by Dick Innes
Imagine, if you can, a world without birds, animals, flowers, grass, trees, mountains, rivers, oceans, and blue skies! How desolate such a place would be.
Our world is a beautiful place and filled with fascinating creatures. Take a kangaroo, for example, the strangest "grass hoppers" you could ever wish to see. The smallest ones are only a foot tall, the largest seven feet, and fossil bones show that some in the past were twice as big as these.
A baby kangaroo is only about an inch long at birth. Immediately it clutches its way up to its mother's pouch were it lives until it can take care of itself. Fully grown it has large powerful hind legs, small front legs, and a powerful tail that helps balance it as it hops. A tall kangaroo can jump up to 25 feet and hop along a 30 miles per hour.
Another fascinating native of Australia is the koala which looks and feels like a cuddly teddy bear. Though often called a bear, it isn't one. Like the kangaroo, the koala is a marsupial which carries it young in a pouch. The baby koala stays in its mother's pouch for about six months and then rides on her back until it is self-sufficient.
Think, too, of the magnificent eagle which can soar thousands of feet in the air, the unusual New Zealand kiwi--a bird with hair-like feathers that doesn't fly. Consider, too, the Australian kookaburra with its loud raucous "laugh," or the almost voiceless pelican whose enormous bill makes a perfect "fishing net."
Another fascinating creature is the limpet mollusk which is found along the coast of North and South America. This tiny, boneless animal lives in a shell and is so tenacious it can survive ocean depths up to three miles and, while attached to a rock, its strength is a thousand times its body weight.
Equally intriguing are ants. Even though their "brain" (central ganglion or nerve) is less than one-tenth the size of a pinhead, ants live in highly organized social colonies. Some collect food, others build the nest and keep it clean, and some look after the queen ants. Nurse ants clean and feed the larvae. Soldier ants guard and protect the food-collecting ants. Any wonder the Bible suggested, "Go to the ant...consider her ways and be wise."1
And what about trees that convert light into energy and "breathe" the carbon dioxide exhaled by man and animals. They use this gas to help manufacture food and in its place give off oxygen which man again breathes. They help clean the air of dust particles, stop erosion and restore deserts. They provide food, drink, lumber, and innumerable other products. Just how they lift enormous amounts of water to their highest branches and manufacture food is still a mystery.
Or consider the human body with its millions of tiny blood cells that carry food and oxygen to every part of the body through a network of some 60,000 miles of arteries, veins, and minuscule capillaries. Consider, too, the marvels of the human mind--how it thinks, feels, communicates, recalls, makes choices, and directs the whole of a person's life. No computer has ever matched the wonder of the human brain.
We could go on forever learning about the infinite marvels of creation and never come to an end of discovery. Of all there is to know we still know so little. But from what we do know, we cannot help but wonder, did everything in the universe happen by chance? Or is there a God, who planned and made a world and universe and life with all its phenomenal intricacies and complexities--a God to whom we are each responsible as individuals and for the preservation and care of the world?
Surely, as the Bible says, "The heavens [and the whole creation] declare the glory of God."2 Or as the poet said, "Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree."
1. Proverbs 6:6. 2. Psalm 19:1.