A Culture in “Great Trouble”

What does the Bible say about homosexuality?

Genesis 19: sin of Sodom

Leviticus 18:22: “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”

Leviticus 20:13: “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

Romans 1:26-27: “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.”

1 Corinthians 6.9-10: “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

1Timothy 1:8-10: “We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.”

Lisa Miller, writing the cover story for Newsweek, December 15, 2008, calls the Levitical prohibitions “throwaway lines in a peculiar text given over to codes for living in the ancient Jewish world” (30). She claims that “the Bible was written for a world so unlike our own, it’s impossible to apply its rules, at face value, to ours (30). Her conclusion: “to deny access to any sacrament based on sexuality is exactly the same thing as denying it based on skin color—and no serious (or even semiserious) person would argue that” (31).

Class relationships

Racism continues to plague American culture. Sex discrimination is still a problem in America’s workplace (women make 77% as much as men for the same jobs).

Creation and the environment

We are now in the third climate change period of the last 2,000 years, and by far the most significant. Beyond dispute, the Earth’s temperature is climbing. The eight warmest years on record since 1850 have all occurred since 1998; the warmest was 2005. Temperatures at many individual locations were higher in the last 25 years than at any period of comparable length since AD 900.

Time reported recently that global warming will lead to enormous food shortages in the future, with less rain and greater heat.

What will happen to nature?

The Pine Bark Beetle, once controlled by cold winter temperatures, is killing entire Christmas tree forests in British Columbia.

Rising water temperatures could cause rainbow trout to disappear from the Appalachian mountains over the next century.

Indonesia estimates that 2,000 of its tropical islands could disappear by 2030 due to rising sea levels.

Giant squids are invading the hotter waters off California and even Alaska.

In Antarctica, an ice shelf larger than Rhode Island collapsed into the sea in 2002. An ice chunk the size of Manhattan broke off a Canadian ice shelf in 2005.

Since 1850, the number of glaciers in Glacier National Park dropped has dropped from 150 to 26. Within the next 25 to 30 years, it is likely that none will be left.

The Mediterranean Sea is becoming much more salty and stagnant, due to faster evaporation and rising temperatures. Many of the sea’s plant and animal species are in jeopardy, as is the fishing industry in this part of the world.

The Great Barrier Reef will disappear within decades as warmer, more acidic seas bleach coral.

Sea levels will rise. There are 5,773,000 cubic miles of water in ice caps, glaciers, and permanent snow. If all glaciers melted today, the seas would rise 230 feet.

Global warming will increase significantly if the ice caps melt. They reflect sunlight into space, further cooling the earth. If they are gone, the Earth will absorb more heat and warm more quickly.

Over the past century, the number of hurricanes which strike each year has more than doubled.

What will happen to our health?

The World Health Organization estimates that 150,000 people are killed every year by climate-change-related issues.

Canadian doctors say smog-related deaths could rise by 80% over the next 20 years.

Heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems are expected to rise, as atherosclerosis develops much more quickly in a warmer environment.

A Harvard study in 2004 showed that higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will lead to higher rates of asthma attacks, especially in children.

The World Health Organization has identified more than 30 new or resurgent diseases in the last decades, fueled by global climate change. As northern countries warm, disease carrying insects migrate north, bringing disease and plague. Known as the “deadly dozen,” these diseases include yellow fever, Lyme disease, plague, avian influenza (bird flue), babesia, cholera, Ebola, intestinal and external parasites, red tides, Rift Valley fever, sleeping sickness, and tuberculosis.

What does God think about the moral health of our nation? The answer lies in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “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 will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” The solution is to pray for awakening.