Friday, June 20, 2008

Tooth and Claw

Bible commentary on nature’s wonders inspires respectful awe for the grandeur and beauty of creation. Other passages pose problematic descriptions for a few readers. For example, some scripture accounts provoke unease when they speak of warfare or retribution. Many cling to idealistic concepts of a “perfect” world: painless, convenient, and free of grief. But such is not the “very good” world God created.

Science educators may have an advantage understanding nature’s complex relationships, whether they relate to dynamic, sometimes destructive weather events, parasitism and disease, or nature’s spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. But there is another of nature’s features which provokes discomfort for some of my friends: the types of food consumed by various creatures in the animal world. Some animals are herbivorous; hardly anyone has a problem with that. Others are omnivorous and do not object to occasional meat with their salad. Finally, we have the carnivores, whose levels of metabolism and energy expenditure demand a high-protein diet. They are called predators.

Let’s examine several explicit scripture passages and how they inform us concerning our God-authored natural world. Psalm 104:21-22 is quite graphic: “The lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God.....they return and lie down in their dens” (NIV). Consider Job 39:27-30: “Does the eagle soar at your command and build his nest on high?....His young ones feast on blood, and where the slain are, there is he.”
There is no question that the death of animals may arouse understandably strong emotions. Some claim that all death results from Adam’s original sin in the garden. Others merely find any death messy and unpleasant. Each of these objections overlooks the thoughtfully conceived big picture of the long-standing operating principles of our world and cosmos. Our universe was designed for a purpose. Although the purpose of individual events may be obscure or seem unfair, scripture reveals that this creation is preparation for the onset of the coming New Creation where the operating rules will be very different.