The powers of the present darkness

The writer of Ephesians 6:12-17 assumes a world afflicted by dark forces of supernatural origin and describes the metaphorical armour needed to struggle against these. The current climate emergecny has been driven largely buy dark forces of worldy origin. What armour do we need to struggle against these?

This passage (Ephesians 6:12-17) is from the letter to the Ephesians which was almost certainly written sometime in the second half of the first century. In it the author tells us that at some time in our Christian lives we are going to have to put on the whole armour of god and fight for what we believe in against the dark forces that are determining how society develops. At the time when the letter was written there was very little understanding of what these forces were and there was an assumption that they were essentially of some supernatural origin. Nowadays, we’ve got a much better understanding of what those dark forces that are operating on our society are. we are much more likely to attribute them to equally sinister but essentially worldly powers.

We have to admit that, in the case of climate change, a very substantial element is attributable to the large corporations that are operating for profit in complete denial of the catastrophe that they are causing. A recent article in the Guardian has exposed how the big fossil fuel companies are continuing to plan to extract oil and gas reserves far beyond the limits that will be required to restrict global temperature rises to less than 1.5°C or even 2°C.

In order to obtain support for this they invest heavily in lobbying governments.. Figures for the European Parliament are easier to obtain than those for our own government and reveal expenditure of about 30 million euros each year on lobbying by fossil fuel companies. The situation in the UK is very little different. Since the last election the Conservative party has received over one million pounds from individuals and corporations that are associated with the fossil fuel industry. There were more delegates from fossil fuel industries present at the CoP26 meeting in Glasgow than from any individual country. Presumably at some stage the fossil fuel industry will be looking for some payback on its investment. When we look around we do see powers of darkness at work but they are very clearly from a worldly rather than a spritual realm.

The writer of the letter to the Ephesians goes on from identifying the nature of the enemy to listing the armour and weaponry that will be required to struggle against them. We need to ask in our modern world what is the equivalent to that armour.

The belt of truth might be equated to the power of investigative journalists and researchers to expose the truth. Without this we would not know who we are struggling against. Perhaps the breastplate of righteousness can be equated to the placard of a protestor demanding justice for those most affected by the current emergency yet have done so little to cause it. Perhaps above all we need “the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God”. We need to fight against the lies and lobbying of the dark powers with the truth that an alternative world is possible. A world in which justice and love triumph over greed and power, a kingdom on earth, as it is in heaven.

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