Two Observations From Alaska

Glacier Bay, Alaska

After a week in and around Alaska, I have two observations.

First, I’ve been surprised by how big nature is here. The views are expansive, the mountains omnipresent and the waters abundant. Look in any direction and then sweep to the right or the left and the horizon never disappoints.

Alaska is the largest state in the union, larger than Texas and California combined. It’s also the most pristine and unexplored. Roads and towns are few and far between, which leads to my second observation.

Second, I’ve been surprised at how small man is here. Alaska’s population is just over 700,00, and more than half live in Anchorage. I’ve been shocked at how few people live in the towns in which we’ve docked, towns like Skagway (862) and Whittier (182). Man has done little to take dominion over this state. His footprint is relatively small and insignificant.

The juxtaposition between the largeness of nature and the smallness of man here is humbling. In contrast, my city has nearly six million people and there is nothing of significance in the way of nature to see. What catches one’s eye there is the expanse of the populated city and the skyscrapers. Man’s dominion is writ large. But in Alaska it’s the opposite.

You would think this would translate into a very religious populace, but its almost the opposite. Alaska is one of the least religious states in the union. Apparently, people don’t really find God in nature, or more accurately, they find Him but they don’t submit to Him.

What they do find, the Apostle Paul said, is accountability. As Paul wrote, God’s existence, power and nature are apparent from His creation so that no man has an excuse not to seek and submit to Him. (Rom. 1:20).

So, Alaska presents a greater reason for accountability to God, and yet people here are less willing to submit to Him. Sounds like a ripe mission field. GS