God and Oil part 2

Posted on June 22, 2010 · Posted in Apologetics, Current Events, Worldview

In a recent post I raised the question about God’s involvement with the oil spill in the Gulf. There are at least two perspectives from which to consider this question. The first perspective is to consider if God is actively involved and if he is, to what extent. The second perspective is to consider whether the human agents that are part of this spill could have benefited from considering relevant biblical principles. A related issue is how to follow the direction of Deuteronomy 6:4-7 in talking about the spill with your family.



Drilling for oil in undersea deposits is a challenging task. These deposits may lie several miles below the ocean floor. So how is God directly involved? First, He is the one who placed the oil in these fields. He is the One who bought all of the individuals involved in this spill together (Acts 17:24-28). It is in him that we live, move and have our being. Then, there is the reality of Romans 8:28 that God does work all things together for good for those that love him. Without God’s active control this promise would be meaningless. This way of thinking about human events is not common or popular among our political leaders today. But this was not always the case. Peter Lillback’s number one national bestseller, George Washington’s Sacred Fire, is a powerful testimony to the rock solid trust in the Providence of God held by many of our Founding Fathers. While it is true that Deism infected the thoughts of leaders like Thomas Jefferson, it is also true that many others were devoted to the God of the Bible.

We can establish that the Bible teaches that God has been and is actively in control of the spill event
in the Gulf of Mexico. Colossians 1:15-20, Job 38-42 and Daniel 2:21 & 4:34-37 are among the many passages which also teach of God’s control of the events of human history. But what does this mean? Because of the spill are we to conclude that is wrong to drill for oil in the Gulf? This is where the second perspective comes in. Are there truths in Scripture that were ignored in this situation? This was covered previously, so let me reprint this for you:

Today, the Creation Mandate has been replaced with a technological mandate. People do not ask should a particular task be undertaken so that God would be glorified. All that is asked now is can we accomplish such and such a task. And if it can be done, there is the mandate that it should be done. This is a dangerous way to think. It is dangerous because we live after the fall of man into sin. When Adam fell he subjected not only the human race to darkness and misery, but also the creation. As Romans 8 teaches, the creation itself has been groaning under the weight of sin. In other words, creation has been negatively impacted. Among other things this means that things will not always work the way they are intended to, including oil drilling equipment. Add to this the component of the selfish sinful ways of man and you have a recipe for disaster.

Here is what this means practically. Biblical humility teaches that given the best of intentions the noblest of plans for good, and the most careful planning and foresight possible, there is no guarantee that some catastrophic event would not have happened. On the natural side there is the possibility of rare category 5 hurricanes, undersea earthquakes, unknown powerful underwater currents, an unexpected rupture of the earth’s crust and other unlikely but possible occurrences too numerous to list. On the human side there is the possibility of faulty equipment and design specifications that were not comprehensive enough to account for the unexpected. You can see that there is potential for trouble even if all the human effort involved is as pure as could be.

But the Bible also teaches that man is anything but pure and selfless. We should not be shocked that costs might be cut to increase profit. It is possible that some people could be motivated by exploitation or greed. Then, there is the human element of revenge and rage on the individual scale. On a larger scale actions such as foreign or corporate sabotage or terrorist acts cannot be ruled out. 3,500 oil rigs make an appealing target.

The Bible does give an essential perspective about drilling for oil in the Gulf or anywhere else. Even if the best of safety precautions were followed, it is still arrogant for governmental and industry leaders not to seek God’s will and providential care for the safe operation of each of these 3,500 wells. God is to be acknowledged in all

This is the perspective is what you must teach your children. The oil spill is in the news. Oil covered pelicans are pictured everywhere. This is part of the Deuteronomy 6 experience of walking along the road of life. What are you saying to yourself and to your children about this spill? Do your children view this spill as a random out of control event that was caused by the recklessness of industry? If they do, they are missing the perspective of God’s involvement in this spill. I will not pretend that I have any knowledge of God’s predetermined plan beyond what we see has happened. But I do know that God is in this to bring glory to himself. Of that much we can be sure.

Perhaps God is showing us how good and gracious he is. Can you imagine if there were 100 such explosions among
the oil wells in the Gulf – if there were 100 wells spewing oil with no immediate hope of stopping the flow? Why isn’t this happening? Has the government or the oil industry displayed the skill and leadership these last 64 days that would cause us to think that it is their careful management that has kept other wells from suffering the same fate as the Deep Water Horizon well? Or are all the other wells functioning properly because of something else, like the good providence of God?

This is the opportunity that Deuteronomy 6 urges you to take when your children have questions about oil soaked pelicans. Please let me know your thoughts.