Tag Archives: God’s creation

The Friendly Octopus

When it comes to creation, the Lord Our God has a lot of cards to play. He doesn’t have to confine intelligence and sensitivity to creatures who have fur, feathers, and skeletons.

Think about it. Mammals, birds, reptiles, even fish–they have a lot in common. But an octopus? No bones. No skull. Nothing cuddly about it. But an octopus does have a brain; and, by all accounts, a fairly good one. See how this octopus interacts with the human beings who rescued it from stranding. A lot of the scientists who work with octopi, I’ve read, wind up liking them–and always being fascinated by how smart they are.

God’s stuff: you can’t put a limit on His creativity.


Memory Lane: A Place, and Horseshoe Crabs

I couldn’t find a video that quite captures what I want to write about. So imagine these horseshoe crabs, only now it’s night-time, under a glorious full moon with no other light for miles around. And the horseshoe crabs are coming into the shallow water to mate and lay their eggs.

Years and years ago, Patty and I used to go to Long Beach Island in the spring, for weekends. We liked to fish by night, along the rim of a shallow cove in Barnegat Bay. On a few of those nights, the horseshoe crabs came in, silent and graceful, with only the faintest ripple of the water in the faintest breeze. We felt as if we were seeing something God ordained before He shaped Adam out of the dust of the earth. Something, maybe, that was old in Heaven before it was ever known on earth.

It’s all gone now. They filled in the little cove and built three-story condos on top of it, and the whole place is lit by floodlights all night long. There’s no hint that the little cove ever existed. And you can’t see the starlight on the water anymore. The floodlights drown it out. Maybe there never was any starlight, either. Maybe we dreamed it.

But if we did, the dream beats the stuffing out of condos and floodlights.


God’s Stuff: Giant Salamander

Hi, Mr. Nature here, with a very rare and very impressive animal: the Japanese giant salamander. It’s related to our own America hellbender, which is a whopper in its own right: but this critter gets two or three times as big. A full-grown Japanese giant salamander is almost as big as you are. Not quite like the little redbacks you can find in your back yard!

There are also giant salamanders in China. Outside of the inevitable habitat loss and degradation, the biggest threat faced by these creatures is schmendricks who like to eat members of endangered species because it makes them feel like big shots. Whatever they have to say on Judgment Day had better be good.

All right, I know some of you get the creeps from looking at these animals. But they are part of God’s creation, they certainly do us no harm at all, they are rare and difficult to find–and they are worthy of our admiration, because they are the work of Our Creator’s hands.

I don’t know about you, but they leave me in awe of God’s vision.


The Battling ‘Roos of Suburbia

G’day, mate! Mr. Nature here, somewhere in the suburbs in Australia, just in time for an early-morning fight between two male kangaroos.

These guys can get up to eight feet tall when they stand on their hind legs; and with the sturdy tail available as a third leg, they can kick with both hind legs at once. Meanwhile, they punch and scratch with their clawed forepaws.

I don’t see anybody running outside to break this up.

Why did God make kangaroos so fierce?

He didn’t. It’s the fallen world that made them fierce. And anyway, the occasional ferocity of male kangaroos in mating season hardly holds a candle to the ferocity of human beings toward one another.

God is at work, even now, to restore His creation to its original state of purity. We wonder why it’s taking Him so long.

But I know one thing for sure: I’d rather He did it than us.


God is Nigh

Image result for images of old dogwood tree

Our ancient dogwood tree has just come into flower on this Easter morning. It always did have a fine sense of timing.

We’ve been here 40 years, but the tree was here first. Dogwoods can live up to 80 years, says Mr. Nature; but we don’t know when this tree was planted.

Even more remarkable, on the very same day, our ancient tulip has bloomed. Tulips live for 20 years, sometimes a little more. But this, too, was here when we moved in. It used to burst forth into one spectacular, bright red flower. Now it has four instead of one. We hope the squirrels don’t eat the flowers, as used to be their custom. They left it alone last year.

These (even the squirrels) are God’s handiwork. He imagined them, and then created them. They are here because He put them here. Their beauty is one of His countless gifts to us.

But even more than beauty, the dogwood and the tulip, and all the rest of God’s creation, have something important to tell us: God is nigh. Always.


Biggest Dinosaur Yet?

Image result for images of biggest dinosaur yet

Jesus defend us, the news is just so bad this morning, I can’t  bring myself to write about it. Come, Lord Jesus, come! You can’t get here too soon.

