Global Warming And Prophet David’s Psalm 8 – OpEd
What does Psalm 8 have to do with the fight against Global Warming? Global Warming And Prophet King David’s Psalm 8
Over the past 15 years, the Earth has accumulated almost as much heat as it did in the previous 45 years. March 2023 was Earth’s second-warmest March in 174 years; and the Pacific Northwest’s hottest average summer temperatures in 2021were unsurpassed since at least the year 950; 1073 years ago tree ring data from the area’s forests revealed.
All the Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam; teach their followers to take care of Planet Earth. Christians, Muslims and Jews also believe that humans should act as guardians and trustees (stewardship and khalifah) for our planet, and that humans will be held accountable by God for their actions. So what will a half degree Celsius of warming do to our planet?
Well parts of Earth’s ice sheets that could lift global ocean levels by several meters will crumble with another half degree Celsius of global warming, according to new research which suggests that the number of people threatened by sea level rise has been underestimated by tens of millions due to poorly-interpreted satellite data and a lack of scientific resources in developing countries.
Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica have shed more than half-a-trillion metric tons annually since 2000—six icy Olympic pools every second. These kilometers-thick ice cubes have replaced glacier melt as the single biggest source of sea level rise, which has accelerated three-fold over the last decades compared to most of the 20th century.
More than 90% of the world’s population is projected to face increased risks from the compound impacts of extreme heat and drought, potentially widening social inequalities as well as undermining the natural world’s ability to reduce CO2 emissions in the atmosphere—according to a study from Oxford’s School of Geography.
And communities around the world emitted more carbon dioxide in 2022 than in any other year on records dating to 1900, a result of air travel rebounding from the pandemic and more cities turning to coal as a low-cost source of power.
Warming is projected to intensify these hazards ten-fold globally under the highest emission pathway, says the report, published in Nature Sustainability. In the wake of record temperatures in 2022, from London to Shanghai, continuing rising temperatures are projected around the world. And Antarctic sea ice shrunk to a record low at the end of February 2023 in the 45 years of satellite record-keeping. That exceeded the previous record low set in 2022
An international team of researchers has found that approximately 90% of all marine life on Earth will be at risk of extinction by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are not curbed.
But how does King David’s 3,000 year old Psalm help fight Global Warming, when it is a joyful admiration of the glory and majesty of the one and only God; and of God’s universe?
Psalm 8 explores the theme of God’s majestic splendor and at the same time human’s great potential to care for and improve life on our planet. God has created us in His image and graciously crowned us with glory and majesty. God has assigned mankind the role of ruling and preserving His creation.
Humans are expected to be aware of the natural balance of nature and to care for God’s gifts. We are the only species that can conscientiously hurt or heal our planet. Prophet David, King of Israel’s psalm 8 should be the anthem of those who are committed to overcoming the dangers of global warming.
Psalm 8 should remind humans every day: “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you set in place. What is mankind that you should be aware, human beings that you should even care? You have made them a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
and you put everything under their feet.”
And above us is the sheer vastness of outer space. At the speed of light, 186,000 miles per second, it would take you 8 minutes to get to the sun. To go from the sun to the center of the Milky Way would take about 33,000 years. The Milky Way belongs to a group of some 20 galaxies known as the Local Group. To cross that group, you’d have to travel for 2 million years. The Local Group belongs to the Virgo Cluster, part of an even larger Local Supercluster, which is a half-billion light years across. We ourselves, and all living things, use the energy that comes from sunlight to grow and to live. Al this was created by God 13.8 billion years ago.
So Prophet David begins Psalm 8 with the exclamation, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth” The first word translated “Lord” is the Hebrew word, YHVH, God’s personal covenant with Israel name. It stems from the Hebrew verb, “to become.” God revealed it first to Moses at the burning bush when He said (Exodus 3:14), “I will become who I will be.” It points to God’s forever ongoing potentiality.
Since God is the only uncreated being in the universe the second “Lord” is the Hebrew word “Adonai,” meaning ruler or lord, and refers to the one God’s 99 Islamic names; everyone’s connection to God’s creation of everything on earth and in the heavens above. Read it slowly and absorb its teachings.
Psalm 8 For the director of music. In gittith style. A psalm of David.
1 Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory in the heavens.
2 Out of the mouth of children and infants
you established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the covetous ones.
3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you set in place,
4 What is mankind that you should be aware,
human beings that you should even care?
5 You have made them a little lower than God
and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
and you put everything under their feet:
7 all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
8 the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
9 Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!