September 05, 2006

The Crocodile Hunter Is Dead

The world was shocked last week to learn of the death of Australia’s famous “Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin. When one considers all the ways Irwin could have and even should have died over the years, it’s downright bizarre that he died the way he did.

I have been in the waters of the Bahamas with stingrays swimming below me. Their sheer size is intimidating to say the least. Had I known they are given to using their razor sharp “stinger” to spear a threat, I assure you, I never would have even been in the water.

Irwin was never intimidated by the wild ones he approached and that was his undoing. Still, for the Crocodile Hunter to die in such a fashion would be like Evel Knievel dying from a bee sting. But God always has the last word.

I don’t know what Irwin’s faith was like; if there was any sense of reverence much less awe for the very Creator of the creations to which Irwin devoted his life. But I was disturbed to hear him quoted as saying he would “gladly give his life to save the life of an animal.” Lisa Miller—a close friend to Irwin said, “it was his belief, that by interacting with animals he was actually giving people something to love there, that they could feel that the snake or the crocodile was a human…”

That sort of mindset is very appealing in these days of creation-worship where increasingly, man is viewed as the intruder on this planet. But it’s not only wrong headed, it is—frankly--idolatrous.

God became a man—not to save the fuzzy little creatures of the jungles--but to save mankind. He came that man might live eternally with Him; there is no indication that the squirrel flattened by a car will live again and so exchanging a human life, the only creation uniquely invested with the “Imago Dei”--the Image of God--for an animal, no matter how wondrous the creature might be, is to turn the value which God gives to human life alone, upside down.

I am saddened at the loss of Steve Irwin and more so for his wife and two children. Steve constantly pushed the envelope and now his family is paying the postage.

But it didn’t have to be, and that’s the saddest part of all.


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