Why Humans Love Fire

Fire is one of the most destructive forces on the planet. Each year it is responsible for devastation all over the world. Additionally, our most common image of Hell is a lake of flame. Despite this, mankind is fascinated by fire. People burn wood for fun and spend time sitting around staring into the embers of campfires. Even in modern houses with sufficient heating, fireplaces are often prominently featured.

Since fire is so dangerous and closely associated with the diabolic, it seems illogical to love it. We don’t have such a fascination with other natural dangers, like tornadoes or hurricanes.  It may be that fire appeals to men because it also represents the redemptive work that man can and should play in creation.

The first thing the Bible reveals to us is that God is a creator who can bring good things out of nothing—and also can take the good things He already made and create even better things. Before the Fall, all Creation was good. After the Fall this was no longer the case. Death had entered the world and man would never again be able to return to Eden. However, this did not change God’s love of us. He used something in His Creation, fig leaves, to make garments that mitigated the shame of the fall. Man, being made in the image of God, was designed to imitate Him. That means that, like Him, we should be using Creation to make good things.

Looking around at our world, we have been able to build incredible things out of God’s Creation despite the pervasive damage of sin. Many elements of Creation that God designed for our good have been perverted by the Enemy into agents of our destruction. One the forces that seems to best suit the enemy’s purposes is fire. It is inherently destructive and consumes nearly everything in its path. However, in spite of its destructive nature, we have been able to redeem fire into a creative force for good. It allows us to work with metal, cook food that would otherwise be inedible, and perform countless other tasks.

This is a good thing—and perhaps more of a good thing than we know. The greatest demonstrations of God’s power always involve taking something used for evil and bringing good out of it. This was first prefigured by Joseph in the Old Testament. His brothers intended to kill him, but God used this evil to bring about their whole family’s salvation. The ultimate redemptive act, of course, was Christ on the cross, as an unjust death brought life for those who deserved death.

On a much smaller scale, our redemption of fire imitates this redemptive work of God. Although all Creation is inherently good, some parts of Creation have been so twisted by the Enemy’s malice and our sin that they seem to lose much of this goodness. By using this element of Creation to bring about good things in spite of its fallen nature, we imitate our Father, who is always working to bring good out of evil. Something as simple as a campfire can and should remind us of our role in redeeming our fallen world.