Frantic Thoughts about Nature
by Jonas Weaver
What if this world is a failure? What if we don’t live in the best of all possible worlds? What’s this lead to? What if it’s an endless joke? What if what if what if, the only question raging in my mind right now.
What if God’s declaration over creation — that “it was good” — is the problem? The horrible irony that the goodness of creation means we don’t know what do with nature, with stuff within the world. Nature is good still but tainted. Horrible sad things occur within nature. Tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, drastic changes in nature that kill us. Yet still, we declare two handedly: it is good. But we don’t believe it’s good, not if we’re honest. We know we’ve sinned. we know we’ve tainted creation. And maybe we haven’t taken this idea far enough. That we are the problem. That nature was good. That we were good. And that we messed up badly, continue to mess up badly. Even Kuyper suggested that regardless of the fall of humanity we would be co-participants with God because nature is only good. Nature is not perfect. Anyone with a basic grasp on the way nature runs its’ course can tell you that.
What if we really are the problem? The onset of climate change, the fracking, the abuse of the earth and of nature for our gain. Maybe that’s the irony. “It was good,” was spoken over plants and animals and humankind. But maybe we only want to affirm the body of humanity, the rotting corpse that kills and harms the rest of the good. Nature is good, but so are we. Aren’t we? We are the heirs and lords of nature, possessing and dominating that which was “given” to us by God.
We kill and eat and destroy that which we have been given. The given good of nature, of creation. And we still don’t know what to do with this goodness. We tear up the ground for an artificially real thing called money and, without a hint of irony in our voices, declare that nature is beautiful. The only parts of nature that stand as beautiful are the parts untainted, untouched by human hands, our killing hands. We recognize this and acknowledge we’re the problem, we’re killers. But no sense of confusion comes in acknowledging the death habits of our hands. Acknowledge and turn face. Say how beautiful our national parks, proceed to eat a burger, proceed to drive a car guzzling fumes through the park.
None of this is good. What if the world’s goodness is an artificial declaration given by an outside? What if it’s fundamental status is not good? What if nature’s goodness is it’s problem and downfall? As the song goes, “don’t know where i fit between the vegans and the nihilists. that might be the first thing i’ve said that wasn’t a lie tonight.” Both the vegans and nihilists realize the fundamental shiftiness of the this world we inhabit. But one sees the hope and potentiality and tries to better this “good” world. The other just accepts this best of all possible worlds.
This curse isn’t a curse of sin but of goodness. Status given to a created entity that seems less than good. And simply chalking it all up to the fall of humanity seems a bit odd. Or maybe we just haven’t seen the radical truth that nature still might be good and that we no longer are. That we are not good for nature. And maybe that’s the two sided truth about nature, that we see it as good and beautiful and ours to use. I guess nature might be good and I guess that that might be a problem.