My brother pointed out that the oil spill should keep us humble, and remind us how limited our capabilities really are. In this sense, the disaster is a natural consequence of pushing too far. It is exactly the same to say that the oil spill is God’s wrath for our arrogance, and His warning to repent. After all, it is God Himself who established the limits of nature and the consequences of violating them.
The fact that this is “God’s wrath,” is supported by the fact that nearly everything you can imagine went wrong with the efforts. First, the blowout preventer failed to prevent a blowout. Then, efforts to dam the well with drilling mud and to clog the blowout preventer with junk both failed.
One news brief said, “BP’s ill-fated relief efforts to stop the damaged well hit yet another snag, underscoring once again the fragility of the containment effort: lightning struck the vessel that had been collecting the oil from the well, suspending operations for nearly five hours” NYT
Ill-fated is a mild way to put it, the whole effort seems cursed in a way that is beyond our capacity to cope. It was a newspaper article that pointed me in this direction of thinking:
“The oil has now reached four gulf states…turning its marshlands into death zones for wildlife and staining its beaches rust and crimson in an affliction that some said brought to mind the plagues and punishments of the Bible. ‘In Relvelations it says the water will turn to blood,’ says P.J. Hahn, director of coastal zone management for Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish. ‘That’s what it looks like out there- like the Gulf is bleeding. This is going to choke the life out of everything.’”
The Book of Revelations says, “The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead man, and every living thing in the sea died.” (Revelation 16:3)
Some would say that because the water is not actually blood, the book of the Apocalypse does not apply here. Yet this is what Revelation describes. It is very significant that the only description big enough to cover what we are seeing in front of our eyes is the one written in the Bible 19 centuries ago. Only the imagination of God can grasp this kind of event, something too big for the human mind to fully comprehend or cope with. It is exactly our inability to cope which should force us to turn to God, and to live in the way that God describes.
We don’t fully understand the consequences of our actions, but God does, and when He tells us not to commit adultery, when He warns against lust and sexual perversion, when He warns against contraception and abortion, when He tells us not to kill and warns against war, we should listen, because we don’t comprehend the damage that our sin can cause. The hemorrhage of oil should remind us that each bad choice has very destructive consequences, and if this is true in the natural world, how much more true is it in our spiritual, personal, and public lives.
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- Jesus’ Personal Conduct Policy (#440, 23rd Sunday)
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