QUANTITY AND QUALITY IN CREATION
BY PASTOR GLENN PEASE
We are sometimes amazed at the fact that no two fingerprints are alike. But this becomes a minor fact when we consider that no two snowflakes are exactly alike. This is a mind-boggling number compared to five and a half billion people. But even this does not scratch the surface of God's creative ability to produce variety in His works. The psalmist does not ask a question, but exclaims in verse 24, "How many are your works, O Lord." He was deeply moved by the quantity of what he saw in God's creation. But what he saw was a mere drop in the bucket. Today we know enough about the building blocks of nature to know that the term infinite variety is no exaggeration.
DNA is the master molecule of life. It's structure controls the physical characteristics of every living thing. Every living thing is at least slightly different from every other living thing, because the DNA is different. Orientals think we all look alike, and vice versa, and we all think one sun fish is identical to another, and one orange is just like another. But the fact is, God never makes anything on the assembly line, but everything He makes is a one of a kind work of art.
Isaac Asimov, the great science writer of our day, has studied the mathematical possibilities of different combinations of the DNA molecule. How many living things can God make with this molecule before He would have to repeat and duplicate something He has already made? The answer makes the national debt figure look like loose change. It is 1 followed by 900 zeros. That is hard to grasp, so he gives us this fascinating supposition. Suppose that every particle in the universe, and not just every atom, but every part of the atom, every proton, every neutron, every electron, every neutrino, every photon, and on and on, every particle of reality in the entire universe was a different DNA molecule. If that was the case, the number of possibilities for new molecules would hardly be dented. It would only be 88 billionths of what could be produced by the potential combinations in the DNA molecule.
Now, if every particle in the universe changed every second to a new DNA molecule not yet used, and this process went on for ten thousand billion billion years, the number of yet new DNA molecules not yet used would still be far greater than what combinations had been used. To top it all off, he ends by pointing out that all his calculations are based on the DNA possibilities of the smallest living thing- the virus. The molecules of our cells and other organisms are much more complicated. We are dealing with numbers that are astronomical, and take us into the realm of the infinite.
This means that the millions of species of animal life on this planet have not begun to exhaust the creative power of God. There could be universes galore where there are millions of other species we have never seen, and in eternity there is no way of knowing how many millions of marvelous creatures we will enjoy. Animal lovers may have billions of new animals to love throughout eternity. God's creation will never get boring.
Science confirms that the stuff life is made of is near infinite in it's potential. God will never run our of new ideas for living creatures, and that is with what man knows. God may have a million other ideas for life besides the DNA, but this alone is enough for man to know the Creator of life is an infinite Creator. This ought to make us lift our voices in praise to God who made all that is. To worship God in spirit and in truth is to adore God for the truth of what we know of His nature as it is manifested in His creation.
It is not just the quantity of God's works that impressed the psalmist. He is amazed also at the quality of what God has made. He says in v. 24, "In wisdom you made them all." We have all been delighted that man was clever enough to invent air-conditioning. But it was not man's idea. God had already built this wisdom into the honey bee. They are able to maintain a constant temperature in their hives to protect their larvae, and to successfully cure their honey. Some bees are able to produce heat when it is needed, and other farmer bees are able to vibrate their wings so as to cool and circulate the air.
Spiders and some wasps need live food. Their babies will not eat anything but live food. Without refrigerators or ice this seems impossible, for they may only catch a fly once a week. They have a special liquid they inject into their catch that keeps them paralyzed but alive until needed. The praying mantis surrounds her eggs with bubbles that work just like a thermos bottle. No matter how cold or warm the air gets, the eggs within are protected.
We call them dumb animals, but that only means they cannot speak. They are often more wise than we are, and can do things we cannot do. Jim Kjelgaard tells of a fox which he found in a trap which had broken its front foot. He writes, "We carried the creature home and bandaged the foot. Then we put the fox in a wire cage. Immediately it ripped the bandages off, dug a small hole with its good foot, placed the wounded one in the hole and padded dirt around it. For days it lay there refusing to move. When it finally did stir, although it was thin to the point of starvation and the claws on its broken foot had grown grotesquely long, the foot was healed completely. That fox had put its broken foot into a self-made cast and kept it there until the bones had mended. Wild animals often know how to heal themselves.
Rats show amazing dietary wisdom. If you feed them so they are denied basic vitamins, and then let them have a cafeteria style meal, they will eat those foods which are rich in the vitamins they need. Rabbits, birds, and some insects also have this wisdom built into them.
