Creation Sunday Theme for 2004
Oceans occupy 70 percent of the Earth's surface, and are home to over 90 percent of all life on Earth. But somehow, when we talk about the Earth, we usually are referring to just that 30 percent of the Earth's surface we call land. And when we think about life, our thoughts focus on the 10 percent of land-based life. We forget about oceans or feel overwhelmed by them, thinking of them as invincible.
God's oceans may indeed be vast, but they are not invincible to our behavior. For instance, populations of large predatory fish (such as tuna, swordfish, cod, and flounder) have been reduced to 10 percent of pre-industrial levels. Nearly one third of the world's fisheries have collapsed or are near collapse, and about half of the world's fisheries are being fished at their maximum level. Many fish are caught before they are old enough to reproduce.
Current estimates are that ten percent of all coral reefs are degraded beyond recovery. Thirty percent are in critical condition and may die within 10 to 20 years. If current pressures are allowed to continue unabated, 60 percent of the world's coral reefs may die completely by 2050. The destruction of coral reefs is indeed unfortunate, because they harbor more than 25 percent of all known marine fish, as well as a total species diversity containing more phyla than rainforests.
Sewage is the largest source of contamination by volume of God's oceans. Over 3.2 million "life-years" (a year of productive life lost through death or disability) are lost each year due to contaminated coastal waters, creating a health problem of global proportions. The resulting economic costs are approximately $13 billion a year.
God's oceans are vast, but not invincible. Indeed, in many ways they are fragile and delicate. While the current state of God's oceans could tempt us to despair, as Christians we must remember that the One who walked upon the water is ultimately the Lord of Lords, and He has empowered us to care for His waters.
As followers of Christ, the protector and Sustainer of all life, we cannot forget His oceans, nor can we think of them as invincible and not in need of our care and protection. That He has reconciled all things is our hope — and what we are called to participate in.
For more information on evangelical perspectives on the oceans, visit: creationcare.org