If To Die is Gain, Is Climate Change Loss?

Here‘s an old-fashioned Christian way of viewing death:

For the faithful—and Mother Mary Angelica was surely that—the day we die is the greatest day of our life on this earth. And even if some final purifications await us, the beatific vision for which we long lies just ahead; the exile in this valley of tears is ended.

Is calling the day we die the greatest day of our life too strong a statement? I have seen some fellow Christians wince when I say this. But in this age of emphasis on worldly comforts, medicine, and the secular, this age in which we rarely speak of Heaven (or Hell), I wonder if we have lost some of our longing for Heaven and cling too strongly to the trinkets of this life.

So do those Christians who advocate care for the creation take proper note of the impermanence of this world compared to the “solid joys and lasting treasures” that await believers in glory (and we know which ones go straight there)?

Or do Christian environmentalists wind up turning creation care into a gospel endeavor to make up for what the Bible teaches about the death of saints?

The former National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) official stated that some on the Left believe it is “our job, our calling” to restore the goodness to creation and that “ours is the work of being good people”.

Recalling a visit with an environmentalist from Maine who claimed the trees sent him, Cizik replied, “For me, it is the salvific work of Christ” that drove special concern for the environment.

Cizik compared climate change skeptics to the biblical persecutor Saul, who in the book of Acts sees Jesus and is blinded.

“Human beings are in rebellion against God and suppress the truth – faith comes by the supernatural work of God’s spirit in regenerating a person – given that they are our friends then (many of whom do follow Jesus) and yet do not see any responsibility to address the care of creation or the coming catastrophe called climate disruption – what gives?” Cizik asked. “What is this blindness?”

I wonder if Mr. Cizik should be more careful throwing around “blindness.”

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31 thoughts on “If To Die is Gain, Is Climate Change Loss?

  1. This guy may be a (deluded but) true believer. I worry more about those who embrace the zeitgeist for marketing purposes.

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  2. Darryl,

    I’m glad you esteem Francis as a fellow Christian.

    “advocate care for the creation take proper note of the impermanence of this world”

    These aren’t mutually exclusive. Our bodies degenerate and die, we’re still called to be proper stewards of them, just as we are with the earth.

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  3. National Association of Evangelicals…. Pope Francis… both live up to expectations to conflate religion and politics.

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  4. Bergoglio may have taken his name as a mitre tip to St Francis of Assisi, but Rome’s patron saint is more like St Francis of Isuzu — it is a choking, traffic-snarled melee of internal combustion misery and maniac drivers. Transformation incomplete.

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  5. Martydom is “gain” for Christ or for the person martyred? Or for both?

    I Thessalonians 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

    We will not precede them. They will rise first. This is NOT about some dead Christians “getting into heaven” before others do. “Do not pass go. Get a new body in heaven now, as soon as you die, and before they even bury your old body”. No, that is the gain or the hope. The theology of glory refuses to call death the enemy because it has an alternative gnostic hope for triumphal worship before and without
    1 Christ’s second coming
    2 the resurrection
    3 the judgement
    4 the old body raised and given immortality

    I Thessalonians 4: We will not precede them because they will be raised first. Not because they go to heaven first, but because they will be raised first.

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  6. DG: wonder if we have lost some of our longing for Heaven and cling too strongly to the trinkets of this life.

    Amen – more assurance that Cletus is not looking for :
    Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to …..all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Tim 4:8 ..
    …not that we start longing –first it’s what?; then, whatever; then, the nagging nope, not longing; …finally the sincere, longing

    DG:Cizik compared climate change skeptics to the biblical persecutor Saul, who in the book of Acts sees Jesus and is blinded.

    Amen, completely different story. Paul blinded by God, Who alone dwells in unapproachable light.(1 Tim 6:16)
    [and sorry to those who don’t want too many remembering moments, too many days of the week (DG, at least that is)] -because of Jesus, our great high priest, we can now draw near, with confidence, to that approachable throne of grace

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  7. Ali,

    Monsignor Charles Pope’s statement you amen’ed is Catholic, as is he (just listened to him on the radio this morning). A rejection of Reformed formulated assurance is not a rejection of all types of assurance, hope, confidence, etc.

