“God is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—He remains faithful forever. She upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry . . . .” – Psalm 146:6-7
Are you prepared for a world without bacon? Because that’s what Isaiah’s vision of the peaceable kingdom promises us. Not just that enemies will get along, but that the entire natural order will change. God gives food to the hungry, says the Psalmist, and until now, for a whole bunch of the world’s living animals, the food God has given has been other living animals. But not forever, says Isaiah.
Someday, somehow, the lion will start eating straw. The wolves won’t hunt the lambs, and the bears will eat grass. Which is to say, the predators will stop being predatory. They won’t need predation anymore; maybe they won’t even have the urge. This sounds nice, I guess, but think about what it would mean, really, to go from Tennyson’s “nature, red in tooth and claw” to Isaiah’s nature, green in tongue and paw. It would require not just a change of attitude for the predators, or a change in desire. For most of them it would require a complete change in anatomy. God who gives food to the hungry will also have to give an extra stomach or two to the non-ungulates if they’re going to start eating grass. It’ll need to be a near-total makeover for the predators.
And you know who the world’s apex predator is, right? The one that nobody else can beat? It’s you, or at least your species. I know, you feel like a lamb most of the time, pushed around by the world. But the truth is, on an evolutionary scale, you outwolf the wolves by a mile. What’s God going to need to overhaul in you before you stop being a predator?
O God, I’m not sure I’m ready for all that you’ve promised. It’s gonna be a big change. But if you insist, I’m willing to give the Tofurky a shot.
Quinn G. Caldwell is a father, husband, homesteader and preacher living in rural upstate New York. His most recent book is a series of daily reflections for Advent and Christmas called All I Really Want: Readings for a Modern Christmas. Learn more about it and find him on Facebook at Quinn G. Caldwell.