One of the most amazing things of all is the common aphid, a small insect. They are wingless as long as their food supply is plentiful. But if a shortage develops, the next generation is born with wings. They can then migrate to a new food supply. This makes evolutionists look silly, for they tend to say it would take millions of years for such a development. But when nature is seen as God's work, it can make radical changes in one generation to meet its need, because God has put His wisdom into all He has made. It is no blind machine, but God's work of art.
Man is proud of his many clever inventions, but almost everything man invents is already in nature and the animal kingdom, revealing that God thought of these ideas first, and man is just copying the wisdom of God in His creation. Fishermen are forever trying to find a lure that will deceive the fish into coming to their hook. This is nothing new, for the angler fish itself uses dummy bate to lure other fish into its mouth. There are 350 different species of angler fish, all with a rod and a lure. Some of them look just like worms dangling from a pole that comes out of their head. Others even have a light that attracts fish. The point is, fish were way ahead of men when it comes to fishing, and its more likely they will get their meal than it is for the fishermen. Other creatures also have clever lures. Some insects look just like flowers to attract other insects which they eat.
The point is, all that God has made, He made with wisdom. There is some unique value in every living creature. There are some creatures that are not too bright. But they still have their value, to God, if not to man. When God went on and on talking to Job about His creation, He came to one creature He admits is not very smart, and that is the ostrich. She lays her eggs right out on the ground where other animals can trample on them. Then God in Job 39:17 confesses, "For God did not endow her with wisdom or give her a share of good sense." God admits there is such a thing as a dumb animal. But then He goes on in the next verse and says, "Yet when she spreads her feathers to run, she laughs at horse and rider." God is saying that even His lesser works and His strange creatures have their value and their gifts that add to the total picture of His creation. God enjoys an ostrich on the run.
No matter what you study in nature, if you look deep enough you will find evidence of the wisdom of God. The earth is full of God's creatures says the Psalmist. Notice he says they are God's creatures. They are not our creatures. We have dominion over all the animal kingdom, but we may not necessarily enjoy certain creatures. I have no interest being anywhere near a rattlesnake, but I can still appreciate the gifts that God has given this creature. Long before man developed his infrared binoculars to see at night, the snake had the same thing. They have heat ray eyes that can detect a mouse crawling along in pitch black darkness. I don't have to like them to see the cleverness of God's gift to them.
I don't like ants in my kitchen either, but I am amazed at the wisdom God gave them. The South American farming ant actually grows his own food. They raise sponge like mushrooms by sowing spores on leaves that they gather. They have underground green houses where they have many holes to regulate the temperature and humidity. And, believe it or not, they have domestic insects on their farm. They maintain herds of aphids that excrete a sugary substance that ants love. They milk them like we do cows, and they gather their eggs and protect them through the winter, and when they hatch they take them out to graze and bring them in at night to milk them. No wonder God says, "Go to the ant thou sluggard." We can learn a lot about hard work and wisdom from the ant. They were farming and milking before man.
We see God's wisdom in the sea creatures also. I don't know who invented the car wash, but they were ages behind the fish world. There are cleaner fish who set up stations in the sea, and other fish come by to get their bodies, mouths, and gills cleaned of parasites. The cleaners get to eat all the parasites, and the customer goes away feeling like a new fish. There are 30 species of these clever cleaners, and 6 species of cleaner shrimp. The shrimp lives in a hole, and when fish swim by it waves its antennae, and if the fish wants a cleaning it stops over the hole. The shrimp climbs on its body and cleans it from head to tail. It goes into the mouth even and removes all matter in the gills. Sometimes more than one fish comes, and so they wait in line for their turn. This was going on long before the car wash, or the car, or even man. When the Bible says there is nothing new under the sun, it does not mean necessarily that man does not come up with some new things for himself. It means there is never really a new idea, for somewhere in God's creation the idea has already been in operation.
Man over a long period developed the battery and the generator, and that was new for him, but it was not new to creation. The African knife fish produces electrical impulses at 300 per second. The Torpedo Ray has 220 volts, and the Electric Ell has a powerful 550 volts. There are many kinds of fish who have their own batteries and electrical systems. You might say, but certainly the idea of jet propulsion is new, but not so. The squid and the octopus force water through tube like siphons, and the powerful stream propels them forward very rapidly.
Man is working like crazy to try and be as efficient in energy use as are some of God's lowly creatures. Man uses 96 to 97 percent of his energy in heat to get three or four percent of light. Florescent is better with ten percent of light and only 90 percent wasted, but the firefly does not waste any of its energy on heat. It gets 100% efficiency. Man is working on this idea of cool chemical light, but if he ever gets there, remember, the firefly had it first.