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  8. Calvin—the conclusion usually drawn is, that believing souls were shut up in an intermediate state or prison, because Christ says that, by his ascension into heaven, the place will be prepared. But the answer is easy. This place is said to be prepared for the day of the resurrection; for by nature mankind are banished from the kingdom of God…. we will not enjoy this great blessing, until he come from heaven the second time. The condition of the fathers after death, therefore, is not here distinguished from ours; because Christ has prepared both for them and for us a place, into which he will receive us all at the last day.

    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom35.iv.i.html

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  9. Police Chief Bill in Fargo the series on death: “You hear on the news that 300 people died in a plane crash in India, and you wonder, do I even know 300 people?”

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  10. Cletus van Damme says: Ali, Monsignor Charles Pope’s statement you amen’ed is Catholic, as is he (just listened to him on the radio this morning). A rejection of Reformed formulated assurance is not a rejection of all types of assurance, hope, confidence, etc.

    Thanks for the clarification, Cletus, and so I clicked the link and read the whole post from Monsignor Charles Pope. Some good things there. Not sure what you mean by your last statement above. You have said you were not sure of your salvation but ‘confident and hopeful.’ What are you sure of then?

    Also, having read the whole post, I have to make these comments to his statements quoted below:1) comparing Jesus thoughts of His agony to believer’s thoughts of their own death seems ridiculous; 2) believers are not ‘future saints’. Please read the Bible. Believers are all saints now. As well, for saints, there is no final ‘purgation’ unless you are talking about our complete deliverance from the presence of sin.

    “Even Jesus, in His human nature, recoiled at the thought of the agony before Him, so much so that He sweat blood and asked, if possible, that the cup of suffering be taken from him.

    “That day of judgment, awesome though it is, will for the future saint disclose only that which needs final healing in purgation, not that which merits damnation.”

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  11. Ali,

    “You have said you were not sure of your salvation but ‘confident and hopeful.’ ”

    I’m not sure of my final salvation, but confident and hopeful. You keep conflating final salvation with current salvation and then wailing about doubt – just because you disagree salvation can be lost doesn’t give you license to ignore distinctions other positions hold. One can have a moral certainty and assurance they are currently saved. One cannot presume they will remain in that state at death, though they can be confident and hopeful they will.

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  12. One can have a moral certainty and assurance they are currently saved. One cannot presume they will remain in that state at death, though they can be confident and hopeful they will.

    The mental gymnastics required to grasp how current confidence and hope spring from eternal non-assurance aside, how does this not undermine the character of God and his power to preserve? Sure sounds like God can’t finish what he started, which has a lot of parallels to the theology of the altar call and re-dedication among the evangies. The only difference seeming to be that where evangies move that non-assurance into this life, you all push it to the point of death. Either way, God cannot be trusted as the Savior of sinners.

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  13. Cletus: You keep conflating final salvation with current salvation and then wailing about doubt –

    Thank you for the reply Cletus. I have learned a lot about the thinking of Catholics here that I never knew.

    No don’t think I’m conflating, I just believe God. Salvation is of the Lord and He justifies, sanctifies,and glorifies; i.e those whom He justifies He also glorifies

    Romans 8:29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

    Cletus:just because you disagree salvation can be lost doesn’t give you license to ignore distinctions other positions hold. One can have a moral certainty and assurance they are currently saved. One cannot presume they will remain in that state at death, though they can be confident and hopeful they will.

    See comment to sdb, other post. Doesn’t God want more for His children than what you describe above? You have children Cletus?

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  14. “how does this not undermine the character of God and his power to preserve?”

