News from the British Geographical Survey revealing vast water supplies under Africa are fascinating. Apparently there is oodles of the stuff down there, with a 75m thick band of water lying under much of northern Africa. Getting it out of the ground is more of a challenge, but I'm sure not beyond the wit of man.
As well as the survey itself being interesting, the response it has generated is telling. A quick look at the comments on the BBC news site reveal sentiments that seem to regard the discovery of water as just one more thing to be depressed about. This comment is typical: Like all other "fossil" resources, once this 70 years of water is gone, it's gone. Africa has the same problem as the rest of the world - unsustainable levels of population which continue to grow at an unsustainable rate. African governments could take a lead in showing that population reduction policies are the pragmatic and compassionate solution to most of the worlds most serious problems.
To me comments like this seem perverse. Rather than, "Hey - this is great news! Just another example of the earths potential to surprise with the abundance of its provision," we get a gloomy, "This will only make things worse." You know what will happen if the aquifers are tapped and then in the best part of a century run dry? Everyone will die? No - we'll find some more water somewhere else! There is no shortage of water on the blue planet - its just that some of it is in places where we can't get at it easily, or is salty. Those are problems that can be overcome. But in the meanwhile, 70 years of water security could be instrumental in transforming a dry region.
The perversity of negative reactions to good news is just one more example of the reality of the doctrine of total depravity. There is a grain of truth in the negativity - a recognition that, in the end, the problem is people. However, this honest recognition is twisted so that people are then made the enemy - whose numbers need to be reduced. (And the eugenic, colonialist mindset this reveals when such comments are directed towards a continent like Africa always leave a sour taste in my mouth and should sound a note of alarm for us all.) Apart from the demonstrable fact that when standards of living improve the number of children people have decreases, and therefore exploitation of resources that will increase standards of living should be welcomed rather than feared, the doctrine of total depravity shows us where the problem is actually located. Rather than fewer people, what we need is less sin! The worlds most serious problems are problems of human sin, so it is sin that needs to be fixed.
All of which is rather good news because, 1. Sin can be fixed, thanks to the power of Christ over sin, and, 2. There is plenty of water under Africa! So I am left in the place of struggling to see the cloud to this particular silver lining. It looks like good news all the way to me!
A New Name - [image: A New Name primary image] Sadly, I have had very little time to blog recently. Life seems to have got very busy over the last few months. I am hop...
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