Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Ruminations on Biology and the Creation

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

--Genesis 1:1 (NIV)

It is good to start the year (or anything for that matter) at the beginning.

While holidaying in Port Dickson, I read E.O. Wilson's latest book, The Creation. In it, he implores the Christian community to join forces with the scientific community in an effort to save the natural world--to save creation. Wilson himself is an atheist and one of the world's most eminent biologists.

Indeed the book is worth the RM80 I paid for it (using the vouchers courtesy of MPH), but I was deeply saddened to know that yet another great biologist had turned his back on God, thus joining the ranks of Charles Darwin, James Watson, Francis Crick, etc. How can people whose life is built upon life itself, miss out entirely on the Author of life?

Consider this picture:

Would I ever be able to convince you that a pen magically arose from the table and drew it on my left arm? I don't even think I'd be able to convince you that an earthworm or fern did it. At a glance, it is evidently the work of a human being (or else a robot; but a robot is man-made, thus the drawing is indirectly also the work of a person).

Note that the picture above is that of a sunrise/sunset. Yet legions of intelligent scientists claim that a complete accident produced the real thing:

Just because they cannot see God, they disbelieve His existence. But although we may have never met or seen any evidence of Willaim Shakespeare's existence, we can believe he wrote Macbeth, Hamlet and all the other great plays attributed to him. Evolutionary science always wants an explanation that can describe the creation without any reference to a Creator.

But we don't need to know how God made the world any more than we need to know how Shakespeare wrote without a dictionary or thesaurus (Sui-Jon pointed this out to me some years ago; indeed, such indispensable volumes were absent in Shakespeare's time). The creation itself testifies, just as The Last Supper testifies to Leonardo da Vinci and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel to Michelangelo.

Of all the pictures I took (quite few by my standards; 200+ over four days), I like this one best:

While I was reading on the balcony on the last morning, a whole flock ('swarm' would be a better word) of swallows swooped past me. Only after they did it a second time did I decide to bring my camera out to catch them if, by some great fortune, they did so a third. I waited, camera on my lap and ready at a moment's notice, to see if God would bring them by again.

Many swallows flew this way and that, but not in a large group. Then out of nowhere, they appeared again in formation, flying across the hotel. I'd attached my telephoto zoom lens and set it at maximum zoom of 200mm to get the shot. Then just as I snapped, they disappeared over the opposite roof.

Is there any sense in thinking that the camera which took the picture (my Nikon D50) is a marvel of human brilliance and precision in technology and manufacturing, while the birds themselves are chance accidents of evolutionary history?

It struck me just now that, in the picture above, the swallows look like scraps of debris rather than birds. And I was reminded of this verse:

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

--Jesus, in Matthew 10:29-30

The issue isn't about how old the earth is or why dinosaurs aren't mentioned in the Bible, etc. Rather, all of creation echoes in only one question: will we follow the Creator? The one to fear, the one whose majesty is above all and whose splendour is displayed in the creation... God is God.

* * * * *

Substituting Pn Darlilah, I begin teaching Form 5 Biology and Form 3 Science in the VI tomorrow. Li-Shia will be taking over Pn Asrima's Form 1 and Form 3 Science classes.

Lord, have mercy. May we learn as much (if not more) from the students as they will from us, and may we truly grow in this experience.

Biology has always been one of my greatest passions. But I never knew I'd be teaching it so soon. Well, at least here's a biologist who will count for God's camp!


Soo Tian said...

When an individual turns away from God, both sides lose (though to my mortal mind it seems as if the human loses more). However, the rest of us... the community... I believe we too lose out.

All the best in your teaching, Ben! I'm sure you'll do great!

~BeCkY~ said...

Ben, so you'll continue teaching ar?

I hope you'll really gain more experience and also knowledge there..
Well, students can sometimes teach teacher lessons too, huh?

God bless!!