The sea is something that we rarely consider in our everyday lives, but it is so vast and shapes so much of everything around us - weather, climate, our diet, our products, our history, and our planet! What does the Bible say about it?
"Blue Planet, Blue God" is a book written by a professor of deep sea oceanography and the other is a biblical scholar. As such, I had come to it expecting an interesting and scientifically informed reflection on various biblical references to the sea. It is so much more than that (but certainly not less!) - the authors are not content with mere academic interest but actively challenge the reader, the culture and our place in the world. Much research, reflection and prayer has gone into this, and it is challenging and thought-provoking. With the recent spotlight on plastics in the ocean, this book is very relevant for our time and valuable in helping us think about how we respond to what we are doing to the ocean.
It is divided into nine chapters, each exploring a different aspect of God, the sea and our relationship to it. Every chapter (except for the final chapter) ends with a key message, challenge reflection & discussion and specific action points, making it an excellent choice for discussion in a small group or a book club. This book should be read knowing that it will challenge you in your perspectives on God, life and the world around us, and in so doing change your relationship to all three.
One aspect of "Blue Planet, Blue God" that highly impressed me was its holistic approach. There are many Bible references and insights, with attention taken both to the details and the bigger picture. However, it is also replete with discussion of poetry, science, history, biography and economics, all well researched, with many insightful references for further reading. All of these are woven together with a principal focus on the Bible and how to apply its timeless truths in our world and lives. The style is clear and accessible - you don't have to know the Bible, know anything about the ocean or even necessarily be a Christian to understand and apply the book.
After having read this, I am more deeply convinced of the relevance of the whole Bible to the world and our lives today, which gives me a renewed confidence to approach the more challenging bits of the Bible (even Ezekiel and Job!) and discover truths that practically impact my life and relationship to God and His creation.
I am genuinely challenged in my perspective to be more mindful of the fragility of life - to live (in Welsey's words) "every moment on the brink of eternity". I am also inspired and equipped to make more compassionate and informed choices as a consumer with what God has given me. If you ever wonder about your impact on creation and your responsibility towards it, read this book. Be challenged to "journey beyond the familiar and into the unknown..."
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