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Visions of the End? Revelation and Climate Change by The Revd Professor T.J. Gorringe; a chapter from Sebastian Kim and Jonathan Draper (eds.) Christianity and the Renewal of Nature, SPCK, 2011; reproduced with kind permission of the author and publisher.
In chapter four of Revelation the author tells us that the song of praise before God ‘never ceases’ (4:8), but now there is silence. ‘Heaven seems to hold its breath because of what is about to happen on earth’. Perhaps the author is thinking of the passage in 2 Esdras where the world returns to its “original silence” as “at the beginning of creation” when nobody will be left alive (7:30 cf.6:39)i. It is an intensely dramatic image which has caught people’s imaginations all the way from the first century to Ingmar Bergman.
It could speak about the fear we feel about the possible effects of climate change as represented by James Lovelock in The Revenge of Gaia, or Mark Lynas in Six Degrees.
But the silence does not last.