The April 2013 edition of National Geographic just hit the magazine rack at the CVS pharmacy down the street and I had to buy it. On the cover is a painting of a tipped over test tube from which a parade of long gone species is stepping into an empty landscape. The featured story is titled: “Reviving Extinct Species: We Can. But Should We?”
The second part of the subtitle, “but should we?” is what makes the article most interesting. While the description of the science involved in restoring the Pyrenean ibex to the mountains of Spain is fascinating, the bio-ethical discussion of the merits of bringing back the passenger pigeon was more thought provoking. In this more philosophical portion of the article, it was noted that while we would all love to see these animals; it might not be a good idea. Bird lovers might love to see the passenger pigeon come back, but would we want to have flocks of them that darken the sky flying over our neighborhoods and “covering our streets with snowstorms of dung?” Or would it simply be a futile exercise in wishful thinking, like when the endangered Arabian oryx was returned to the wild from captive stock and was promptly wiped out by poachers?
These kinds of questions underscore two elements of our resurrection wishes: we tend to want things we have lost with reference to their good qualities only, and we recognize how much the context or environment needs to be fixed in order for new life to thrive. While the National Geographic boldly trumpets the discovery of the “recipe for resurrection,” it really doesn’t have it. These questions are not answered.
This April we have just celebrated an early Easter and have been reminded of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and of the promise of our own resurrection. Continue to reflect on the promise of resurrection this month. But don’t be thinking in terms of Tasmanian tigers and Dodo birds, be thinking about yourself and those you love. There is a great difference between what the biologists can do with pigeons and what God will do with you. The biologist will only approximate the species and bring back a cloned representative (read the article for more information on that), God will bring you back as the individual you are. The biologist will bring the critter back to life warts and all. God will bring you back perfected – all traces of sin and its effects removed. The biologist will bring a species back and reintroduce it to a world that already killed it off and almost certainly will not be able to sustain it again. God is recreating the entire cosmos – heaven and earth – in order to prepare a place for you that is perfectly suited to your every joy. In short, the scientist will reanimate a corpse and set it free in a morgue. God will create life and make it free.
“Romans 8:20-21 tells us that “The creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”
Liberated into glorious freedom! That is a definition for the resurrection God will perform! Let that truth affect your agenda every day this month.Resolve to take time to daily remind yourself of God’s resurrection agenda. And live.