The beaver has only a set of large buck teeth, but it is able to build a dam that defies man to build one better. They know how to check erosion, reduce flood damage, store water, sustain stream flow, and improve ecology for a host of other creatures. Man has plenty to learn from this creature. Jerry Gentry did research on this creature of God and discovered it was greatly responsible for the exploration of America. It was the search for valuable beaver pelts that led explorers into every nook and cranny of this continent. Saint Louis was founded as a fur trading post, as were many other cities.
Ivan T. Sanderson in his book, Living Mammals Of The World, writes, "By damming streams, beavers create ponds, but since these rapidly silt up, there work is unending, and throughout the millennia, millions of areas of pasture land have thus been created where only sterile rocky river courses would have otherwise been." He says, "enormous areas of the best soil and pasture...would never have existed had it not been for the beaver."
A whole new science has developed called bionics. The idea of bionics is to look to nature to find answers to human problems. Engineers and scientists today are looking to the creatures that God has created in wisdom to learn how they can be wise as well. They are finally giving heed to what Job said centuries ago in Job 12:7-8, where he says, "But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you." Modern man is beginning to recognize the source of wisdom in nature, and the truly wise ones know it was the wisdom of God that made it so. The unknown poet said,
"No mere machine is nature,
Wound up and left to play,
No wind harp swept at random
By heirs that idly stray;
A Spirit sways the music;
A hand is on the chords;
Oh, bow thy head and listen!
That hand--it is the Lord's!"
What is the point of all this? The point is worship. The Bible is loaded with references to nature as an end in itself. God did not give Job a lengthy lecture on the wonders of His creation because He wanted Job to be a botanist or biologist. The point is, the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, and nature is one of the best guides to that end. Worship is celebration. It is enjoying God, and enjoying all He has made by praising Him for the wisdom in what He has made. You cannot study nature and fail to worship, if you love the Creator. It's wonders magnify His wisdom, and you have to stand in awe, or sing His praises.
Wordsworth was England's most famous poet of nature. He changed the history of poetry in his country, and the world, because he saw in everything some thought of God. Augustus Strong, one of the most famous theologians of this century, wrote of him, "Wordworth regarded it as his sacred mission to show that the world is full of beauty and meaning because it is throbbing with the life of God. Nothing is insignificant or valueless, for each thing manifests the Wisdom and Spirit of the universe." In Job 38:7 God said to Job that when He created the world in wisdom the angels shouted for joy they were so impressed with the beauty and wonder of it all. Augustus Bamburger wrote,
"There's a part of the sun in an apple,
There's a part of the moon in a rose;
There's a part of the flaming Pleiades
In every leaf that grows.
Out of the vast comes nearness;
For the God whose love we sing
Lends a little of His heaven
To every living thing."
Wordsworth, however, said that only those who love can see. Love is the medium of insight into truth. Only those who love beauty can see beauty. Only those who love the morally right can perceive the morally right. Only those who love God can have the wisdom to love all God's works, and praise Him for His wisdom.
Roger Caros traveled over 4 million miles studying nature from pole to pole. He saw marvelous wonders everywhere, but he could not recognize the hand of God in it all. He was amazed at the life of the Alaskan salmon. He says its life is based on one amazing coincidence after another. It is born at just the right time for survival, when the ice is breaking up, and there is adequate oxygen. A second coincidence he says is that plankton is rapidly increasing, and the crustaceans small enough for the new salmon to eat are multiplying in profusion on the bottom of the lakes. He says the whole life of the salmon is miraculous in that they swim out into the ocean and then get back to where they were born a year later without maps or guides. They are built with a taste so sensitive that they can touch it with their lips and tell if it is dangerous to them before swallowing it. He sees this as a matter of pure chance, but the Bible says it is God's plan to provide for His creatures.
In verse 27 the psalmist, after saying the earth and the sea are teaming with creatures beyond number, says, "These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time." That every one of the millions of creatures can be daily fed is one of the wonders of God's creation. The Orca whale is considered to be the most intelligent creature next to man. It is also a heavy eater. It is no small task to keep this creature of God fed, but God has designed an intricate system in the sea to feed its vast population. The Orca whale has been cut open and in its stomach they have found 13 dolphins and 14 seals. Parts of 32 seals were found in another. This can sound gruesome to us but the more you study the vast food chain to feed all the creatures of the earth the more marvelous and wonderful it becomes.
After this long song on the wonders of nature, the psalmist closes with praise, and says in verse 33 " I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live." And then his final words in verse 35 are, "Praise the Lord O my soul. Praise the Lord." The bottom line is, everything we see in nature is to lead us to praise God as the Creator. God is even more wonderful in being our Redeemer by sending His Son to die for our sin, and making it possible for us to have eternal life by trusting Him as our Savior. Those who are truly wise will put their trust in Christ, but they will also look at all of creation as a resource for praising God as Creator.