Thoughts to Ponder are my musings regarding community, things of the Spirit, and living as a Christ-follower. I don't offer the words of a professional or an expert; just a fellow traveler and explorer. Please don't take my musings more serious than I do. I've discovered a long time ago that I do not hold the keys of knowledge or wisdom. If I did, I misplaced them somewhere...typical.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
A Dangerous Place
Almost daily there is seismic activity around the world. Nature is groaning. Due to the Indian Ocean earthquake 150,000 died in the course of a few hours. Strangely enough, before this disaster hit, most had forgotten the massive earthquake in Iran a year before that took 40,000 lives.
I wonder: how many died from human induced violence last year in the United States? How many died, by contrast, as a result of floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, heat, extreme cold, SIDS, viruses, etc.? How many in the world died last year due to famine, weather, earthquake or disease? How many died as a result of the most underappreciated force in the world: gravity?
Is nature really the maternal figure about which we romanticize so often? Maybe. But if so, she seems to have more in common with the Greek character Medea or our own Andrea Yates.
But perhaps there is a better explanation: nature has a fatal flaw.
That may come as quite a shock to some environmental activists who seem to believe the best thing for the world is the extinction of the human race. To some who tend to be of a more radical bent, nature is Gaia the goddess—someone to be worshipped: flawless and perfect.
The first century rabbi-turned-Christ-follower, Paul of Tarsus had a different view:
The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Now to be fair and honest, we did it. Our rebellion against God brought the flaw in the first place. God’s original idea was nature and man in complete harmony. We blew it. There is no excuse to abuse the planet or rape nature. While I cannot worship Gaia, I must worship the Creator who pronounced all of creation (including mankind) as very good. We, in turn, are called to manage and subdue creation. It is neither worship nor abuse: balance.
And here is a wonder and a beauty: one day all of this will burn away. But something amazing will happen! There will be a new heaven and a new earth. The beauty of nature will be magnified—the fatal flaw will be removed. The earth will be redeemed together with our own bodies. Our fates are intertwined. Pay special attention to Paul’s words again:
…creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Yes the world is dangerous and violent. Such was not the original intent. It represents the failure of mankind and the existence of sin. But good news: one day all will change! Reconciliation, redemption and resurrection will merge together: Hallelujah! Praise the Creator!
 Which reminds me: nature is responsible for more extinction of various species than mankind was ever! Remember the dinosaur?
 Romans 8:19-23
 2 Peter 3:10-13