As a youngster, early in the nuclear age, I remember a minister saying, "For the first time, man has the ability to destroy God's created order." More than half a century later we can still destroy the planet, of course. What we can't do, it turns out, is stop the leak.And with that leak, one marine ecologist recently said, "We have for the first time destroyed a sea." The Washington Post reports this morning that oil has now hit the shore in Mississippi and Alabama as well as Louisiana. 75,920 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico have been closed to fishing, the paper says. 17,000 U.S. troops have been deployed but are apparently helpless. A hundred thousand more, I suppose, would be helpless too. This is an awful disaster, of course, the worst of its kind I can remember. Is there someone we should blame? Was British Petroleum careless or inefficient when it drilled the well? We don't know yet. We may never know. Can it be fixed or do we simply watch the oil spread and the fish and shellfish die until, if ever, the well runs dry? We don't know that yet either. What we've learned, it seems to me, is that we don't control the planet. Things can happen, by accident or design, that we can't fix, can't handle. A hard lesson, but a useful one, don't you think?
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