Marine research is about showing ‘the hidden things of God’ – and its goal is the ‘healing of the ocean’. That was the message from A Rocha UK’s own marine expert Robert Sluka at a recent Christians in Science conference.
‘Ultimately, we’re pointing to the Father, being careful to glorify him,’ Robert told more than 30 delegates at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. Reflecting on several Bible passages, Robert focused on marine research at A Rocha Kenya.
‘While specifically thinking through marine work, the ideas presented would be applicable for all disciplines,’ he said later. Robert’s paper concluded that the ultimate goal of marine conservation is the ‘healing of the ocean’ so that it praises God as new creation. Lively discussion and questions followed, with many expressing appreciation for A Rocha taking on marine conservation.
‘One way of looking at it is that creation praises God when it functions as it was created to function,’ he added. ‘One place we see this spelled out in Scripture is in Genesis 1 where the sea is blessed and commanded to be fruitful.’ He believes this highlights the importance of studying the ocean in places where impacts are minimal and in setting up protected areas where the ocean can begin to function as it was intended to.
Those ideals can be seen in action at the A Rocha Kenya Field Study Centre, ‘utilising science to make discoveries and then revealing them to our neighbours far and wide in such a way that we hope God is glorified’. Recent investigations have revealed an abundance of rare coral. So the centre is working towards its conservation. ‘These rockpools serve as places of education,’ said Robert, ‘revealing these hidden things to those who might not have the chance to understand.’
They have also made a number of observations of vulnerable marine creatures such as sharks, rays and guitarfish. ‘We seek then, to uncover these hidden things of God through our research,’ Robert explained, ‘and then become a light on a hill, revealing these hidden things in a way that brings God’s kingdom on earth (including the ocean) as it is in heaven.’
A Rocha is developing and collecting resources to help Christians think theologically about the ocean. The full text and other resources can be found at http://www.arocha.org/ke-en/work/research/marine/faith.html. (Photo: Robert Sluka)