I saw Jurassic World the other week. Awesome. I saw the original Jurassic Park in theaters when it first came out in 1993 (when the raptors attacked in the kitchen, a group behind me screamed so loudly, it was awesome). Yet the concept of Jurassic Park/World and respect for creation don’t really seem to work together. In fact, isn’t it the lack of respect for nature itself that leads to the problems the T-Rex getting let out of its cage. It is Dr. Ian Malcom who points out in Jurassic Park “You scientists, you were so focused on seeing if you could you never stopped to ask if you should.” (or something along those veins in a not-so-direct quote). Nature, creation, wasn’t respected at all it seems in this case.
And in Jurassic World they attempt to not make the mistakes of the past. Yet in doing so, they repeat the same mistakes just to a grander scale. Once again, nature is underestimated. They fiddle with genes and genetic engineering and all H-E-double hockey sticks breaks out (take that GMOs!). The dinosaurs weren’t respected. Save for one person, Owen Grady. An ex-Navy dude, who worked with and trained velociraptors. He knew that the raptors were not tame. He knew that they were fueled by instinct and by nature itself. He understood not to turn his back on them. He also knew and understood a deep respect for the raptors. Yet his respect for them wasn’t heeded by those who ran the park.
In many ways, Christianity isn’t known for its respect for creation. Which is sad. From the very beginning in the Bible it states that humanity was to take care of and serve creation as stewards.
I like how The Message puts Genesis 1:26-28
“God spoke: ‘Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, the earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of the earth.”
When God made Adam and placed him in the Garden of Eden, we read that Adam was to take care of it and work in it (Genesis 2:15). From the very beginning, humanity was to be responsible for and take care of the world. In fact, Adam was put in charge of every living creature (Genesis 2:19-20). Adam had a sort of bond with creation itself. This bond was broken when he and Eve decided they too wanted to be like God and to be gods themselves.
In turn, their relationship to the earth was broken and destroyed. Instead of humanity working harmoniously with creation, creation would rebel against humanity (Genesis 3:17-19). The harmony became cacophony. There was still a deep respect for creation, yet also a great fear. Over time, people saw it their duty to pillage and destroy the land. People saw it as their right to do with the land as they desired. To do with animals as they desired. It was their world, and the rest of creation merely lived in it. And mistakes were made. Big ones.
Thinking of Grady and his respect for the raptors brings to mind how Christians are to respect creation itself. Grady understood that the raptors weren’t tame. They weren’t trained. They weren’t controlled. They were partnered with. They were respected. Grady understood that all the creatures on the park needed to be respected, even the big bad Indominus Rex. Without respect for and being willing to work with the creatures on the island, chaos reigns. In willing to work with the creatures, well, spoilers.
As Christians, there needs to be a respect for creation. It is God’s creation. It is what God made. And it is to be taken care of. It is something that we were given responsibility for. God created creation and creation itself is groaning in pain until the day Jesus comes again to make even creation whole once more (Romans 8:19-22). Creation itself deserves our respect. Creation itself deserves to be treated as something made by God.
Our relationship with creation was broken at the Fall of Adam and Eve, but not destroyed. The harmony we were to live with creation became a dysfunctional (and at times abusive) relationship.
As I watched Jurassic Park and Jurassic World not only did I see how one might be able to completely ignore two bad sequels (take note Bryan Singer, you don’t need time travel to fix a bad movie in the franchise) I also saw a call to respect nature. Nature, creation, itself isn’t tame. It is wild. It deserves respect. A healthy respect. It isn’t to be controlled nor, though, is it to be worshiped as they did at the park. A healthy respect and willingness to work with creation, to be stewards of creation, creates the beginnings of recreating the harmony we were made to have with creation.
So, as a follower of Jesus, I respect what God has made. I try to be a good steward of what God has given to us. I fail. I fail a lot. I also know that in respecting what God has made, acknowledging that not only is it not tame, but the harmony we were to have with it has been broken but not destroyed, I can begin to wait in expectation with creation until Jesus comes again, watching over it, and working with it.