Geoffrey Robson loved to fly–not in an airplane but in a wing suit. Robson was an engineer and mathematician making a science out of the sport of BASE jumping. BASE jumping includes jumping off a mountain while wearing a special winged suit and riding the wind currents before landing with a parachute.
In 2002 BASE jumping statistics were determined to have an overall fatality rate of one per sixty participants. Despite such sobering statistics, watching videos of this extreme sport can be quite exhilarating. There is something in human nature that celebrates the breaking of the natural law of gravity.
When Robson jumped, he wore a special instrument he created to measure speed and altitude to give him an uncanny accuracy in predicting flights. It was said if anyone in the world could predict a safe flight it was Robson. There are two videos of Robson below. One is from Zurich Minds where Robson explains the science of wingsuits and the other video is of his last successful flight in his native South Africa. Robson took the same path a week later and lost his life at the age of 30. Colleagues say Robson died because he was off by only 2 meters.
Nobody needs to arrest BASE Jumpers for breaking the law. Flying doesn’t break an imposed law, but the natural law of gravity. Robson made it his life work to find a way around this natural law. Robson was a brave person who was well aware of the risks he took, yet it’s sad he died so young.
We take risks every day that are just as dangerous as BASE jumping. Did you know that sinning is breaking a natural law?
And when sin is allowed to grow,
it gives birth to death.
For the wages paid by sin are death;
-Romans 6:23, Weymouth NT
Even when BASE jumpers live through the fall and land in the hospital nobody comes to arrest them. That’s because no one needs to punish people for getting hurt. In a similar way, God sees the injuries we sustain from sin. It’s never God’s desire to punish us, but to teach us how to live healthier lives. Jesus came to live among us and show us the way out of our selfish habits. God wants to heal us so we can be safe from sin.
The essence of God’s character is other-centered love. Whether we define God’s law as the Ten Commandments or the Two Great Commandments, they all fit under the Greatest Commandment of Love (1 Corinthians 13). Sin is the opposite of love. One way to sum up sin is selfishness. Whenever we act selfishly, we are breaking God’s law of other-centered love. You don’t even have to believe in God to realize that love brings life and selfishness brings death. Even non-Christians realize this principle.
Just as with other natural laws, humans can get away with sin/selfishness for a while, but ultimately sin ends in death. We might not lose our lives immediately, but the risk of sin is very real and no wingsuit can be designed to protect us from the fall. Our only safety is to be born again by the God’s Spirit and allow Jesus to give us a new heart.
And I will give you a new heart,
and I will put a new spirit in you.
I will take out your stony, stubborn heart
and give you a tender, responsive heart.
-Ezekiel 36:26, NLT