As I write this post, the issue of global warming is dominating news headlines. Given that temperature rise relates to human activity around the earth, it is fair to conclude that whatever happens in the future will be because of humans. And, if we believe God has given humans stewardship of the earth and its resources, then we should not expect God to intervene or undo the problems we have created for ourselves.
Indeed, it’s quite possible God could undo this environmental damage but this might also require the Divine removing human freewill to ensure the same would not happen again – a set of conditions that humans might not be so keen to agree on. Now, although many Christians believe God is capable of doing anything He wants, it is clear that there are some things that stand outside of His control since ceding responsibility of humans for their management. Indeed,
‘Why would we expect God to intervene and save us from our poor choices if we contaminate the earth with nuclear waste?
Within this framework of thinking, it could well be that God is able to remedy our weather but only through the actions of people who are open to being divinely directed towards godly choices and wise decisions about the environment. For example, government leaders and advisers who determine the direction of economic, ecological and environmental policy may well benefit from prayers that inspire them to make decisions that reflect the inspiration and direction of God. And if you are following my thinking on this, you will understand that God’s solution might more often (as not) happen through the activity of people rather than the irresponsible requests for the Divine to intervene in some sort of dramatic way or supernatural moment which may now rest outside of the remit of God.
Now, while some believers will take issue with this notion that God’s priority in answering prayer rests on the responsiveness of humans to go and attend to the needs before them. However, this is to be found throughout the bible. In Exodus chapter 3, where God reveals that he has heard the cry of the Israelites and seen their misery, it is Moses who goes and brings deliverance. Likewise, when the disciples inform Jesus that the crowd following them has no food, he instructs them to give something for the people to eat (Matthew 14:16). Likewise, when the disciples inform Jesus that the crowd following them has no food, he instructs them to give something for the people to eat (Matthew 14:16). The miracles that follow in each of these situations only occur after Moses and the disciples have advanced into their respective situations to begin to meet the need themselves in a very real and practical way – quite a challenge for those believers who are only willing to pray for answers in a way that does not compromise their comfort nor lifestyle choices.