Meanwhile, scientists in Western Australia have discovered what looks like the biggest dinosaur footprint ever found ( https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3189717/worlds-largest-dinosaur-footprint-discovered-in-australias-jurassic-park/ ). Unfortunately, it’s almost axiomatic in paleontology that wherever you find a lot of footprints, you never find bones: so whatever anyone wants to say about these Australian dinosaurs, it’s all based on just the footprints. Which is better than nothing.

These great big prints were made by sauropods, more famously known as “brontosaurs,” and the biggest of the prints is almost as big as a grown man. The prints match up with the kind of prints made by the kind of feet that sauropods, going by their skeletons, are known to have had.

Scientists are also excited that they’ve found stegosaur prints in the area, the first ever found in Australia.

I remember when all the dinosaurs we knew about came from Western North America, the fringes of Western Europe, and the Gobi Desert. Nothing known from Africa, South America, Australia, Eastern Europe, etc. Now we’re finding dinosaurs everywhere we look. It’s hard to keep up with the discoveries!

Should not these discoveries inspire us with awe for God and the vastness, the majesty, and the infinite complexity of His created natural order? The more of it we learn about, the more we find we’ve yet to learn. We will never reach the limits of it!

In which we see the wisdom of God, in making it so much bigger even than our imaginations…


Today’s Hymn, ‘This Is My Father’s World’

Here the sun is shining brightly on a smooth blanket of pure white snow, under an azure sky streaked with cottony clouds: this is my Father’s world.

I’ve been posting a hymn every day now for a year–or is it nearer two years?–and it seems to be that I’m more moved by them, emotionally, instead of less  I find the sky and the snow more moving, too, along with everything else out there: my Father’s handiwork, all of which speaks softly, “God is nigh.” And I know they speak truth: I can feel it.

You feel it, too, don’t you? And if only we knew how to express it!


Oldest-Ever Fossils Found (Or So They Say)

Image result for images of chessmen of mars

They say it with such authority. The newly-discovered bacteria fossils, found in
Canada, are 4.2 billion years old (uh-huh), and this “shows alien life on Mars likely” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/03/01/oldest-fossil-ever-found-earth-shows-alien-life-mars-likely/ ).

These little bacteria–earth still has bacteria that are a lot like them–supposedly lived in ocean vents and ate iron. Well, if they’re already under water, and the earth is only some millions of years old at the time, then that knocks into the spittoon the theory that it rained on the rocks and the rocks came alive–which really ought to be a calypso song, “Oh it rain on de rocks an’ de rocks come alive…”

Nope, they still can’t tell us how life started in the first place. (Hint: God created it.) So now it’s comets “probably brought the building blocks of life to earth.” Probably? I think that theory’s prob’ly wobbly. And note they say “building blocks of life.” We imagine the parts of an erector set randomly sorting themselves into a Ferris wheel.

And then everything sort of, like, y’know, evolved! From tiny bacteria to not-so-tiny Michael Moore. No one’s ever observed that happening, but we know it must be so because everybody says it is.

Anyway, Mars had an ocean once, and an atmosphere, so Mars prob’ly had little bacteria, too. The Mars lost its ocean and its atmosphere. Prob’ly because of SUVs. Or failure to impose a carbon tax.

Anybody still awake?


Another Animal You Never Heard Of

I have to go to the nursing home, but let me first leave you with this. “This” being a caecilian.

A what? It took me years just to learn how to spell it. Caecilians are totally legless amphibians that live in the tropics, mostly keeping out of sight by burrowing in mud and leaf litter. Some are quite small, and might be mistaken for worms, The biggest are almost five feet long. And they all have skin growing over their eyes, so they can see the difference between light and darkness–which is more than you can say for a lot of intellectuals–but not much more.

Considering their secretive habits and the not very nice environments in which they live, it’s kind of surprising that we know about caecilians at all. Almost as hard as it is to believe they’re related to frogs.

Just goes to show: there is more to God’s Creation than any mortal mind can fully grasp, more than anyone will ever know–and its greatness testifies to His greatness.


A Not-So-Fluffy Puppy

Hi, Mr. Nature here with a critter from another world–the mud puppy.

These big salamanders keep their gills all their lives, and although cold-blooded, they seem to thrive in a really chilly environment. Their legs aren’t much for propelling them efficiently when on the land, but these puppies are fast and graceful swimmers. They’ll eat whatever live food they can catch, and have been known to plague ice fishermen.

Why am I showing you this hideous creature? Well, I’m fascinated by these animals. They’re God’s stuff, and they move me to reflect on the infinite options available to God as He was creating the world. It didn’t have to be the world we know today. Fossils show us there were once amphibians, like the mud puppy, as big as crocodiles.

The next time we question what God did do, we might also spare a thought for what He might have done–but didn’t.


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