Preserving God’s creation

Published 8:00 pm Wednesday, January 1, 2020

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) “In the beginning” is also the title of the book; Bereshit in the Hebrew and Genesis in the Greek. And it’s filled with beginnings. The rest of the Bible is the story of God’s plan to overcome our sin and get us back to the beginning.

Maybe you’ve heard or read about the debate between faith and science. It’s a fake debate. The Bible is not a science book. It’s a book that picks up where science ends, and science cannot answer any of our questions about faith. Albert Einstein explained the limitations of science when he said, “Science is like reading a mystery novel.” 

We pick up a clue here and there, and we cobble together a hypothesis about what’s happening. Then somebody comes along and finds another clue and our hypothesis falls into dust at our feet. Both the novel and science include a process of discovery and re-discovery, but science never does answer “why?”

I was sitting alone in a small fishing boat in the middle of Bayou Texar in Pensacola, Florida. I was a chemist at the Baptist and Naval Hospitals and a marine microbiology student at the University of West Florida. My professor was studying a large fish kill in the Bayou, so I was sitting there in a little boat filled with scientific instruments, surrounded by dead fish in the water and very large, elegant homes on the nearby land. Most of the homes were empty. The residents had moved out to get away from the smell of rotting fish.

We, the students in my class, were measuring oxygen levels, pH, temperature, and visibility of the water every 30 minutes. Now it was my turn, and after midnight I’d taken my measurements and I was waiting for the next set of measurements. Suddenly, I began to think about what I was doing. I was sitting in the middle of what should have been another “garden of Eden” surrounded by muddy water and rotting fish. We eventually discovered the Bayou was filling up with silt from a large construction project upstream. It lowered the oxygen levels, changed the pH, lowered the temperature, and decreased the visibility causing the fish to die. And I asked the question, “Why?!”

I bowed my head in the middle of Bayou Texar and apologized to God for the way we’d spoiled his perfect creation, including our own lives. I invited Jesus into my life to give me a second chance and a new beginning; and although I’ve stumbled and fallen several (actually many) times, I’ve tried, with God’s help, to take advantage of it.

Mary Ella and I pray you have a very happy and thoughtful New Year, and maybe you’d like a second chance and a new beginning?