WASHINGTON – Prominent evangelicals and scientists announced a new partnership to take care of the Earth and curb global warming.
The two bodies prior to the joint effort had a history of strong differences over the origin of life.
However, both parties agreed to put aside their differences and work together on combating environmental problems.
“Whether God created the Earth in a millisecond or whether it evolved over billions of years, the issue we agree on is that it needs to be cared for today,” said Rich Cizik, vice president of government relations for the National Association of Evangelicals, in a statement.
Evangelical Christian leaders and leading scientists recently met in Georgia for the Melhana Retreat where both sides discussed how to care for the Earth.
“We scientists and evangelicals have discovered that we share a deeply felt common concern and sense of urgency about threats to life on Earth,” said Eric Chivian, director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School.
The issue of global warming and “creation care,” as some Christians call it, is not new to evangelicals.
In November, college students representing more than 1,500 young evangelicals visited the nation’s capitol to press the government and religious leaders to take stronger action against global warming. NAE’s Cizik was among the Christian leaders that spoke to the young evangelicals.
At the beginning of last year, a landmark statement called the Evangelical Climate Initiative was released where Christian signers pledged to fight global warming. The initiative is now signed by more than 100 influential evangelical leaders including author of the The Purpose Driven Life Rick Warren, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel’s Dr. Jack Hayford, and more recently Willow Creek Community Church’s Bill Hybels.
Yet not all evangelicals agree on the warming issue. Astronomer Hugh Ross, founder and president of the science-faith think tank Reasons to Believe, although admitting the earth is warming, said that it is not all due to human activities. Ross advised Christians to take a more comprehensive approach to the global warming issue rather than only attributing the temperature rise to fossil fuel burnings.
He gave as example that the warming can be natural due to alterations in the Earth’s orbit, the breeding and domestication of cows, and the cultivation of rice.
“The bottom line here is that there are dozens of physical, chemical, and biological processes that contribute to both heating and cooling the planet,” said Ross. “When any one of these factors gets out of balance with the others, Earth is at risk of losing its optimal climate for human civilization.”
A conference will be held in Washington on Wednesday to unveil the joint statement resulting from the recent retreat.