Impossible?

A guest post from David Hanson, with some wonderful thoughts about God's kingdom and the creation.

"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible" avowed the learned Christian physicist Lord Kelvin in 1895. It seems he was mistaken. What, though, did God think about this faith-founded proclamation? May we surmise that there was amusement in the heavenly courts that day?

Then, when Kelvin was proved wrong eight years later, was Screwtape pleased or provoked? Did he gloat over vast new opportunities for destruction, terror, waste and self-indulgence lying before Adam's race? The benefits were surely not beyond even his imagination. Did he congratulate himself on holding back this earthling achievement for so many millenia? The 'Enemy' (his language, of course) had, for goodness' sake, provided all the wherewithal from before the foundation of the earth. Already then, the aeroplane was scheduled. It sat in the inventory of treasure that the nations would some day bring to the new Jerusalem, where its beauty and usefulness would be carried forward.

Imagination! Humour! Invention! God's gifts all! But this true story includes God, humans, the aeroplane and the parasite, Satan. Don't forget the land of Havilah (Genesis 2) and its gold (good gold!) or the "promised land" which didn't only offer milk and honey, wine and oil, but whose "…rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills" (Deuteronomy 8 ). Our generations aren't called merely to survive or to be whisked off to heaven, but to add value to what God entrusted us with in creation's story. Yes, the story is tortuous. Sin cannot be wished away: neither can our everlasting calling to exercise dominion in stewardly (imaginative, technically exciting) ways. New things come (watch grandma with your iPhone). Others go (who's turned the handle of a mangle?). They are intrinsic to creation's on-going story. We didn't create them. At most we fashioned them (just like hybrid roses, race-horses and livestock) under God's forgiving delight.

Out of it all, sin included (remember Rahab?), God perfects the inheritance he has promised the meek. God isn't bored with this work. Why should he be? And why should we? At the head of the meek walks his Son in his titles: "Heir of All Things" and "Second Adam".

Aeroplanes, iPhones, gold, copper, oil and wine are and remain creatures, susceptible of change. Using them we marvel at the "works of the Lord". Conforming them to God's will is our task; they are among the "all things… on earth" that Christ has reconciled to the Father. That's how we preach the gospel to every creature.

Comments

You say that Satan is a parasite on God's creation, David. Is it fair to say that he wreaks havoc by setting one part of creation against another? So with aircraft, he takes the ingenuity and beauty of this pinnacle of engineering (for me, take-off and landing are miraculous experiences!) and then incites people to use it for destructive purposes – whether they be the inhumanity of aerial bombardment and total warfare, or indeed the burning up of posterity's share of fossil fuels for the sake of cheap holidays abroad.

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