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Pope Francis, Environment, and Sabbath - Part 1

Pope Francis, Environment, and Sabbath - Part 1

The recent film Pope Francis: A Man of His Word presents a candid and vivid picture of the current pontiff. The documentary shares many of the pope’s views on current issues such as immigration, climate change, and poverty. For example, he expresses his opinion on the Creation story, stating, “The biblical story of creation is a mythical form of expression.” This assertion undermines the validity of the biblical record, but it also shows why even simple, clear teachings of the Bible are so easily set aside.

During the same conversation, he addressed challenges to our environment, along with issues of poverty. Calling on everyone to take responsibility, the pope said, “If today you ask me … ‘Who is the poorest of the poor?’ I would say, 'Mother Earth!' We have plundered her! We have abused her!”

God’s Word links the challenges faced in our environment with our transgression of His laws. Isaiah, the prophet, seemed to identify our day when he prophesied, “The earth mourns and fades away, the world languishes and fades away; the haughty people of the earth languish. The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant” (24:4, 5). But when we take God’s Word as it is, laying aside the pollution of sin in our hearts, our attitude toward His Creation changes.

Concerning the Sabbath, the pope commented about the Jewish people and their continued observance of the seventh day. He said, “One day of the week—that’s the least! Out of gratitude to worship God, to spend time with the family, to play, to do all these things. We are not machines!” Just as the pope minimized the specific details of Creation, he also minimized God’s specific command in favor of a general principle for our well-being today.

This transition the pope is making from specific to general is a key step in attempting to change the nature of God’s eternal law.

God has given humanity the Sabbath to remind us of the work He has done for us and is doing in our lives and in our world. It calls us to live as responsible citizens of God’s kingdom and to treat all His creation with profound respect.

To understand how this is all connected, check back with us next week! In the meantime, click here for a great resource about God’s plan for the Sabbath.