Inhofe: Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that ‘as long as the earth remains there will be seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night,’ my point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.
Even by Christian standards, that’s a monumentally stupid and irresponsible thing to say. Of course, Inhofe isn’t the first guy to say something like that. You can find very similar words being ascribed to Satan in the Gospel according to Matthew.
I’m referring, of course, to Matthew 4:5-7.
Then the devil *took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written,‘He will command His angels concerning You’;
and‘On their hands they will bear You up,
So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Every Christian knows this story. The devil is tempting Jesus by suggesting that he behave recklessly and presumptuously, endangering himself on the grounds that God had promised to protect him from the consequences of his own irresponsibility. This is the verse Christians invoke all the time whenever you ask God to actually do something tangible in the real world. You didn’t get what you asked for, because you were “testing” God and therefore God is exempt from any obligation to fulfil whatever promise you might have been depending on.
You see the problem. Inhofe is advocating a policy of recklessly and presumptuously endangering, not just his own personal life, but the entire frickin planet—at least as a human-habitable zone. Sure, he can quote a promise in Genesis that offers some kind of implicit guarantee that God will supernaturally prevent us from any negative consequences of our irresponsible behavior. When those consequences arrive anyway, however, the very well-established precedent is that God is off the hook. If there are catastrophic climate changes, if countless numbers are uprooted and their property and livelihoods destroyed, that doesn’t mean the Genesis promise failed (at least, not to Christian thinking). It just serves us right for putting God to the test by demanding that He supernaturally protect us from the clear and inevitable consequences of our own misdeeds.
The smart thing to do would be to say, “Well, promise or not, we still have an obligation to behave wisely and responsibly.” That makes sense both in a Christian context and in a secular context. But here we see Inhofe using religion as a sedative, dulling the minds of his supporters and lulling them into thoughtless and heedless complacency to protect the interests of those who get their riches from exploiting the land and the people.