Righting America

A forum for scholarly conversation about Christianity, culture, and politics in the US
Creationists Deny Global Warming (or, Deny that Global Warming Matters); The Bible Tells Them So | Righting America

by William Trollinger

Photo of a huge blazing inferno of fire in the background as people in cars rush to drive away with the lights in a house still on.
“station fire – residents evacuate briggs terrace” by Anthony Citrano is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

It sounds as if it comes straight from the Exxon public relations machine, except for the bizarre biblical twist.

According to the young Earth creationists at Answers in Genesis (AiG), anti-Christian leftists are fueling a global warming panic, calling for expensive and un-American regulations on energy companies that will ruin our economy while also harming the poor. All this while there is little evidence for global warming, and all this while significant global warming – if actually true –  would improve life on the planet.

These assertions are in keeping with the Koch brothers, and in keeping with the longstanding commitment of many or most evangelicals to unfettered capitalism.

But because the folks at AiG are young Earth creationists, they go beyond standard right-wing fare to claim that global warming denial is grounded in biblical truth. To be specific, they argue that to deny global warming is in keeping with reading the first eleven chapters of Genesis as literally true, and in keeping with the ongoing battle of true Christians v. mainstream biology and geology. As one AiG contributor put it,

Global warming is an arena where the battle between biblical truth and evolutionary truths is currently raging.

According to AiG, climate history is the story of dramatic, sometimes horrific, changes. The most dramatic example is the global Flood, which is described in Genesis 6-8, which took place 3400 years ago or so, and which may have killed 20 billion people. This particular massive climate change was – so the young Earth creationists claim – almost immediately followed by other deadly climate changes, in the form of the (one and only) Ice Age and then (when things warmed up) massive flooding.

In short, climate history is the history of catastrophes. In an article entitled “Global Warming — Normal in an Abnormal World,” Ken Ham argues that “the earth’s climate has gone through major periods of change, and a fifth change is coming [and] in every case, humans did not produce the change directly.” Echoing the language of dispensational premillennialism, in which history is divided into separate dispensations (each of which ends with God’s judgment), Ken Ham argues that we can divide climate history into the pre-Flood Earth, the Flood, the Ice Age, and the Warming Earth (our contemporary age). As regards the future, and borrowing explicitly from dispensational premillennialism:

A fifth period of major climate change is coming – the final and most dramatic change: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). After this time Christians will live in new heavens and a new earth that will remain perfect forever.

As another AiG contributor has observed,

These climate variations should not surprise us or cause undue alarm. We know that God is holding the earth together until the day of His final judgment, and nothing can destroy it until He dissolves it Himself.

No need to fret about global warming. Divine destruction is nigh. Time to chill.

And thanks to Joe Arrendale, my graduate assistant and a doctoral student at the University of Dayton, for his work of gathering and summarizing the AiG climate change articles.