I love the fact that Bojidar Marinov used the topic to focus on how Christian Europe surpassed other nations, precisely because they were forced to hustle as the world cooled around them…
The Little Ice Age was a judgment, obviously. Or, to use the other word for judgment, a crisis. Christendom had become complacent in the free availability of resources during the warm period; people could fill their stomachs without much trouble, and live stagnated lives for generations. It was in this period that the system of feudalism flourished; and why not, given that every isolated locality could become self-sufficient in terms of food and other basic necessities, and never think of growing beyond their stagnated state? Europe had inherited a few important technological developments from the classical world, preserved in St. Isidore of Seville’s encyclopedia (the Etymologies). But short of a few other developments in the 700s and the 800s, there was little technological progress, even if there was progress in terms of theology, philosophy, law, and even science. A peasant living in AD 800 would be totally at home with the level of development of AD 1200, 400 years later.
There was no concerted effort for improving productivity, for a better use of God’s resources. There wasn’t even a thought or a concept of it. Now, if you are a modern pietistic Christian, you might not see a spiritual problem in such technological stagnation. But from the perspective of God’s Dominion Covenant, 400 years of such stagnation is a sign of spiritual laziness. It means that the producers of that age were not thinking in terms of serving more people in a better way – and, remember, service is the name of the game, when the social applications of the Gospel are involved. They were simply content to have what they had always had, and if it took less time and effort to produce it, even better. By all evidence, Europe had grown complacent in the most important task of the covenant with God: the use of God’s resources for serving other people. If that warm period had continued forever, Christendom would have been stagnated forever. That’s why it needed some shaking.
And the shaking came in the form of the Little Ice Age. The way to the Garden was shut. The good times of free resources – favorable weather patterns – were over. Christendom did not use these gifts according to their divine purpose. So it lost them.
And the response of Christendom would show if it was worth its name. Would Europe respond the way the Mongol Empire did: die away? Would it respond the way the North American natives responded: try to make up for the lost resources by invading other tribes and try to rob them of their resources? Or would it try to stay faithful to its professed faith and seek a Biblical solution?
To the credit of Christendom, it stayed true to its faith. Ups and downs aside, it eventually set out to find solutions instead of either dying out or trying to plunder resources.The Little Ice Age, by Bojidar Marinov
…and completely ignored the business of Global Warming. After all, as the world was a lot warmer in Classical times – you could grow wine in England, and there are numerous ancient villages in Switzerland that are now covered under glaciers.