Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Though nature, red in tooth and claw with ravine...

Sep 24
It is a Tennyson blog today, given Captain B's "Stoatally" pictures.  As Tennyson wrote (in "In Memoriam"):

"Man, her last work, who seem'd so fair,
    Such splendid purpose in his eyes,
    Who roll'd the psalm to wintry skies,
Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer,

Who trusted God was love indeed
    And love Creation's final law-
    Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek'd against his creed."

Tennyson is here equating Nature with the Creator - the Evolutionary view I suppose. Whereas nature is part of the creation.  But it is a dilemma - something that always bothered me once I got old enough to think about it.

If God is good and all-powerful (as we were told in my faraway convent schooldays) why is nature so cruel?

I had no idea that all the time Genesis has been telling us, simply and clearly, that nature was not created red in tooth and claw.

"And God went on to say: “Here I have given to you all vegetation bearing seed which is on the surface of the whole earth and every tree on which there is the fruit of a tree bearing seed. To you let it serve as food. And to every wild beast of the earth and to every flying creature of the heavens and to everything moving upon the earth in which there is life as a soul I have given all green vegetation for food.” And it came to be so.
After that God saw everything he had made and, look! [it was] very good." - Genesis 1:29-31

This was a perfect world. It was Paradise. Nothing hunted, killed, or ate anything else.

And we are promised a return to that perfection.  Isaiah 11:6-9 says:

"And the wolf will actually reside for a while with the male lamb, and with the kid the leopard itself will lie down, and the calf and the maned young lion and the well-fed animal all together; and a mere little boy will be leader over them. And the cow and the bear themselves will feed; together their young ones will lie down. And even the lion will eat straw just like the bull.  And the sucking child will certainly play upon the hole of the cobra; and upon the light aperture of a poisonous snake will a weaned child actually put his own hand. They will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain; because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea."

Even the lion will eat straw just like the bull.

When Tennyson wakes from the sleep of death, he will find himself in an earth that has been restored to Paradise.

We were out in one of the villages at the furthest limit of our territory today offering the knowledge of Jehovah to all who will listen.  And after that I went back for a cup of tea and a very encouraging shepherding call.  Lovely of the elders to take the time, given how busy they are.  We had a Bethel speaker at the Hall tonight, followed by tea and cakes.  He was talking about how close Jehovah is to every one of us.

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