Getuienis van die GKSA met betrekking tot omgewingssake

Die volgende getuienis oor omgewingsake was deur die Algemene Sinode van die Gereformeerde Kerke van Suid-Afrika in 2012 aanvaar en gepubliseer as beskrywingspunt 25.5 (pp. 512-513) in die “Handeling van die tweede algemene sinode van die Gereformeerde Kerke in Suid-Afrika gehou te Potchefstroom op 4 Januarie 2012 en volgende dae” (Webskakel: https://www.gksa.org.za/pdf/sinode%20argief/Sinode+2012.pdf )

Openbare getuienis oor die ekologiese krisis vanuit Suid-Afrika


Ons bely:

1. dat die goeie God die planeet aarde en die groot heelal geskape het en dat die aarde en die volheid daarvan aan Hom behoort; Hy is die groot Eienaar en Regeerder van alles (Gen 1,2, Jes 40:26, NGB, art 12, HK, So 9)
dat Hy die mens na sy beeld geskape het en aan die mens die opdrag en verantwoordelikheid gegee het om die skepping te bewoon, te bewerk, te beheers en te bewaak (Gen 1:27, 28, Ps 8:4-9)
dat die mens vanweë sy magsug, eersug, hebsug en genotsug die ganse skepping in wanorde en chaos gedompel het en dat die duidelike tekens daarvan oral te sien is in gebroke verhoudings van die mens met God en sy medemens en in vernieling en selfs vernietiging van die omgewing en natuur (Gen 3:17-19, Rom 8:19-22, NGB, art 14)
dat God in Jesus Christus en deur sy Gees ’n nuwe begin in hierdie stukkende węreld gemaak het en dat Hy aan mense nuwe harte gee om in alle opsigte nuut te dink en te lewe (Op 21:5) verder dat sy koninkryk van vrede, vryheid en heelheid aangebreek het en dat Hy ons as mense in hierdie proses van heling en vernuwing betrek
dat Hy uiteindelik – deur die oordeel heen – ‘n nuwe skepping belowe en dat Hy ons as mense oproep om nou reeds in daardie rigting te lewe en daarheen op weg te gaan (2 Pet 3:10-13, Op 21:1-5)
dat die tyd aangebreek het dat, waar in die verlede besondere aandag gegee is aan die herstel van die mens se verhouding tot God asook die herstel van mense se verhoudings onderling, daar ook gefokus moet word op die mens se verhouding tot die geskape werklikheid (Deut 22:6, Spr 12:10-11).

Ons is diep besorg oor:

die ongebreidelde bevolkingsaanwas van baie volkere op aarde wat toenemende en onhoudbare druk op die aarde se beperkte hulpbronne en lewensonderhoudstelsels plaas
die toenemend-onvolhoubare vlakke van uitbuiting en besoedeling van die biosfeer, atmosfeer en hidrosfeer deur die mens in sy selfsugtige soeke na meer hulpbronne en energie ter wille van ekonomiese welvaart
die genadelose wyse waarop sommige lande, organisasies en individue voortgaan om die omgewing te vernietig ter wille van eie gewin, en
die uiters oneweredige verspreiding van welvaart op aarde, sodat sommige mense in ellende en hongersnood verkeer terwyl andere in oorvloed en oordaad lewe.

Wat Suid-Afrika betref:

Ten spyte van die pogings van verskeie groepe en toegewyde individue om God se aarde te beskerm, is ons besorg oor:

