May 5, 1992
Fort Saskatchewan’s air sometimes falls short of mountain fresh, but as nauseating as some of those chemical fumes are, many people who live in large cities would rather have our “air” than theirs.
For instance, a recent environmental report says canaries live only three minutes in downtown Mexico City. In the few weeks since that report, respiratory illness has gone up 70 percent. During the first week of April, fuel-burning industry was ordered to cut production by 50 percent and students have been forbidden to exercise outdoors.
Most of us are well aware of the narrow boundaries of an ecological balance. We know how important it is to preserve those boundaries because our lives depend on very basic items threatened by their removal. We need air to breathe, food and water to survive. Although industrial progress has its benefits, personal and industrial irresponsibility and taking these precious God-given resources for granted has had destructive results.
The environmentalists are not the only ones that admonish us to take care of our world. Scripture is replete with principles regarding responsible behavior. When people follow these principles (whether they know Scripture or not), many people enjoy the benefits. When people disobey God, knowingly or unknowingly, we find ourselves suffering in many areas, such as air so thick children cannot play outside and birds cannot sing.
Job 12:10 says, “the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind” is in God’s hands. Acts 17:28 echoes with, “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being...”
Surely God is the Giver and Sustainer of life. He created an environment highly suitable for us to live in, one with just the right balance of oxygen and other gases in the atmosphere and an ample supply of food and fresh water. But we have senselessly polluted the air and water.
Not only that, we have allowed greed and selfishness to govern the production and distribution of food. Just this week, one nation decided to withhold resources from a part of its peoples. Some claim political reasons or religious persecution, but certainly this was not done out of the kindness of someone’s heart nor a concern to be good managers of all that God provided.
The Apostle Paul reminded the Romans how some people refuse to acknowledge God and never thank Him. He said these become futile in their thinking yet assume they are wise, then go from there to more obvious sins until God turns His back on them. He says they will not escape the judgment of God and asks, “Do you not realize how good God has been to you?”
He might ask this generation the same question. The goodness of God is still evident in the forests that remain, in the rare fresh breezes and occasional still sparkling mountain streams. But does that goodness have any effect in drawing us toward God? Does it cause thankfulness and responsible living? Does it make us think twice about the way we manage what He gave us?
Paul adds, “...don’t you know that the goodness of God ought to lead you to repentance?” Apparently these people didn’t, because he adds, “Because of your hard, unrepentant hearts, you are storing up for yourself wrath in the day of... the righteous judgment of God...”
Many of the passages in the book of Revelation describe the judgment of God. Lest we think He simply hurls bolts of lightning on unrepentant sinners, some of those passages seem to describe a polluted world that can no longer support life, a judgment expressed through creation — it turns on those who have ruined it — and destroys them.