As the haze continues to come and go, several questions keep coming to my mind. One is of practical concern: What’s the PSI now? Another is: Why can’t more be done to prevent it?

Every time the region gets blanketed in haze, it sparks off a round of finger-pointing. The blame usually goes to companies and farmers burning forests to clear land, which is needed for crops in high demand, such as palm oil.

But are they the only ones to blame?

If we zoom out a little and see the bigger picture, we might consider acknowledging that the fault lies with . . . well, almost everybody. Ultimately, what drives these actions is our collective demand for the agricultural products (palm oil, for instance, is widely used in food and many other products). While these could be farmed sustainably, many people want them cheap and fast, which motivates producers to produce them as cheaply and quickly as they can.

At the risk of over-simplifying the matter, perhaps what lies at the heart of the haze is greed—our human desire for more profit and products, which ultimately leads to actions that damage the environment.

This is nothing new, of course. As early as in the times of Genesis, the Bible described how man’s sin affects the earth: “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways” (Genesis 6:11–12).

While the corruption described here is spiritual and moral, pollution and other manmade environmental disasters show that sin can also affect our environment. One of man’s God-given missions was to take care of the earth (Genesis 2:15), but we have failed. Is that why the ground was cursed after Adam and Eve disobeyed God (Genesis 3:17)? Is that why creation groans in its bondage to decay (Romans 8:20–22)?

While we still have a responsibility to protect and preserve the environment as much as we can, there is only one true, perfect solution to creation’s moral and physical decay: the redemption of the earth by God, made possible through Jesus. Only God can restore the earth to what it was meant to be, and only Christ’s death can deal with the sin that causes this decay.

So, while we have been delivered from the penalty of sin through Jesus’ death and resurrection, and are being saved from the power of sin now, we still have to live with the presence of sin and its physical consequence. But we can look forward to Christ’s return, which will herald a new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21), giving us hope that we will live in a place where sin, death, and decay—and haze—will be no more.

 

Father, You gave us a perfect earth
but we brought corruption and decay into it
through our sin and disobedience.
Yet You chose to forgive and redeem us
through Your Son Jesus Christ.
Thank You for the assuring hope
of a new heaven and earth
that will come when He returns.

Leslie Koh spent more than 15 years as a journalist in The Straits Times before moving to Our Daily Bread Ministries. He’s found moving from bad news to good news most rewarding, and still believes that nothing reaches out to people better than a good, compelling story. He likes eating (a lot), travelling, running, editing, and writing.

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