Nature: friend or enemy of progress?

My dictionary gives several meanings for nature. Perhaps the deepest, and the one that concerns us here, is, "the essential character of a thing; quality or qualities that make something what it is." What essential quality could produce both a desire to kill and an unselfed mother love? What essential quality could be responsible for both a vista of scenic grandeur and a bitter famine?

If we are to call the hodgepodge of things that characterize human existence natural, in this basic sense, then we are faced with a choice. Either we must assume that there is no point in trying to progressively introduce order into the chaos of human affairs, because the characteristics of human existence will invariably reduce order to a hodgepodge. Or we must vigorously question the assumption that every destructive vagary of human sense, every uncontrollable whim of the elements, is as valid as the good in human experience and proceeds from essentially the same source.

Isn't this latter the assumption Christ Jesus challenged whenever he was confronted by the inconsistencies of nature as they appear in humanity and the elements? He knew that it wasn't natural to be diseased, that it wasn't natural for a tempest to threaten human life, that it wasn't natural to go hungry. He not only recognized this unnaturalness; he demonstrated it by healing the disease, stilling the wind and waves, feeding the multitude. How? Through the Christ-power. The Christ separates the essential character of spiritual existence from the unnatural, spurious evils incorrectly thought of as natural. "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" Jesus asked. "Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit." Matt. 7:16, 17;

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Discovering the real earth
November 19, 1979

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