Our Greatest Threat?

This is an issue, if as popular as reported by the Yale survey, that will require great discernment. Setting aside politics and proposed solutions, we must ask if there is sufficient evidence that climate change is the greatest “direct threat to the national security of the United States” that warrants immediate and sweeping public sector intervention and control. One possible Presidential candidate in 2020, Howard Schultz, disagrees. “I think the greatest threat domestically to the country is this $21 trillion debt hanging over the cloud of America and future generations.”

If Schultz is correct, the proposed solutions in the GND would make our fiscal crisis worse by accelerating the already massive debt levels of the federal government and the burdens of individual and corporate taxpayers. The economic impact would be dangerous.

Christian Response

The Bible specifically warns about debt in Proverbs 22:7, “….the borrower is a slave to the lender.” Financial collapse seems a far more likely near-term threat to our way of life than climate change. Many young Americans are deeply concerned about our environment and rightly so; however, solutions must be grounded in sound economic principles. Out of control spending (caused by lack of good stewardship of our national wealth) is a threat that plagues our national security and there is no indication that either political party is willing to put on the spending brakes.  

The Bible contains specific verses about God’s control of the climate and the consequences for man’s disobedience. We can safely conclude three things:  

  • God is in control of the weather. (Genesis 8:22 ESV)
  • God can use the weather as a form of punishment for violation of His laws and covenant. (Isaiah 24:1-26:21 ESV)
  • One day, that glorious day of His coming, the Lord will allow the heat to rise to such temperatures that even the heavenly bodies will melt. (2 Peter 3:12 ESV)

 

I do not know how the Green New Deal can avert problems with weather extremes. But I know what is needed: true repentance for our sins before the holy God who controls the weather.

God’s Original Deal

Biblical stewardship means we must make decisions that will ultimately glorify God and positively impact the lives of others across the planet. Greed and exploitation are completely inexcusable. Love for God, gratitude for all He has given, and concern for people made in His image should drive our efforts.

This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. It is required of stewards that they be found faithful. (1 Corinthians 4:1-2 ESV)

Dr. John C. Bergstrom, in his paper, Principles of a Christian Environmental Ethic, states:

The Christian steward also respects and values nature because he or she knows that both people and nature will share in redemption and renewal in the new eternal heaven and earth.

Because of sin, we, and nature alike, look forward to God’s future work, as Paul wrote the Romans:

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:22-23 ESV)