Rowan Williams on climate change

by Richard on March 26, 2009

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has sounded an important warning about the danger of being complacent about climate change.

In a lecture given at York Minster on Wednesday he reminded us that the providence of God does not mean that he will always intervene to protect us from the outcomes of our our selfishness and greed.

“I think that to suggest that God might intervene to protect us from the corporate folly of our practices is as unchristian and unbiblical as to suggest that he protects us from the results of our individual folly or sin,” he said.

“God’s faithfulness stands, assuring us that even in the most appalling disaster love will not let us go - but it will not be a safety net that guarantees a happy ending in this world.”

I was very pleased to see Dr Williams urging the world to remember the most important moral dimension of climate change, namely that the “poorest and most vulnerable and our children and grandchildren would pay the heaviest price for climate change”. (But I’ve said that before)

The present global economic slump is giving our politicians all the excuse they need to ignore the urgency of the threat posed by global warming. It is right that the church should take a prophetic stand.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }


Kim 03.26.09 at 8:07 pm

Of course some conservative Christians, appealing to Genesis 8:21, deny Williams’ point. And there are those dispensationalists who suggest that alarm about global warming is itself a welcome precursor of the Second Coming. And as if such theology weren’t loathsome enough, there is their additional point that not only will the poor always be with us, but also - hey! - their poverty is, after all, a righteous punishment. How can one respond to these folk except perhaps to refer them to texts like Jeremiah 18:14-17?


DmL 03.26.09 at 8:15 pm

Kim - or you could punch them.


Kim 03.26.09 at 8:25 pm

That’s actually my preferred option, DmL!


dh 03.27.09 at 2:55 pm

Kim, I know no one among Christian Conservatives who believe we should do nothing to help the environment. I also no no one who says it is a precursor to the Second Coming. Just because in the last days “heaven and earth will pass away”. Doesn’t mean that we are not called to do what we can to improve the environment. If one wants to look at “to what extent”, how much of the problem is just a natural cause not as much human intervention, with limited resources what helps more hurting people than otherwise, etc. We all face choices with the limited resources the world has. Some of these things are inevitable and others are not. We must do things which don’t cause more people to be poor than otherwise and at the same time address environmental problems in an efficient way possible. Many on the environmental left, if their policies were pursued fully, would cause the “Law of unintended consequences”. The environment, improving economy and helping the poor is like a vin diagram with constratints. We mustn’t solve a problem in such a way that we create further problems or other problems that are much worse than otherwise. Thereby cause more people to be poor. If one truly wants to help the poor one must look at this not in an overreactive way.

It is true that the poor will always be among us like Scripture says. That doesn’t mean we should do more from out hearts for the poor and at the same time doesn’t mean government should forcibly take more than they should for that goal either. If one truly wants to help the poor one needs to work hard on the “poor in Spirit”. If we give all we have to the poor and don’t share with them how they can obtain eternal life what have we really done to truly help them eternally?

“How can they hear in whom they haven’t heard and how can they hear without a preacher?”


dh 03.27.09 at 2:59 pm

Kim it seems like you are falling for the “pot calling the kettle black” for promoting violence aka “punch them” “preferred option”.

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