Thursday, June 17, 2010

Oil, oil everywhere...

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is an ongoing environmental and social disaster of unimaginable proportions. I have heard that the amount of oil that  is still flowing into the gulf is equivalent to an Exxon Valdez oil spill happening every 4 days. Whether or not that is true I have no way of knowing because one thing that has become apparent is that it is almost impossible to believe what the oil industry, governments, scientists and the news media say about the event. Everyone seems to be in a state of disarray. What has become clear is that for all technical  sophistication of an oil rig and as amazing as the process of finding and extracting oil from beneath the ocean is in the first place, no one was prepared for what has happened. Now everyone is scrambling to blame someone and that before anyone has found a way to stop the oil from spewing into the ocean and further contaminating the environment. The whole thing is a nightmarish mess!

Beyond the culpable irresponsibility of big businesses, governments and regulating bodies, this event and others like it remind us that for all our sophistication we do not have all of the answers and we are living on an earth which is under a "curse" because of human sinfulness and rebellion. Originally we were put here to subdue the earth and have dominion over it on behalf of God, but when he struck off on our own and decided to interpret reality autonomously, God put a curse on the earth which has greatly complicated our task. Instead of finding satisfaction in our work and making steady progress toward our goals we find that the creation itself is unruly and resists our efforts to develop its resources to the glory of God. Disasters should remind us not to put our hope in this life or in men no matter how wealthy or brilliant but in God. The message of the Bible is that God in grace will transform the earth one day and undo all the damage that we have done to ourselves and the environment. This is not an excuse to act carelessly now but it should chasten our expectations and increase our humility and refocus our priorities in a world that is too quick to congratulate itself. And more that anything else it should make us ask how God will do this, a question which if answered properly, brings us to the cross of Jesus Christ and to his resurrection from the dead as the first man of the new order. Frustration marks this existence. Fulfillment and peace mark the one to come.

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