“Cursed is the ground because of you” – Gen. 3:17

            The next time you have a chance to get out and appreciate the beauty of God=s “good” creation, take a few minutes to remind yourself how easy it is for people to get confused about what God is like when looking at nature.

            People tend to think of this world as a nurturing place which has brought us into being.  We hear so much about living in harmony with the land and the earth being our mother.  Our world is a place of  beauty, fruitful har­vests and great multitudes of creatures, but this is beauty in the midst of vast areas of barren rock, desert sand and perpetual ice.  Nature, as we know it, is bountiful, but it sustains itself at great cost to its members. To a spectator the food chain is a self-sustaining balance.  To a participant the food chain is cause for continual anxiety about their own safety. ­ Much of the wondrous abun­dance of creatures spend each day in a life and death struggle fleeing from one anoth­er, while trying to get enough food to survive.

            We live in a fallen world.  Each person and animal will one day physi­cally perish.  Even though this is the way the world is today, we need not assume that this was the way that it was meant to be.  Yet, when someone dies of old age we say they “died of natural causes”.  The Bible does not teach that death was present as a part of the “good” creation in Eden.  Nature has been drastically changed.  An accu­rate view of na­ture, as it existed prior to the Fall and its curse, would not require us to think that way.

            On a recent nature program on PBS, it was stated: “The hawk is not cruel.  It is simply getting nourishment the only way that nature has provided for it.”  This claim ignores the fact that Genesis 1:30 tells us in the be­ginning God gave the beasts of the earth every green plant as their food.  Before believing this modern view point, ­­consider that Romans 6 tells us that Jesus came to conquer sin and death.  If these things had been part of the original good creation, he would not have needed to conquer them.  The presence of predators in the land is a manifestation of the fallen world.  It is not the hawk that is cruel, it is Sa­tan.  The deformed and defaced cre­ation, what we call “nature,” provides a distorted picture of what “good” is.  It casts a shad­ow upon the image of God in cre­ation, so that we see his charac­ter less clear­ly.  The creation, as God’s handiwork, is one of his expressions of himself to us.  The curse=s distor­tions to the cre­ation have wrongly implied that the blame for suffering should actually rest upon God.

            If the good creation, which God made and placed in Eden, caused him to be praised, then the destruction of these things have the potential to prevent him from being praised.  This would appear to have been one of Satan’s mo­tives in defacing the creation.  When man yield­ed to temptation in Eden, one result of his Fall was the curse upon the cre­ation.  In this way, Satan defaced the good creation with thorns, decay and deterioration as well as sick­ness, suffering and death.

            An example of Satan’s motives might be found in a friend’s story of buying a house.  They purchased a house in a foreclo­sure auction, but at the time of the closing the former owner had not yet left.  The former owner was enraged at having his dream house taken away from him, so he did what harm he “le­gally” could before being forced to leave.  He kept the new owners out as long as he could before the authori­ties would have removed him.  In that period he stole fixtures, hauled away an out­building and left a multitude of filth behind.  If he had been able to get away with it, he probably would have leveled the house and contaminat­ed the property.  Why?  Because he felt he had been wronged by the system and was venting his anger.

            Can you see Satan in this im­age?  Satan questioned whether God was in fact greater than he was, presuming to be an equal.  His boast was, “I will make my­self like the Most High.” (Isa­iah 14:14)  His punishment for this rebellion appears to be occurring in stages.  Satan, like the evicted home­owner, had the oppor­tunity to express his anger at the system’s “unfairness” from his point of view.  Since that time, he has been doing as much damage as he could.

            By causing the creation to become deformed in the Fall, Satan has im­paired the creation’s capacity to dis­play God’s charac­ter.  Remember that Jesus warned that Satan was a liar, a deceiver. Be­cause of this we need to be reminded that our under­standing of God’s character must be based on what He has told us in the Bible, not just what we see in nature.

By Maurice Hamel               9A&14C122900                     www.healingtheland.org