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Giving the trumpet a certain sound

February 2005

Tsunami Disaster

A 9.0 earthquake near the Indonesian island of Sumatra on December 26 generated tsunami waves that devastated coastal sections of several Southeast Asia countries. The U.S. Geological Survey on their web site reported: "This is the fourth largest earthquake in the world since 1900 and is the largest since the 1964 Prince William Sound, Alaska earthquake. The tsunami caused more casualties than any other in recorded history." (http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqinthenews/2004/usslavl)

BANDA ACEH. Indonesia Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz on Sunday wrapped up a visit to Indonesia, where officials along the obliterated Sumatran coast reported finding 5,000 more bodies, raising the death toll in one of the world's worst natural disasters to more than 162,000. ("Tsunami Death Toll Rises Above 162,000," FOXNews.com, Jan. 16, 2005)

The Washington Post told some of the ominous first moments:

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- Christe Perera's first thought was of cricket.

Perhaps that wasn't surprising. He loved the game, played it every chance he got on the narrow beach just outside the shack where he lived with his wife and two children, in a shantytown just south of the Sri Lankan capital. That morning, he had been watching a televised match between Sri Lanka and New Zealand when he first got word that something strange was happening to the sea.

Stepping outside to investigate, Perera, 33, stared in amazement and then delight as the water withdrew toward the horizon, revealing a plane of smooth white sand. Finally, he remembers thinking a decent place to play.

So began a natural calamity of almost unimaginable dimensions. All around the periphery of the Indian Ocean last Sunday morning, on the heavily populated border between land and sea, people were going about their lives in the most prosaic and familiar of ways: shopping for vegetables, watching cricket on television, hauling in fishing nets, lounging at poolside. Then that border shifted, the land merged with the sea and the world would never seem quite the same. ("In an Instant, the Land Merged With the Sea," washingtonpost.com, Jan.2, 2005)

Inspired Commentary

Disasters of the tsunami magnitude tend to call into question the basic stability of the earth itself. The Bible indicates not only that there will be signs of Christ's return in physical events but that the return itself will involve cataclysm.

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. (Luke 21:25-27)

And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain arid island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Rev. 6:14-17)

Reflecting on 2004

Fox News recently listed their top 10 news stories from the year 2004. After giving the USA presidential election the top place for 2004, Iraq and the war on terror got the number 2 spot. Number 3 was the scandal involving the United Nations' supervised oil-for-food program involving Iraq. Number 4 was the massacre at Brelan, Russia (1000 deaths), Number 7 was the terrorist attack on commuter trains in Spain. Number 9 was the destruction and death caused by four major hurricanes that hit Florida and the Caribbean. Number 10 was the trials of Martha Steward and Scott Peterson.

That makes 7 out of 10 that illustrate the death, destruction, and sin that characterized the news headlines during 2004.

Number 6 on the list (the U.S. government's failings related to the September 11, 2001 terror attack as analyzed in a detailed report released recently) was not that good either:

"Your government failed you. Those entrusted with protecting you failed you," said Bush and Clinton's former counterterrorism adviser, Richard Clarke.

"If anything might have helped stop 9/11, it would have been better information about threats inside the United States," testified Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice.

The panel went on to say that even three years after the attacks, America still was not safe and that panelists "do not believe it is possible to defeat all terrorist attacks against Americans, every time and everywhere."

The group had 37 recommendations for preventing future attacks, including the creation of a national counterterrorism center to analyze all terror data from the CIA, FBI and Department of Homeland Security, as well as a national intelligence director to oversee intelligence activity. Congress passed and Bush signed into law an intelligence reform bill in December that enacted many of the recommendations.

Inspired Commentary

While not wishing to give up on trying to make this world a better place to live, it seems it would be better to focus a little more on the next one:

The law of God is made void. We see and hear of confusion and perplexity, want and famine, earthquakes and floods; terrible outrages will be committed by men; passion, not reason, bears sway. The wrath of God is upon the inhabitants of the world, who are fast becoming as corrupt as were the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. Already fire and flood are destroying thousands of lives and the property that has been selfishly accumulated by the oppression of the poor. The Lord is soon to cut short His work and put an end to sin. (Testimonies, v. 8, p. 49)

Attempts to Create Life

The Los Alamos National Laboratory has awarded a $5 million grant to a group of researchers whose goal is to create a brand new life form from inanimate molecules.

If Rasmussen, who first started contemplating protocells seven years ago, and his colleagues succeed, they will have crossed a threshold, bestowing on humankind powers that now belong exclusively to nature (or to God, depending on your beliefs).

Many of these scientists are trying to solve the oldest puzzle in science: How did we get here? What combination of inanimate molecules led, four billion years ago, to the first microscopic creature, and from there to the riot of diversity that is life on earth? ("Life Built to Order," Popular Science, Feb. 2005, p. 66)

Inspired Commentary

The strange creatures existing before the flood are perhaps an evidence of rebellious man's attempts at independence from God and ultimately to be like God and even in place of God.

Not all the wisdom and skill of man can produce life in the smallest object in nature. It is only through the life which God Himself has imparted, that either plant or animal can live. (Steps to Christ, p. 67)

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