I grew up on a farm. I hunted, killed and ate birds. We killed snakes on the farm. Once, when I was younger and less civilized, I was involved in a full scale war against a hive of bees living in the vent in the wall. Needless to say, that hurt! Often I deserved to get stung, other times bees were hidden under the undergrowth of the path next to the fence and they bit me out of the blue.
When you grow up in nature, you develop a kind of respect for animals and creation that (in my view) is very different from someone who admires it on the television or from a scenic viewpoint on top of the mountain. I sometimes wonder if we havent gotten a little romantic about nature?
There was danger on the farm. There was death. And pain. There were flies and bugs and mosquitoes and thorns that made your feet bleed. I liked it. It was wild, it made me feel sober. I think that there was a (male) part of me that enjoyed the rough edge because I was looking for an adventure. So I grew up thinking that when I couldnt handle the death, or the pain, or the mosquito bites, that something was wrong with me – I wasnt quite relating to the untamed wilderness ‘like a man’. I had become soft. Or thats what I thought until I met Christians.
I met Christians who said it wasnt like this before Adam and Eve sinned. The garden of Eden didnt have thorns. Lions didnt eat lambs. Some even said to me that nothing died before the Fall. It confused me. Was creation only a tame garden when Adam was created? Was there absolutely no fear of pain or injury or savage bears in the dark forest? To some, surely a loving God would only be gentle. But then, in my youth, I used to watch those animals in the documentaries hunting their prey and think; surely God is also awesomely severe. Surely there is something of God in the lion that wouldnt work if it ate straw?
This is a deep question to me. What do you think of the “dark side” of nature? Does it attract your sense of adventure or repel your sense of civility? The answer touches at what we think God is like. The way we see the “rough and tumble” aspects of creation says something about our view of God. I am wrestling with this. I dont want to be naive about creation and only see God in it if so many things are also ruined. But I also dont want miss the awesomeness of God in the more “violent” aspects. Because sometimes I think to myself, the way Moses and the Isrealites were comfortable with slaughtering animals by the thousand would have seemed barbaric to our modern day church. Have we become soft?
How has the fall affected creation? What is of God now and what is of the devil? Perhaps if we embrace an overly feminine view of God we will only like the calm and serene and not the awesome severity and adventure that is more male. Or perhaps the purpose of some less “beautiful” things in creation i.e. like flies and maggots, are to teach us about sin and hell, not about God and heaven…
I look forward to your comments!