Pictures of God’s Creation

Vermont newt 9-04 600pxYes, if you have been reading, you have seen this photo before. I am repeating it for a reason. Stay with me.

The Gulf oil spill is obviously on a lot of people’s minds. Jim Wallis of Sojourner’s did a blog that takes a very strong position about a Christian’s moral obligation to taking care of God’s creation and how this spill is a problem for Christians. Still, what to do and how to react is challenging.

I think that it can be hard to connect personally with oil spilling out of a big pipe thousands of feet down in the ocean. There is a big disconnect between it and what it is really doing. Many of us care deeply about the natural world, but a lot of people don’t have the same connection. A vision of a big pipe spewing oil doesn’t resonate with them.

Photographs and other visuals are so important to how we see the world. We cannot be everywhere, yet photographs and videos take us nearly everywhere. Our vision is formed by what we see from those images. My wife and I had a discussion on how terrible it was that young children, as young as two, were smoking in parts of Indonesia. Why? Because visuals of children smoking were on a news program. Such images hit us right in the gut.

There are no visuals of oil pouring over babies. We see a few shots of oil at the water’s edge of beaches and a few shots of oily birds. We don’t yet see the death and destruction that has come from the oil. You, our readers, probably think about this, but for most people, they don’t. The pictures are not there. There are stories about photographers being kept from really bad locations because they might capture such images, and of course, that would be bad for business. Some people just don’t want you to think how bad things are for God’s beloved world.

I have no photos of the Gulf or oil. I am putting up a simple photo of a small creature of little consequence to man. Is a red eft important? I believe so. Do most people know it? No, they don’t. This photo has been an important one for me because it places this little salamander in its environment. Hopefully it helps people connect with both the animal and its world. When a photo connects you with something in the natural world, you do remember it.

There are many small creatures in the ocean that we see or hear little of, animals and other life that is seemingly of little importance to man, but they are part of God’s world, God’s creation, too, and so by definition, they must be important. So my photo is a little stand in for them to perhaps remind us all that God’s world is extensive, rich and filled with life. We need to be careful how we use the world so that all parts of it are noted and respected above simple profits or a rush for oil.

— Rob