The Republican climate-change deniers were busy this week pre-empting the expected declaration by Pope Francis that responding to global climate change is a moral necessity. The foundation of their argument was that the Pope is not a scientist, and he should leave scientific matters up to those that understand the issues.
But is that the authority upon which the Pope Francis will issue his declaration? I certainly hope not. I think that the Pope should boldly speak for God, because in my meditations on this matter, it is clear where God stands on the issue.
To establish the scriptural basis for this assertion, I re-iterate the Book of Revelation. God sits on his throne surrounded by the twenty-four principal angels (in whose image we are made). In one of the most beautiful passages of the Bible, John describes (NIV Rev.4:9-11)
Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives forever and ever. They lay down their crowns before the throne and say:
“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created,
and have their being.”
What this is telling us is that the virtues of the angels are expressed and tied to life on earth. When life flourishes, the joy of its expression flows up through the angels to God. This is not just the joy of humanity, but the joy of all forms of life. The power of that gratitude is enough to force the angels to surrender their sovereign independence in deference to unconditional love.
But it is not limited thus. If joy and thanks is transmitted, so too must pain. I have felt this pain, a great crying out from the heart of life as it succumbs everywhere to humanity’s merciless exploitation of the bounty of the earth. Reading this passage, can anyone doubt that God would not hear and heed that grieving?
Pope Francis does not need the authority of science to speak out on this issue. That’s too bad for those who have purchased “scientific” opinions. No, if Pope Francis speaks, he will speak with religious authority, the authority of a true representative of God on earth. He will speak for all of Life. He will speak the truth of God’s anguish for the hypocrisy of those that claim to speak in his name while carelessly murdering his creation.