die groot koolstofvoetspoor van Suid-Afrika wat ten spyte van internasionale tendense, steeds primęr konsentreer op die ontginning en verwerking van fossielbrandstowwe om in ons energiebehoeftes te voorsien
die onvolhoubare uitbuiting van ons mariene hulpbronne deur inheemse sowel as uitheemse volkere en organisasies
die verswakkende watergehalte in ons riviere agv swak-funksionerende stedelike afvalwaterbehandelingsaanlegte, asook besoedeling van oppervlak- en grondwaterbronne deur operasionele en uitgewerkte myne, industrieë en die landbousektor
toenemende besoedeling van ons grond deur elektroniese-, mediese-, huishoudelike-, industriële- en mynafval
onvolhoubare erosie van kosbare landbougrond agv nie-volhoubare bewerkingsmetodes en oorbeweiding
die verlies aan biodiversiteit agv ‘n voortdurende uitbuiting en vernietiging van die omgewing deur mense
die skynbare onvermoë van leiers om die onvolhoubare gaping tussen ryk en arm te verklein.

Ons doen ‘n beroep op alle mense, alle maatskappye, alle nywerhede, alle regerings en alle godsdiensgroepe en kerke in die węreld:

om ‘n totale mentaliteitsverandering te ondergaan waarin groter waardering en sensitiwiteit vir die omgewing as skepping van God ontwikkel word
om ‘n duidelike, ondubbelsinnige en openbare standpunt in te neem teen die enorme besoedeling en misbruik van die skepping van God
om ons verantwoordelikheid t.o.v die omgewing na te kom, die besoedeling, vernieling en vernietiging daarvan te staak en verantwoordelike ontwikkelingsprogramme daar te stel ten einde ‘n leefbare aarde aan ons nageslag na te laat
om ‘n eenvoudiger leefstyl aan te leer en groter mededeelsaamheid teenoor armes en minderbevoorregtes te openbaar
om ‘n gesonde balans tussen bewaring en ontwikkeling te vind wat enersyds die armes sal help om menswaardig te leef maar wat andersyds nie die natuurlike hulpbronne sal uitput en die omgewing onnodig sal skend nie
om groter klem te lę op die herwinning en hergebruik van afvalmateriaal
om die verpakking van produkte op ekologies-sensitiewe wyse te doen, met besondere aandag aan die uitfasering van plastiek as verpakkingsmateriaal
om doelgerig te strewe na die ontwikkeling van alternatiewe, volhoubare energiebronne
om kweekhuisgasvrystellings drasties te verminder om mensgedrewe klimaatsverandering te beperk
om gesinsbeplanning op verantwoordelike wyse aan te pak en dat leiers hierin duidelike leiding sal gee
om godsdiensgroepe en kerke op te roep om hulle profetiese getuienis in verband met ekologiese vraagstukke duideliker en meer indringend na te kom
om voortdurend voorbidding daarvoor te doen dat mense verantwoordelik met die skepping as kosbare gawe van God sal omgaan en dat die koninkryk van God spoedig in sy volheid sal kom

Additionele bronne oor die onderwerp:
Die volgende bronne word verskaf om verder oor die onderwerp op te lees. NB: Die bronne in die afdeling is nie deel van die amptelike standpunt van die GKSA nie en is ook nie noodwendig begronding van die amptelike standpund van die GKSA nie.

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Testimony of the GKSA with regards to environmental issues

The following testimony regarding environmental issues was accepted by the General Synod of the Reformed Churches of South Africa (GKSA) in 2012. The testimony was published as motion 25.5 (pp. 512-513) in the “Handeling van die tweede algemene sinode van die Gereformeerde Kerke in Suid-Afrika gehou te Potchefstroom op 4 Januarie 2012 en volgende dae” (Afrikaans-only web link: https://www.gksa.org.za/pdf/sinode%20argief/Sinode+2012.pdf)
The translated testimony is given below.

