When we look at Greta Thunberg's UN Speech on Climate Change, does it reflect biblical principles? Let's take a look.
Climate activist Greta Thunberg, 16, addressed the U.N.'s Climate Action Summit in New York City on Monday. Here's the full transcript of Thunberg's speech, beginning with her response to a question about the message she has for world leaders.
"My message is that we'll be watching you.
Not only is Greta and the youth of the world watching us, but so is God.
The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.” Jeremiah 1:12
"This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!
"You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I'm one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!
If there is any group of people who should care more about others and less about money, it should be Christians.
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Tim 6:10
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Matt 6:24
"For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you're doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.
"You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe.
If we know what is right and fail to do it, it is sin.
If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. James 4:17
If we say we care and yet don’t act, we don’t actually care.
But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:17-18
"The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50% chance of staying below 1.5 degrees [Celsius], and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control.
"Fifty percent may be acceptable to you. But those numbers do not include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution or the aspects of equity and climate justice. They also rely on my generation sucking hundreds of billions of tons of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist.
"So a 50% risk is simply not acceptable to us — we who have to live with the consequences.
God is a God of fairness. We reap what we sow.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Gal 6:7
Our children and our children’s children will pay the consequences for our sin.
The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.” Ezekiel 18:21-23
"To have a 67% chance of staying below a 1.5 degrees global temperature rise – the best odds given by the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] – the world had 420 gigatons of CO2 left to emit back on Jan. 1st, 2018. Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatons.
"How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just 'business as usual' and some technical solutions? With today's emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone within less than 8 1/2 years.
"There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with these figures here today, because these numbers are too uncomfortable. And you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is.
When people argue against adopting green energy and clean technologies, most arguments center around feasibility and money.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
'Business as usual' never leads to being right with God. The easy road leads to destruction. The narrow road, that is hard to follow, leads to life. The wide, easy road is the one which is focused on self. The narrow, hard road, is the one which loves our neighbor, leads to life.
So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Matt 7:12-13
"You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal.
How will the next generation look back on us? How will my daughter view the way I am living today? Will she feel that I failed her for not fighting harder to preserve the national parks, the glaciers, the Great Barrier Reef? Will she feel that I failed her for not sacrificing convenience to buy solar panels? Will she feel that I failed for not giving up more to avoid displacing millions of people due to sea level rise? When I am 80yrs old, will I look back on my life with gladness or regret?
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children... Proverbs 13:22
The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.
While the Bible does speak about forgiving others (Matt 6:14-15), it also often links forgiveness to repentance. It seems as though forgiveness will not always be given if the love of God and love of others is not there. Some of these passages seem to say that forgiveness will not be given for those of us who are deemed greedy, which is what Greta is claiming we are if we continue with 'business as usual'.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Cor 6:9-10
But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgmentwill be revealed. God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. Romans 2:5-8
But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? Ezekiel 18:21-23
"We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.
I think there is a lot in the Bible to support Greta's speech. The good news is that there is hope if we repent now.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” - 2 Chronicles 7:14