Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Nature redeemed

Schubert in his natural habitat.  
Schubert is my kind of "wildlife." 
Thank you very much.

Raccoons have been excreting on my deck regularly.  This is so gross.  It makes me crazy.  They also dug in my potted roses, and trampled some of my nasturtiums.  Ugh.  I am no lover of raccoons.

The other day, though, there was a dead raccoon in our neighbor's front yard.  It was youngish, smallish, and the first time we saw it, it looked like it was taking a nap, right there in the sun next to the mailbox.  Realizing it was dead, I felt pangs of guilt for my hatred of the species, and I had to remind myself a number of times that though I may have thought I wished our raccoons were dead, I did not do anything to kill any of them.

Over time, the neighbor did not remove the carcass.  In our extreme heat, it looked worse and worse.  Yesterday I thought it was gone, and ventured back that way as I walked Schubert.  In the nick of time, I saw that its dismembered appendages still lay mouldering in the grass, but something had dragged its body to the sidewalk where it lay smeared and foamy, pummelled by the morning's gully-washer.  Nature certainly has an unsavory side.

Shawn and I have been watching a Netflix series of documentaries on extreme photography, "Tales by Light."

Many of the scenes are breathtakingly beautiful.

Recently, the episodes have centered on wildlife.  The show documents how wildlife adventure photographers journey into the wilderness to capture unique shots of animals in their natural habitats, living out their natural lives.  Sometimes it is frightening to see how close the photographers get to bears, lions, leopards and gorillas.

Often, the photographers seem thrilled to capture shots of huge feline predators stalking, chasing and slaying their prey: deer, wildebeests, and gazelles.  I have to avert my eyes from the screen when it shows a mother leopard strutting around with a limp but still graceful gazelle dangling from her mouth, and when the camera zooms in on a litter of cubs devouring their mother's bloody catch under the shade of a bush.  "What a wonderful mother she is," the photographers crow.  I gulp.

This is not the way God created the world to be.  This is fallenness, meted out on the beasts who have been cursed to make their way in a world where death rules.

Against its will, all creation was subjected to God's curse, but with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay.  For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.   ~Romans 8:20-22 (NLT)

The "circle of life" -- the dog-eat-dog -- the predator-prey system of survival will be changed and redeemed for all eternity, along with all of us who put our faith in the Lord who formed us and saved us.

In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together;
the leopard will lie down with the baby goat.
The calf and the yearling will be safe from the lion,
and a little child will lead them all.
The cow will graze near the bear.
The cub and the calf will lie down together.
The lion will eat hay like a cow.
The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra.
Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm.
Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,
for as the waters fill the sea,
so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord.
~Isaiah 11:6-9 (NLT)

This is our glorious hope.  God is going to change everything, make everything new.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.  All these things are gone forever.
~Revelation 21:4 (NLT)

No longer will there be a curse upon anything.  For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and His servants will worship him.
Revelation 22:3 (NLT)

And even the raccoons will not soil anybody's deck.  Everything made right.  Thank you, Lord.


Shawn Carpenter said...

Beautiful picture, beautiful promise.

It does raise the question: Will poisonous creatures continue to live in the new heaven and new earth? What purpose do venom and fangs serve when creation is restored? (This may be a silly diversion, and the purpose of the description given in scripture is simply to illustrate how the world of creatures will be changed.)

Still, it's interesting to think of renewed creation with many/most/all of the animals that we know today. Think there will be dinosaurs? (:

Ruth said...

I think the venomous creatures won't be venomous. (The little child puts his hand into the nest of deadly snakes and isn't harmed.)

The fangs . . . I don't know. It's hard to picture the lion eating hay like the cow, given the shape of his mouth and teeth. But there you have it. I guess we'll see.

Priscilla said...

Looking forward to that day!