PUBLIC TESTIMONY REGARDING THE ECOLOGICAL CRISIS FROM WITHIN SOUTH AFRICA

WE CONFESS:

that the good Lord created Planet Earth and the great universe, and that the earth and all its plenitude belong to Him; He is the great Owner of all things; (Gen. 1,2, Isa 40:26, BC Art.12, HC Sunday 9)
that He created man in his image and gave man the command and responsibility of inhabiting, cultivating, governing and conserving earth; (Gen.1:27,28, Ps.8:4-9)
that man has plunged all of creation into disorder and chaos due to his megalomania, ambition, greed and hedonism, and that the clear signs are visible everywhere in the broken relationship of man with God, of man with his fellow men and in the destruction of the environment and nature; (Gen.3:17-19, Rom.8:19-22, BC Art.14)
that God made a new beginning in this broken world with Christ and the Holy Spirit, and that He gives people renewed hearts to think and live differently in relation to all things; (Rev 21:5) furthermore, His kingdom of peace, freedom and wholeness has dawned, and He involves us as people in His process of healing and renewal;
that He ultimately over and above judgement promises a new creation, and that He calls us as humans to already head in that direction and to move that way; (2 Peter.3:10-13, Rev 21:1-5)
that the time has come to focus on man’s relationship with the created reality. In the past special attention was paid to the restoration of man’s relationship with God and people’s relationships among themselves (Dt. 22:6, Prov 12:10-11).

WE ARE DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT:

the unbridled population increase of many of the nations on earth, which puts increasing and intolerable pressure on limited resources and systems that have to sustain life;
the increasingly unsustainable levels of exploitation and pollution of the biosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere by man in his selfish search for more resources and energy for the sake of affluence;
the merciless way in which some countries, organisations and individuals continue to destroy the environment for the sake of their own gain, and
the extremely disproportionate distribution of wealth on earth, so that some people live in misery and famine, while others live in affluence and excess

REGARDING SOUTH AFRICA:

In spite of the attempts of different groups and dedicated individuals to protect God s earth, we are concerned about:

 the large carbon footprint of South Africa, which despite international tendencies, still primarily concentrates on the mining and processing of fossil fuels to provide in our energy needs;
the unsustainable exploitation of our marine resources by native as well as foreign nations and organisations;
the deteriorating water quality of our rivers due to poorly functioning urban waist water treatment plants, as well as pollution of surface and ground water sources by operational and exhausted mines, industries and the agricultural sector;
increasing pollution of our soil with electronic-, medical-, domestic-, industrial- and mine refuse;
unsustainable erosion of valuable agricultural land due to unsustainable tilling methods and over-grazing;
the loss of biodiversity due to a continued exploitation and destruction of the environment by people;
the seeming incapacity of leaders to decrease the gap between rich and poor.

WE CALL ON ALL PEOPLE, ALL COMPANIES, ALL INDUSTRIES, ALL GOVERNMENTS 
AND ALL RELIGIOUS GROUPS AND CHURCHES IN THE WORLD TO:

undergo a total change of heart to develop greater appreciation and sensitivity for the environment as creation of God;
to take a clear, unequivocal and public stance against the enormous pollution and abuse of the creation of God;
to meet man’s responsibility with regard to the environment, to stop the pollution and destruction, and to establish responsible development programs in order to leave a liveable earth to our descendants;
to learn a simpler lifestyle and greater charitableness towards the poor and the less fortunate;
to find a healthy balance between conservation and development that on the one hand will help the poor to live with human dignity, and on the other hand will not exhaust the natural resources or harm the environment;
to lay greater emphasis on the recycling and re-use of waste materials;
to package products in an ecologically sensitive manner, with special attention to phasing out plastic as a packaging material;
to purposefully strive towards the development of alternative, sustainable energy sources;
to lessen greenhouse gas emissions drastically in order to limit the human contribution to climate change;
to approach family planning in a responsible manner and that leaders give clear guidance in this regard;
to call on religious groups and churches to keep to their prophetic testimony regarding ecological issues with clarity and more probingly;
to continuously pray that people will interact with creation as valuable gift from God in a responsible manner and that the kingdom of God will soon come to its full unfolding.

Additional resources:
The resources are given for further reading on this subject. NB: The resources in this section are not part of the official testimony of the GKSA and also does not necessarily substantiate the official testimony.

 

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