Have you ever thought how unnatural it is when people ask on Facebook for people to share their natural remedies? You know the kind of thing: a young mom's baby is having a hard time with colic or sleeplessness or a strange rash. So she posts a request for help: "Does anybody know something natural that would help?"

How unnatural is that? To talk with your fingers on a machine to virtual friends?

But the responses come flooding in. Somebody shares that they like some extract from a root dug up deep in the Amazonian rain forest where pesticides have never been sprayed. It's been dug up naturally by the bare hands of local people, and their babies have been problem-free for centuries in regard to this particular ailment.

Of course, by now the internet has spread the word, so this natural product is so popular that it needs a bit of unnatural help to get it up now - mechanical aids to dig it, vehicles to transport it, machinery to process it, plastic pots to put it in, and labels to know what's in the pot. Its terrible smell has been disguised and its coarse texture has been smoothed into a soothing cream, and it no longer has that brown colour that might have made it look like something less appetizing. But the label says it's natural, so it must be.

And now it's available to fortunate young moms in North America. It was flown here specially, carried by an unnatural bird called an airplane. And it can be bought in a health store that specializes in natural products, but which decided that the most natural of selling environments (in a forest) was not as effective as a mall, so they swallowed their pride, suppressed their theoretical disapproval of globalization and relocated 2 stores down the way from Walmart. So now our all-natural mom doesn't have to get the product the natural way, on foot; she can drive and park and not get wet in the rain.

Or perhaps it was ordered on-line. No digging up roots on your hands and knees. Not even soiling yourself with a visit to the temple of consumerism, the mall. Just a nice UPS man wearing his brown uniform (how unnatural is that: to wear a polyester shirt that colour?) to deliver it to the door. In a truck fueled by natural (??) gas.

And at the end of the story, when the young mom puts the natural product in the baby's mouth (or on whatever other part of his anatomy it is supposed to be applied to) she has the warm glow of feeling that her baby has only had the best and naturally she must be a good mom. But she has been conned. The number of unnatural components in the life history of this natural product are almost beyond computation. It is barely more natural than the alternative product she could have bought at the Walmart pharmacy for a tenth of the price - and that came complete with some scientific verification of its proven effectiveness and stringent testing for all kinds of side-effects before it was allowed to appear on the shelves. Not perfect, but perhaps a bit more reliable than the 21st century equivalent of old wives' tales that we call the internet.

But even if the product itself was all-natural, as she has been led to believe, truly natural products have all been tarnished as a result of man's sin. As we saw earlier, creation groans under the weight of being unable to provide what it was intended to provide for humanity. And while we await the new creation, man has been given the task of doing all these unnatural things to find a way to limit the suffering and shortcomings of a fallen world. It is the wonderful blessing of a kind God that he has made man in his image with the capacity to create all kinds of unnatural remedies with the resources and raw materials God provided: to build factories and transportation networks and shopping malls to make solutions readily available, to take root extracts from the rain-forest and understand their chemical properties in order to replicate them in labs and multiply the benefits of those properties to make them accessible to young moms on limited budgets.

Be careful when you say you only want natural products. There is no guilt associated with using man-made products. God made man to make man made products. He knew that nature left to itself, especially in a sin-spoiled world, would engulf us in a perpetual wilderness. Many these days worship mother nature, as if the natural world apart from Christ can save our babies from their various ailments. We are called to worship Father God - the Father who has created children in his image to make the most of his creation for his glory and for the welfare of his large family of children across the globe.

0 comments: