|Topical Bible Study||January 1961|
The Creator Series—Lesson II
God Revealed in Animal Life
THERE is a poem which states that “only God can make a tree,”* and this thought is even more conclusive when we think of the almost countless varieties of trees which God has made. This same faith-strengthening reasoning can he carried over into the animal kingdom. Only a supreme, intelligent Creator could produce the myriad varieties of animals, birds, and fish, and provide the appropriate food and surroundings enabling them to continue their existence.
* “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer.
The peacock is noted for its gorgeous plumage, while the ostrich is rather plain in appearance, although its feathers are much in demand. By comparison with the ostrich, the peacock moves about quite slowly, but the ostrich is able to run at great speed. What determined these differences? Reason tells us that here is displayed the planning and work of an intelligent Creator.
In most cases the birds and lower animals instinctively exercise great care over their young. The birds sit on the eggs from which their offspring are hatched. But with the ostrich it is different. The mother ostrich simply buries her eggs in the sand and then leaves them, evincing no interest in what thereafter might happen. The warmth they need for incubation is in the sunbaked sand. But the eggs are hidden from most danger, and, unlike most other birds, the mother ostrich is not on hand to afford protection for her young.—Job 39:13-18
Did this maternal indifference of the ostrich just happen to be? Oh, that is just a matter of instinct, some may answer. But why should there be such a variety of instincts in the animal creation? Besides, what is instinct? The dictionary says that instinct is “the hereditary factor in behavior.” But from whence came this hereditary factor that enables fowl, animal, and fish to survive?
Reason tells us that instinct is a creation of God. This is particularly apparent when we consider the widely variant instincts with which the animal creations have been endowed. What causes young salmon, after spending four years in the ocean, to seek and travel up the identical river where they were born, there to spawn and die? From whence came the “instinct” which causes some birds to migrate from north to south, and from south to north, with the changing seasons? How do they know that it will be warm in the south, and that they would freeze or starve to death in the north?
Innumerable pages would be required to call attention to all the fascinating varieties of “instincts” displayed throughout the animate creative works of God. To say that such variety came about by mere chance is to stifle reason and to distort the good judgment with which we have been endowed by the Creator.
And herein is another proof of the existence and work of the Creator. The lower animal creations do not understand why they act as they do, but man has been given the ability to understand, if he will, and choose his ways. He may go south or remain north in the winter as he reasons and decides which move to make. Thus man is set apart from the other animate creations, and this also we see as an evidence of the existence of a wise and loving Creator.*—Job 32:8
* “The New Creation,” pages 55-58.
The following questions are answered in the preceding short article. What do these answers mean to you?
How does the endless variety of life in the animal kingdom prove the existence of a Supreme, Intelligent Creator?
What determined the great differences of appearance and abilities between the peacock and the ostrich?
What is indicated by the mother ostrich’s lack of interest in her young, in contrast with the maternal instincts of other birds?
What is instinct, and why do the lower animals possess it?
What is the true explanation as to why man is able to reason rather than to be guided by instinct?
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT THOUGHTS
Reason tells us that the great varieties of species found in the animal kingdom, and all fixed, did not develop by chance, but through the guidance of a Supreme Intelligent Creator.
The instincts of the lower animals are endowments of a Creator, not the haphazard process of nature.
One of the great distinctions between man and the lower animals is seen in the differences between instinct and reason, both being endowments by the Creator.