The human is a creature of contradictions, capable of murder, wit, wry observation, and great perseverance, not to mention many other things. Consider:
“Slaughtered Him Like a Ram”
A 12 year-old survivor of an earlier attack, now living as an orphan in a refugee camp, recalls the death of his father:
I saw them kill my father; they slaughtered him like a ram. And up until now I don’t know where my mother is.” -Suleiman Dauda
Jesus, have mercy. This is what the human has made his particular speciality for thousands of years: murder.
Of all the earth’s creatures, none is capable of greater evil than the human.
So, Why Not Destroy the Creation?
In Genesis 6-9 we read of Noah and the Great Flood that the Lord sends to destroy the earth. When I read of what’s happening in Nigeria or Syria or some other place, I think, “Why not wipe the whole thing away, Lord? Why not stop all the killing?”
For people like me, living comfortable lives in comfortable places, it’s easy to be troubled by the Lord’s decision to kill everyone. But if we were living in the midst of the kind of suffering and misery and murder that’s happening in Syria or the Borno state in Nigeria, would we be praying for God just to end it all?
When we honestly contemplate the violence of which the human creature is capable it seems that God was right: the slate needs to be wiped clean.
But the Creation’s Still Here
So, why didn’t the Lord finish the job and completely destroy our entire race?
The Deadly Mix
The human is a mix of the brutal and the beautiful, of violence and humor. While murder was happening in Nigeria (and many other places), there was an NFL playoff game yesterday between Dallas and Gren Bay. After Dez Bryant’s remarkable catch was controversially overruled by the officials, someone posted on Twitter:
NFL catch rules are absurd. "Even though it looked like he caught it, he hadn't accepted the ball into his heart. Therefore, incomplete."
— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) November 25, 2013
The same creature that is capable of the murders in Nigeria is also capable of a wry, funny observation in 140 characters or less. That tweet by Brandon McCarthy is just about perfect, isn’t it?
Plus a “Bro Country” Mashup
An aspiring country music songwriter named Greg Todd wanted to prove that there is a simple formula that the writers of the top “Bro Country” songs all follow. So, he laid the songs over each other in an audio mashup, and made a video of it:
The same creature that is capable of murder and writing witty 140 character sentences is also capable of astute analysis of a pop cultural phenomenon. And capable of putting his analysis together in a way that pokes good-natured fun at the industry in which he wants to succeed.
And Then We Have The “Ghost Boy”
Martin Pistorius lived a real-life nightmare: he was totally unable to move for 12 years, but everyone thought he was in a vegetative state. For 12 years, he was a prisoner in his own body, able only to control his thoughts.His story is one of the more remarkable (and blackly humorous) stories I’ve heard in years. At one point, Mr. Pistorius talks about how much he hated the television show Barney that was always on the tv in front of him, day after day; his admission made me laugh out loud. (Listen to the 11 minute NPR story yourself.)
Maybe God Knew
I’m not saying that a funny Tweet, entertaining YouTube video, and the testimony of a man imprisoned in his own body somehow balance out the horrifying murders in Nigeria. I’m merely pointing out how strange a creature is the human: all of the different examples above are the actions of the exact same species.
Maybe God knew what a bizarre mix the human was. Maybe, while hating the sin in the human, the Lord also loved the humor, invention, perseverance, and love of which the human was capable.
Maybe God isn’t through with us yet.