Opportunities to give glory to the Creator for the wisdom programmed into His creatures are ample. At a church dinner in the past week our friends shared an event which would inspire joy in the heart of any wildlife observer. Just outside their home they observed three different birds frolicking in their birdbath all at the same time--a cardinal, a robin, and a Baltimore Oriole.
Several days later I headed to my computer to check on behavior in birdbaths in search of a possible story for this faith/science blog. As I sat down, two cardinals fluttered off from our own birdbath not fifteen feet outside my office window, only to be replaced in a few moments by a curious tufted titmouse, and then a pair of goldfinches--all within three or four minutes. Stepping outside my door I heard or saw five or six other types of birds singing or behaving purposefully in our trees. A few minutes later the neighborhood was quiet and almost deserted.
The Old Testament Book of Job provides plentiful examples of animal behavior or natural events which point to God’s wisdom and glory programmed into our observable natural surroundings. One of the most well-known passages is Job 12:7-10: “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you…..Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” Could the birds of spring in northwest Illinois instruct us concerning the need to cooperate even in view of their greatly diverse preferences described in minute detail in bird field guides?
In the world of wildlife, altercations among members of the same species are often more frequent than among members of different species. In springtime this behavior is related to defense of territory or jealousy over a mating partner. In autumn such strife is usually forgotten in exuberant group assemblages, not only within one species, but sometimes in the company of multiple species as well. I must rely on my readers to apply the truth of Job’s assertion that animals teach us.
Two other scriptures speak of additional dimensions of our knowledge of animals. “In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures” (Psalm 104:24). And in turn, those creatures are aware of their creator according to Isaiah 43:20: “The wild animals honor me.” Let us give thanks for the theological truths provided for us in the work of creation.