Monday, February 18, 2013

Creation and Destruction

A quality of human nature is that we will often assign some moral value to things we see in the natural world. For instance, watching the old Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, as a child, I got a taste for the “good” and “bad” side of nature. We would see lion's tenderly caring for their cubs, then see the same lions stalking and catching a beautiful gazelle, making a meal out it's carcass. I don't remember the hosts emphasizing the moral qualities, but it was my own reaction to what I was watching.
Likewise, during that same time, Smokey the Bear was reminding us, “Only You can prevent Forest Fires.” Our society had marked forest fires as “bad” because of the destruction of vast areas, plus the threats to our own development, if the fire move into more populated areas. Of course, over the years we have come to realize that the forest fire is also serving a very good purpose. The fire burns off the accumulation of dead and decaying material on the forest floor, and it also helps to germinate and release the new growth of seeds that have been waiting patiently for the right opportunity to spring forth. We assign moral values, but we are often mis-guided by our limited vision.

So, here is my thought for the day: God is the author of Creation, AND of Destruction. God is associated with what we consider to be good, and also with what we consider to be “bad.” It is all neutral to God, because God is connected with they cycles of all that is. There cannot be creation without destruction. There is no destruction but what leads to something new springing forth.

As a young adult, I worked one summer at a church camp. On the edge of a lake we found a deposit of fine, grey clay. At first, it was simply a place to have fun. The clay was slick and slippery and made a delightful slide. But then we got the notion to use the clay for making something. We dug out a healthy chunk, put it in a bucket and made it into a clay soup, we then strained it through cheesecloth to pull out the impurities. The fine clay was even finer. It was fun to engage the kids in learning about natural clay, and to create their own clay figures and pots. We had a time for creativity, and in the process we whittled away at the clay deposit by the lack, essentially “destroying” what was part of nature. Now this is a small “destruction” that few would find offensive, but the concept is the same. There is no creation without destruction. We create villages, towns, cities, and we carve out areas of woods and forests. An area of the Amazon rain-forest is being cleared and the indigenous people who live there are being displaced for the sake of development and the creation of something new.

If we can acknowledge that Creation and Destruction are tied together as nearly as light and dark, as day and night, that we cannot have one without the other, then let us approach our creativity with sensitivity to what is also being destroyed. We can also embrace the destructions that happen in our lives as opportunities for something new to spring forth. And it is the same God that is present in the destruction as we find in the creation.  

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