    Garrigou-Lagrange:”St. Thomas thus sums up the matter: “One who gives by grace (not by justice) can at his good pleasure give more or less, and to whom he pleases, if only he denies to no one what justice demands. Thus, the householder says: ‘Take what is thine and go. Or is it not lawful for me to do as I will? ‘ ” .
    This doctrine is expressed by the common language of daily life. When of two great sinners one is converted, Christians say: God showed him special mercy. This solution of daily life accords with that of St. Augustine and St. Thomas when they contemplate the mysterious harmony of infinite mercy and infinite justice. When God with sovereign freedom grants to one the grace of final perseverance, it is a gift of mercy. When He does not grant it to another, it is a deed of justice, due to last resistance to a last appeal….
    Does man need a special grace of perseverance until death? The Semi-Pelagians said No. They were opposed by St. Augustine in a special work, and were condemned by the Second Council of Orange. The Church teaches this special grace when she prays: Thy kingdom come. This grace of final perseverance is the union of the state of grace with the moment of death, whether that state has endured for years or has been attained only a moment before death. This union of grace and death is manifestly a special effect of providence, and even of predestination, since it is given only to the predestinate…
    But God has never promised final perseverance or preservation from the sin of final impenitence to one who should keep His commandments for any length of time… What it all comes to is this, that God’s mercy, not His justice, has placed us in the state of grace and continues to maintain us therein…. Now no acts of charity we perform give us the right to be preserved from mortal sin; it is mercy that preserves us from it. Here is one of the main foundations of humility… We are thus brought back to that saying of St. Augustine and of St. Thomas after him: where the gift of final perseverance is granted, it is through mercy; if it is not granted, it is in just chastisement for sin, and usually for repeated sin, which has alienated the soul from God.”

    Trent: “the gift of perseverance can come only from Him who has the power to confirm the standing and to raise the fallen”
    “For God, unless men themselves fail in His grace, as he has begun a good work, so will he perfect it, working to will and to accomplish.”
    “If anyone says that he has absolute and infallible certitude that he will certainly have the great gift of final perseverance, without having learned this from a special revelation: let him be anathema.”

    Newman: “[The gift of perseverance consists of] an ever watchful superintendence of us on the part of our All-Merciful Lord, removing temptations which He sees will be fatal to us, comforting us at those times when we are in particular peril, whether from our negligence or other cause, and ordering the course of our life so that we may die at a time when He sees that we are in the state of grace.”

    Augustine: “I Have now to consider the subject of perseverance with greater care; for in the former book also I said some things on this subject when I was discussing the beginning of faith. I assert, therefore, that the perseverance by which we persevere in Christ even to the end is the gift of God; and I call that the end by which is finished that life wherein alone there is peril of falling. Therefore it is uncertain whether any one has received this gift so long as he is still alive. For if he fall before he dies, he is, of course, said not to have persevered; and most truly is it said. How, then, should he be said to have received or to have had perseverance who has not persevered? … And the believer of one year, or of a period as much shorter as may be conceived of, if he has lived faithfully until he died, has rather had this perseverance than the believer of many years’ standing, if a little time before his death he has fallen away from the stedfastness of his faith.”

    Aquinas: “And in order to have this perseverance man does not, indeed, need another habitual grace, but he needs the Divine assistance guiding and guarding him against the attacks of the passions, as appears from the preceding article. And hence after anyone has been justified by grace, he still needs to beseech God for the aforesaid gift of perseverance, that he may be kept from evil till the end of his life. For to many grace is given to whom perseverance in grace is not given.”

    CCC: Since it belongs to the supernatural order, grace escapes our experience and cannot be known except by faith. We cannot therefore rely on our feelings or our works to conclude that we are justified and saved. However, according to the Lord’s words “Thus you will know them by their fruits” – reflection on God’s blessings in our life and in the lives of the saints offers us a guarantee that grace is at work in us and spurs us on to an ever greater faith and an attitude of trustful poverty.
    A pleasing illustration of this attitude is found in the reply of St. Joan of Arc to a question posed as a trap by her ecclesiastical judges: “Asked if she knew that she was in God’s grace, she replied: ‘If I am not, may it please God to put me in it; if I am, may it please God to keep me there.'”

    Nothing undermined in God’s character or his power to preserve.

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  15. “If anyone says that he has absolute and infallible certitude that he will certainly have the great gift of final perseverance, without having learned this from a special revelation: let him be anathema.”

    Sheesh Cletus. Prooftexts please. I guess this is one of the assurances you actually can have that you were talking about – ie assurance of ‘anathema’-ed ones

    Dear brethren (believers) Cletus, we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end ; let us encourage one another day after day so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin….the ultimate deadly one: unbelief.

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  16. Ali,

    “if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end ”

    Yup.

    “let us encourage one another day after day so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin”

    Ditto.

