Minnesota Bridge Collapse Challenges 'Stable' Assumptions

The Minneapolis bridge that collapsed without warning is a sobering metaphor for our own lives and "spiritual perils," said a prominent evangelical Thursday.

In an age of "technological marvels" and "engineering achievements," people expect buildings to stay on the ground, airplanes to say in the air, and bridges to hold together wrote Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in his online blog.

"The sudden and catastrophic collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis – just as rush hour was coming to a close – challenges some of our most comforting assumptions," reflected Mohler.

On Wednesday, an interstate bridge just blocks from the heart of Minneapolis collapsed, killing at least four people, according to CNN Thursday. At least 79 people were injured and over 20 people are still missing as searchers continue to comb the Mississippi River for the victims. Officials said Thursday they expected the death toll to rise.

"The people who drove onto that bridge had no advance warning of its collapse," commented Mohler, who is often invited to popular news shows such as "Larry King Live" to represent the Christian voice. "They made no conscious decision to embrace danger or to put their lives on the line."

The eight-lane I-35W bridge, a major Minneapolis artery, collapsed into the river in less than four seconds, bringing with it dozens of cars as well as construction workers that were in the midst of repairing two lanes on the bridge.

A bus carrying over 50 children returning from a field trip barely made it across the bridge before it collapsed.

"If it would have been a second later, any second before we would have been in the water or under the pavement," said Jeremy Hernandez, a staff member on the bus, according to CNN.

Christine Swift, whose 10-year-old daughter was on the bus, recalled, "She was screaming, 'The bridge collapsed,'", according to The Associated Press.

All the children got off the bus safely, but about ten of the children were injured, officials said.

Mohler in response to the tragedy pointed to the well known American Protestant minister, theologian, and author Jonathan Edwards who preached about the uncertainty of life in his famous sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God."

"It is no security to a natural man, that he is now in health, and that he does not see which way he should now immediately go out of the world by any accident, and that there is no visible danger in any respect in his circumstances," said Edwards.

"The manifold and continual experience of the world in all ages, shows this is no evidence, that a man is not on the very brink of eternity, and that the next step will not be into another world," he preached. "The unseen, unthought-of ways and means of persons going suddenly out of the world are innumerable and inconceivable."

As a result of the unpredictability of life, Edwards emphasized that everyone "out of Christ" should "now awake and fly from the wrath to come."

The collapse does not appear to be terrorism-related, but rather the 40-year-old bridge was "structurally deficient," reported the Minneapolis Star Tribune citing the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Bridge Inventory in 2005.

"Christians will be praying for the citizens of the Twin Cities, and especially for those with loved ones directly involved in this tragedy," assured Mohler. "We should pray for the churches of Minneapolis and pray that God will use faithful churches to minister grace and truth amidst this tragedy and turmoil."