I wrote this one on a lovely summer day, walking across Michigan State University’s campus. I think it sprang from observing a spider building its web on a bridge. Since Spring is here, at least in terms of the solar calendar, it seemed like a good one to share.
This sonnet is actually one of my favorites, if only because I remember its writing, but I’ve hesitated to publish it here simply due to the theology of creation inherent in it. I don’t want to get into a debate about creation vs. evolution; I’ll state simply that I believe in a God powerful enough that if he chose to create the earth in seven days, he could have, but if I get to Heaven and find out that He used evolution to do so, it won’t bother me one bit. (My friend Lindsey, who is much smarter at evolutionary science than I am, once stated that she didn’t believe God would trick us by using young earth creation to design a universe that looks so old, which is a stance that I also appreciate greatly.)
I bring this up to say that either way, I do believe that mankind is the pinnacle of creation in that we are the only creatures bearing God’s image, and bearing a soul. And while every living creature has ecological importance, humans are the ones responsible for caring for the ecology, and the only ones who can screw it up (see also invasive species, like the zebra mussels that are destroying my beloved Great Lakes). I’ve obviously taken a theological stance here on our rulership over creation and a very few of its implications, but I don’t think it’s at odds with ecology.
Originally written July 5, 2005
I wonder if the insects understand
That humans have received authority
To rule o’er all the creatures of the land;
To act as guides and guardians of the sea.
And does a mountain goat, on stony ground,
Know we are meant as shepherds of its kind?
And does the fearsome tiger, prowling round,
To human laws and sacraments give mind?
And does a rock know it’s merely a tool
To raise civilization’s citadels?
And does a tree find humans to be cruel
When, just as fuel for fire, its kind is felled?
As animals know not the royal rod,
So we know not the sovereignty of God.