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  17. According to Acquinas, God has predestined things so you can never be sure. the prevenient grace of God can never get you dead with Christ today, because tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow will come, and who knows what you will do with the grace given you in water?

    https://theophilogue.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/justification-in-aquinas_1xxx_.pdf

    Romans 6: 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body be abolished, in order that we are longer be enslaved to sin, 7 since a person who has died is justified from sin.[ 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him,….verse 13 as those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness. 14 For sin will not rule over you, BECAUSE you are not under law but under grace.

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  18. D.G.
    I am a member of the Left, should I be afraid of myself?

    If there is any sin the Left has, it is shared by all other groups. It is tribalism. It makes our ideology null and void and only continues the King-Of-The-Hill game that others started. It isn’t until we switch to a game that is based on cooperation, compassion, and sharing that we will have found a possibly by which to survive.

    BTW, have been read communiques that were written by a number of sources during the Nazi reign of Germany. Though the Nazis eventually wanted to co-opt the churches so that what was preached in those churches would emanate from Nazi ideology, their initial agreements with those churches offered an agreement where the Nazi regime would leave the churches alone if those churches would follow a 2KT regarding their involvement in politics. Of course, the actual term 2KT was not used, but the concept was.

    So that goes back to my question regarding Germany during those times. A question you never fully answered. Did Nazi Germany sin and do what was immoral when it invaded its neighbors.

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  19. https://www.iraqbodycount.org/

    Venema—Norman Shepherd treats Christ as though he were little more than a model believer whose obedient faith constituted the ground for his acceptance with God in the same way that Abraham’s obedient faith constituted the basis for his acceptance with God. In his zeal to identify the covenant relationship between God and man in its pre- and post-fall administrations, Shepherd leaves little room to describe Christ’s work as Mediator of the covenant in a way that honors the uniqueness, perfection and sufficiency of Christ’s accomplishment for the salvation of his people.

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  20. D.G.,
    Actually, the soviets didn’t kill anyone after the Oct Revolution of 1917 because Lenin disbanded them in favor of centralized control. This is one of the reasons why some of his contemporaries classified Lenin’s rule as a bourgeoisie dictatorship. The moral of the story is that not all on the Left associate with Lenin.

    BTW, is it only muder when you have killed the most?

    But more importantly, back to the question: Did Germany sin and do what was immoral when it invaded its neighbors? A historical reminder here, saying nothing and not answer the question is how Nazi Germany initially wanted the churches to behave when they disagreed with the State. The attempts to co-opt churches so that they would support the state came afterwards.

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  21. Cletus van Damme says: Yup.and Ditto.

    and… so..if you are ditto-ing, where’s my encouragement, Cletus?

    His word profits us, being united by faith in us – we believe, not disobeying, but entering rest from our own works, drawing near with confidence to Jesus – He knows our every weakness and temptation –( knowing, meaning truly so, by experience); and His mercy and grace to us is fully sufficient in time of need (which is every moment).
    What great a love the Father has bestowed on us to be called children of God; let us make sure that no one deceives us –it is obvious to us now…
    -the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous –that is, no one does that on their own, for we know nothing good dwells in us, that is, our flesh
    -and no one does not do that, who are His own – for He has made an everlasting covenant with His own, not to turn away from us, but to do us good and puts the fear of Him in our hearts so that we will not turn away from Him.

    Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and yes,too, Cletus, let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,

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  22. Curt, “the soviets didn’t kill anyone after the Oct Revolution of 1917 because Lenin disbanded them in favor of centralized control.”

    We’re finished here.

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  23. Though the Nazis eventually wanted to co-opt the churches so that what was preached in those churches would emanate from Nazi ideology, their initial agreements with those churches offered an agreement where the Nazi regime would leave the churches alone if those churches would follow a 2KT regarding their involvement in politics.

    Curt, the eventual point is what’s interesting (if accurate). This is the typical anti-2k criticism, that 2k makes the church complicit in certain perceived and actual political evils by not meddling, i.e. “silence is complicity, when good men do nothing.” But 2k would actually take a crack on the skull from tyrannical regimes like the Third Reich because those regimes do not tolerate dissent and in the end actually expect active promotion. But since 2k promotes silence on the goings on of the state, it means not only accusations for not criticizing certain states, it also means cracked skulls for not promoting others.

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