My article is about the correct priorities I believe a Christian should have staring into the face of any global calamity. My caveat - this article is not going to argue specific elements of global warming, if you question whether it is man induced or occurring as a result of some other aspect there are doubtless other articles one could read.
Let's start with the more obvious answer and set 'Saving the World' at priority one. This seems good, we can help everyone at the same time and there is plenty of biblical backing suggesting that this as a good priority to have. Jesus' miracles all involved helping others, providing for their needs. His parables also point to this, particularly the Good Samaritan, that we should generously care, even for our enemies.
In addition to this, according to Genesis we are 'stewards' of this world, it is our responsibility to look after it. However, while it is a good priority, is it really the highest?
I propose that this may actually be priority number three. To get the other two we can take this phrase: "...to glorify God and enjoy him forever..." the meaning of life according to the Westminster Catechism. We can take the conjunction and state them in order of importance:
2. Enjoy Him Forever
The first is the purpose of all things "... All things were created through him [Jesus] and for him." (Colossians 1:16b, see also context Col. 1:15-20) and certainly extends to us (Ephesians 1:1-14). God's justice also shows how important this is as he promises to punish those who do not glorify him (Romans 1:18-27).
The first five commandments also relate to this "...love the LORD your God with all your heart and soul and mind" (Deuteronomy 6:5 Mathew 22:37).
The second priority (like all other priorities) is related to the first. Enjoying God forever seems to be the role of humanity and fulfilling this is glorifying to God.
You could take this as a priority to get to heaven, passing through judgement in Christ. The restored relationship with God is the source of eternal life so we can see that this priority has eternal consequences. 'Saving the world' has a lower reward and is mostly a time bound benefit.
Still, enjoying the world is also part of enjoying God. Creation is his and it reflects his glory and character. He has placed us within his creation. In addition to this, if we are thankful in enjoying the world we are also glorifying God.
None of these points are mutually exclusive. Priority one can be served by priorities two and three. Each one can be undertaken simultaneously without problem, but there is a correct order as they all feed upwards to glorify God.
In the context of global warming, this means that we should be carefully acting in the world, trying to save what God has given us. We should devote time and energy to this task, but always with the greater goals in mind.
Alex Gillespie is an undergraduate student from Wollongong now based in Sydney.
Alex Gillespie's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/alex-gillespie.html