On September 2, a couple of teenagers were spotted throwing smoke bombs on the Eagle Creek trail in Oregon–a part of the country that has experienced unseasonal dryness and too many fires in the last few years. A hiker confronted the kids: “Do you know how dangerous that is?”
Probably. But if they knew in theory how dangerous it was to lob fireworks in a tinder-dry forest, they hadn’t yet learned that real acts have real consequences. Such as an out-of-control wildfire that has consumed at least 30,000 acres of forest land, destroyed dozens of homes, and blackened some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
They are young. The earth was young too, when a seemingly small act tipped it into a death spiral. The perpetrators, I’m sure, didn’t understand the consequences, even though they were warned. But the consequences played out anyway, in the people themselves (shame, deceit, murder, etc.) and in the scales of cosmic justice. God’s patience waited (I Peter 3:20) for several generations–and then, the flood.
Conservative Christians acknowledge that God has a right to judge. We have a little more trouble accepting that God is right to judge. Without judgment (which also involves putting a temporary halt to evil) we would have killed each other a long time ago. Without a final judgment, heaven would become hell. That doesn’t make widespread destruction any easier to think about (the children! the innocent animals! the towns and farms!), but a world without judgment would be even more destructive, and ultimately futile.
Here’s the pdf download:
(This is a continuation of a series of posts about the “whole story” of the Bible. I plan to run one every week, on Tuesdays, with a printable PDF. The printable includes a brief 2-3 paragraph introduction, Bible passages to read, a key verse, 5-7 thought/discussion questions, and 2-3 activities for the kids. Here’s the Overview of the entire Bible series.)
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