Saturday, June 17, 2023

Visible Evidence of the Divine Designer

 For some people there is insufficient proof for the existence of God. We acknowledge that the concept of proof is often subjective. Some people are more readily persuaded than others. The concept of God’s existence was a metaphysical issue even for the people of Bible times. I Corinthians 2:14 states, “The natural person does not accept the things of the spirit of God, for they are folly to them, and he is not able to understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (ESV)

The first letter of Paul to the Thessalonian Christians expresses a modern scientific mandate: “…test everything; hold fast what is good.” (I Thess. 5:21 ESV). As we observe many phenomena in our natural world, we have been given appropriate scriptural advice. It was an exhortation to follow empirical scientific principles. “Test everything” is a formula for discovering evidence for what is true. This formula certainly includes careful observational skills. The mandate was true in biblical times; it remains true today.

Devotional volumes frequently offer advice for discovering the reality of God. Their advice implores us to carefully observe the wonders of our universe from the tiniest insects to the vastness of outer space with its billions of galactic structures. We learn about God by observing what He created. Some humans are reinforced in their belief in God’s existence by observing the wonders of God’s creation. For others, these observations do not rise to the level of sufficient proof.  

Insects are members of the phylum arthropoda which accounts for 84% of life forms on our planet. Insects comprise 90% of arthropods. There are approximately one million insect species already catalogued with an additional million+ yet to be discovered and catalogued. The most plentiful order (a taxonomic term) of insects consists of an incredible 350,000 species of beetles. There are 28 additional orders of insects with progressively smaller numbers of species. We do not mention these statistics in an effort to create an army of entomologist researchers within our readership. Instead, we hope our readers will exult in the creative diversity of life on Planet Earth. Our planet teems with life—plentiful, attractive, beautiful, diverse life!

It is easier to believe in the reality of God’s existence if we become empiricists. If our readers are fascinated by our statistics on the plentitude of beetles, we suggest they search out graphic material as well as printed literature on the topic. The beauty of beetles, their diversity, color, morphology, and functionality are staggering. We do not minimize the value of the same types of traits for other animals in phylum arthropoda. When we narrow our focus solely to beetles, we are astonished by what we discover.  Why did God create so many beetles? Many scientists have been asking similar questions for many years. Beetles have served many functions within our complex ecosystems. It is doubtful we understand a small fraction of beetle function.

Another topic atheists and agnostics have posed relates to the enormity of the universe and its billions of galaxies. Was God a wasteful Creator? Let us speculate on proposals Dr. Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe has offered many times in his writings: “The universe is mind-bogglingly massive…..If the universe were ever so slightly less massive….physical life of any conceivable kind would be impossible. On the other hand, if the universe were ever so slightly more massive… planet like Earth and no physical life would be possible if the universe were not precisely as massive as it is…..the universe must possess its precise mass/mass density for any planet and any physical life to possibly exist.” Designed to the Core, RTB Press, 2022.

Our tiny Planet Earth and its millions of different species would not exist without a massive universe as we know it. “The Lord has made everything for its purpose…..” (Proverbs 16:4a ESV)

In the New Testament Book of Romans the Apostle Paul instructed us about the God of Creation: “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made…..” (Romans 1:20 ESV)

From small beetles to a massive universe, we rejoice in God’s omniscience.  



Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Bees--Highly Beneficial Insects


We recently highlighted a few statistics concerning insects. We stated that as many as 97% of the world’s insects are beneficial to humanity. This statistic does not begin to highlight the scope of insect roles. We may wish to consider the monetary or life-sustaining health benefits insect species provide. It would be difficult to quantify the benefit to humanity with a percentage figure.

Insects are near the base of many food chains. They are primary consumers; most insects feed on plants. Bees feed on and collect plant products. They produce honey and pollinate food crops. All individual food chains in an ecosystem constitute the food web. Because of the interrelationships of all living things on the planet, the benefits of insects, especially bees, may bespeak the virtual survival of the entire human race. A careful study of the interrelationships of living things within our planet’s many ecosystems reminds us of the wondrous complexity of the design features programmed by the Creator.

We recently reviewed a video dealing with the fascinating topic of bees. This video is a Moody science film produced in 1962 entitled City of the Bees. The idea of reinforcing science knowledge with the principles of theology was a relatively novel concept at the time. Moody Science films made substantive references to the instructions of God in the moral and physical spheres, especially in tandem with scientific knowledge.

There are about 20,000 species of bees on Earth. The City of the Bees video states bees are the most important insect in the world. Few would disagree. There is substantial diversity among bee species. Honeybees are social insects, but only about 9% of bee species are highly social. The term eusociality means “a high degree of sociality.” They exhibit (1) division of labor (a highly integrated labor force), (2) cooperative care of broods, and (3) generational overlap. They manifest some unique behavioral traits more typical of highly intelligent creatures such as man. One example is described below.

The City of the Bees video highlighted Karl von Frisch (1886-1982) who shared a Nobel prize for his specific studies in animal behavior (ethology). Von Frisch studied honeybee behavior such as their ability to direct fellow honeybees to a food source. Scout bees were filmed during their unique body “waggle” which directionally signaled hive members where to find food, as well as how far away the food was from their present hive location. The “waggle” dance of the worker bee was correctly interpreted by hive-mates—a skill almost as remarkable as the worker bees’ directional signaling. A polarized light compass is built into the hive-mates’ visual organs to aid in direction-finding.

Honeybees have ability to control their hive population in various ways. The video states that some of the honeybees’ instinctive behavioral patterns are somewhat ruthless. For example, the queen bee and workers are summarily disposed of when their role in the hive has been fulfilled. Instinctive responses are appropriate for the purposes of the immediate welfare of hive-mates, but it may not be appropriate in every case for humanity. Without them, the planet’s population may ultimately suffer disastrous famine. Humanity receives instruction and wisdom from natural phenomena, including the ruthlessness mentioned above.

The video explains that God has given the human race rules and behavioral guidelines such as the ten commandments and other scriptures. Along with divine “rules” provided in His Word, humanity has been gifted with free will. Humans may freely choose to obey or disobey God’s moral and behavioral mandates. Human free will is a priceless gift from God. In turn, we are gifted with salvation through Christ if we choose by our free will to believe in Him.

Moody Science Films were produced by the Moody Institute of Science. They were also termed Sermons From Science. We fondly recall visiting the 1964-65 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows NY where Moody Bible Institute and Sermons for Science had an attractive pavilion. For readers who are fascinated by the relationship of science and faith, here is a past post dealing with the science/faith link as it relates to Moody Science Films and Sermons From Science: