These thoughts began with the vampire bat. My son and I watched five episodes of the NPR Youtube channel, Skunk Bear, and I finished this episode (Vampire Bats) with one prevailing question, ‘Is creation always useful?’
The question they were asking is one of ethics. If humanity found that the vampire bat, instead of having some inherently good value to human beings only brought rabies, death to livestock, and liabilities to human kind, would it be okay to force the extinction of a species? Studies had shown that much to their dismay, the vampire bat did not offer a positive contribution that they could pinpoint. Other, far less deadly, bats were sufficient in controlling the insect population. For all intents and purposes, the vampire bat was of no use. Meanwhile, it was a menace to all!
Which leads to my question, does all creation have to exist to be useful? For me, this question has many implications.
Our lives have become rather utilitarian, no? Sometimes I consider my own value or the value of my writing only through the lens of productivity, contribution to society, influence among my peers. Unproductive days lead me to wonder if I am the cog in the industrial revolution of modern life, lacking value to the current of modernity and societal change. In the very least, possibly, I’m coasting on others contributions, not pulling my weight, lazily sucking air in a consumeristic age.
Is our only value in what we produce? Like the vampire bat, do I deserve extinction when I am no longer of use to others? What if I age, lose my mind or my physical abilities fail to propel me out the door of my home, does my very existence bring meaning to the world? If even the rocks can cry out to worship our Lord, why can’t my value rest in my being artwork in His canvas of creation. Even when my skin is sagging and my eyes are the palest blue, do I not display a certain beauty to the world? Am I not still a walking miracle of God as my heart beats and my eyes blink? Even riddled with the diseases of this world, do you not experience the compassion of God while holding my feeble hand?
Truly there is a mandate to be fruitful and multiply, to steward the earth, to sub-create using the elements that He already created (for there are no new substances unless derived from His creation). Still God rested on the 7th day and saw that everything that He created was very good, even though sands lay scattered without the building of a sand castle and the rocks lay deeply hidden in the earth unused for structures to protect and impress. And the world was beautiful and had value, why, because God created it and infused it with His artistry.