I saw my brother do it when he was a kid. My husband said he did the same thing: spend hours making a model airplane and then one day, set it on fire and launch it from the highest window in the house. All that work, down in flames. Kaput!
On NPR one recent morning, I was introduced to “Big Foot” and “King Kong.” No, they are not movies. They are monster cars engineered to roll over other cars and crush them. You can watch it on YouTube.
I can understand the urge to smash things. My granddaughter and I use to enjoy throwing empty bottles into the concrete bins at the Gainesville Recycle facility. There was something strangely satisfying about flinging beer bottles and jelly jars into the bin and hearing them shatter into a thousand pieces against the walls.
So, yes, mankind has an urge to destroy things. Hollywood knows this and profits handsomely by blowing things up, burning things down and finding new and horrifying ways to entertain a jaded public.
But why destroy things we have so lovingly built?
“Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness ...’ “ (Genesis 1:26)
There you have it! We are made in the image of God, and like God we can destroy our own handiwork if we want. Of course, if we hurt someone ... well, “The devil made me do it.”
Reasonable enough, but I don’t think it will stand up in court. However, In Genesis 1:26, God speaks in the plural. One interpretation says God was sharing responsibility for putting human being on Earth with the rest of Creation as a king might share weighty decisions with trusted counselors.
But what about the suffering of the innocent, for example the 230,000 souls lost in the tsunami of 2004? Another aspect of Biblical creation is the perfection of God. (Matthew 5-48) Can we argue from a point of perfection and understand why an all-powerful loving God spawns flood and famine? We can, but it requires a third+ factor.
I’ve never understood the fundamentalist’s aversion to evolution. It doesn’t negate the hand of God. It affirms it. God is perfect. (Matthew 5-48) God’s creation was perfect from the moment of Big Bang, and it remained perfect every step of the way. Every part of creation is in balance; otherwise, it would collapse, and we wouldn’t be here.
However, various parts of creation vie for their continued existence, and thus creation is in flux, continually changing.
Mankind is no different. Mankind is perfect but not complete. We are evolving. The evil we do today is simply the consequence of our inability to understand our own nature. Like little children, we are naturally destructive, but an ability to change is part of the natural system.
And over the eons, we have changed. We have grown. Today, we are no longer little children. We are teenagers, eager to test our limits, often thoughtless, often irresponsible, and like teenagers we think we are immortal.
Smashing things may be fun, but is it healthy?
If we pray to a Father God, let’s take it seriously. What does a father want from his son? To grow up and take over the family business. Surely God in any form, in any religion wants humankind to succeed, but man is not detached from the rest of creation, and we are our brother’s keeper.
In an effort to be ecumenical, let’s look at Judaism. An important ceremony in the life of a Jewish child is the bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah. The child grows, the child studies, and then comes the point when his society welcomes him or her into their midst as a “child of responsibility.”
This where mankind is today, on the verge of becoming responsible for creation. Let’s not botch it.
Joan King lives in Sautee.