Confession time. I hated biology in high school. I was forced into taking physiology in college for a life science credit. Thousands of facts were thrown at me, and I had to memorize all of it for the exams. It was miserable.
Even though I have an engineering degree, I found most of my science courses intensely boring, taught by geeky intellects who truly did not seem interested in what they were teaching. I remember one instructor falling asleep during his lecture.
I wrote a curriculum on zoology for 5th-7th grade kids this year. It was my way of repenting for all the bad science classroom experiences, the bad textbooks, and the bad teaching and learning I went through in my life. Setting out to write God Made Animals, I wanted to see the glory, the beauty, the complexity, the order, the joy, the wisdom, the goodness, the power, the judgment, and the mercy of God in all of His world. And, by God’s grace, I saw it.
Science should never be boring. If science is boring, God is boring, uninteresting, and unworthy of praise, and nothing could be further from the truth. Every paragraph of our science textbooks should contain wonder and awesomeness. Every fact should be coated in praise. Every page should convey the relevance, the purpose, and the excitement of discovery and learning.
Take God’s amazing creativity seen with the Bombardier Beetle for example.This insect’s defense system could be the most amazing and the most complicated in all of creation. Using a mixture of chemicals, this beetle lights up an explosion in a chamber contained in his body. This blows out his rear and fries any small animal that might be trying to attack him. Like a slow-motion machine gun, this little guy can repeat the explosions 15-20 times in just a few minutes. He keeps two chemicals in different sacs in his body—a watered-down (28%) hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone. If these chemicals leaked out and mixed in his body, they might react and blow him up. So God provided the beetle with another chemical inside of him that acts as an inhibitor (which would prevent that chemical reaction). But that’s not all there is to it. When the beetle squirts the two chemicals into the chamber towards his rear end, the chemicals mix with two enzymes (catalase and peroxidase). This reaction increases the pressure and temperature, resulting in a small explosion and the emission of toxic gases into the face of the beetle’s nemesis. Obviously, the combustion chamber within the beetle has to be able to sustain very high temperatures over 212 F (or 100 C).
All of this is very complicated and a twelve-year-old might have a hard time understanding how these chemical reactions work. Scientists have had to study this process for a long time to figure out how the catalyst (the enzymes) create the toxic gases out of the two chemicals mixing. It should be obvious that a brilliant Designer, our awesomely wise God came up with this idea. The important thing to remember about Mr. Bombardier’s defense system is that nothing works until everything works. The beetle needs both active chemicals, the catalyst, and the inhibitor which would prevent him from mixing the chemicals in his own body and blowing himself up.
Unbelieving scientists try to tell us that all of this came by evolution, by trial and error conducted by unintelligent forces over a million years. Of course, that is ridiculous. Reasonable people could never believe such a theory. Human scientists have to work for many weeks and years in laboratories to design chemical systems that produce controlled reactions and explosions without producing destructive side effects. They have to be very careful not to blow themselves up while they are doing their experiments! The fact that God can design a system in the body of a little beetle that works thousands of times over and continues to work well for six thousand years is beyond incredible. It is amazing!
Or, let’s not forget the hard-working Dung Beetle. He is part of God’s cleanup crew. He cleans up after animals which leave their dung in piles around God’s green earth. Of course, humans are careful to take care of their waste products, but animals are not so clean. Therefore, in His great wisdom, our God provides 5,000 species of dung beetles to bury the animal wastes produced by carnivores and omnivores. This beetle is a busy little guy, as he buries 250 times his weight in dung in one night. That would be like you burying 25,000 pounds of rocks in an eight-hour period. A grown man can only shovel about 8,000 pounds a day. Imagine how his back would hurt after all of that work! Some of these beetles can push or pull 1,100 times their own body weight. That would be like an average man pulling six buses full of people down the street. It turns out that the Dung Beetle is also quite the astronomer. He is able to roll his ball of dung in a straight line at night using the stars as his guide. A researcher from Lund University in Sweden placed the beetle in a planetarium and discovered that this little bug was using the stars to make his way. Without the stars, he was not able to keep his trek on track. The Dung Beetle will roll the dung into a ball, sometimes quite a bit larger than himself. Then he will use it for food and for a place for the female to lay her eggs. The male usually does the hard work, rolling the ball as the female follows behind. When they find a good place for a home, they bury the dung ball and settle into their underground home to raise a family. As the saying goes, “it’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it!”
If you stood every kind of animal in the world side by side, you would be amazed at the variety of colors, shapes, sizes, abilities, personalities, instincts, and social habits God put into these animals. The varieties would go on for mile after mile. You would see the funny-looking animals (platypus and the blobfish), the powerful animals (lions and elephants), the intelligent animals (dolphins and chimpanzees), the beautiful animals (the swan, the white tiger, the husky dog, the peacock, and the panda bear) the ugliest animals (the proboscis monkey, the warthog, the star-nosed mole, the goblin shark, and the batfish), the most dangerous animals (the great white shark, the lion, the cobra snake, and the Sydney funnel spider), and the cutest animals (the wombat, the slow loris, the bottlenose dolphin, the penguin, kittens, puppies, and the arctic fox). Who made all of these spectacular creatures? It had to have been somebody who knew what was funny and delightful, dangerous representing judgment, wise and sagacious, powerful and majestic, beautiful, ugly, and cute. God made all of this. Oh, that we would more and more give Him all the praise, honor, glory, and recognition for these amazing works all around us! This would return life to the life science class. This would offer the ultimately meaningful purpose to learning, and all of life!
I wanted this new, innovative approach to science for Christian families to bring together every cool fact, every outstanding feature of the multifaceted animal kingdom, and every possible demonstration of the Creator’s wisdom, power, and goodness. And, the goal? Worship! Praise! Wonder! And that, never again would a student say that this world God has made...is boring.
Purchase the new Science and Worldview course: God Made Animals.