The Scientific Evidence: In the Eye of the Beholder

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The Scientific Evidence

In the Eye of the Beholder

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The world around us provides compelling evidence of God's handiwork and even glimpses of his nature and character. As the apostle Paul wrote: "Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made" (Romans 1:20, New Revised Standard Version throughout this sidebar). Yet many remain blind to this fact.

Let's consider what a famous writer in the field of science said about two particular flowers, both orchids. Although his language is a little technical, it's important to read the account in the author's own words as he describes his findings and those of another scientist, a Dr. Cruger. The incredible story is well worth reading.

A built-in bee-bath bucket

Regarding what is called the bucket orchid (Coryanthes) he stated:

"This orchid has part of its labellum or lower lip hollowed out into a great bucket, into which drops of almost pure water continually fall from two secreting horns which stand above it; and when the bucket is half full, the water overflows by a spout on one side. The basal part of the labellum stands over the bucket, and is itself hollowed out into a sort of chamber with two lateral entrances; within this chamber there are curious fleshly ridges. The most ingenious man, if he had not witnessed what takes place, could never have imagined what purpose all these parts serve [emphasis added throughout].

"But Dr. Cruger saw crowds of large humble-bees [bumblebees] visiting the gigantic flowers of this orchid, not in order to suck nectar, but to gnaw off the ridges within the chamber above the bucket; in doing this they frequently pushed each other into the bucket, and their wings being thus wetted they could not fly away, but were compelled to crawl out through the passage formed by the spout or overflow.

"Dr. Cruger saw a 'continual procession' of bees thus crawling out of their involuntary bath. The passage is narrow, and is roofed over by the column, so that a bee, in forcing its way out, first rubs its back against the viscid stigma [the sticky part of the flower that receives pollen] and then against the viscid glands of the pollen-masses. The pollen-masses are thus glued to the back of the bee which first happens to crawl out through the passage of the lately expanded flower, and are thus carried away...

"When the bee, thus provided, flies to another flower, or to the same flower a second time, and is pushed by its comrades into the bucket and then crawls out by the passage, the pollen-mass necessarily comes first into contact with the viscid stigma, and adheres to it, and the flower is fertilised. Now at last we see the full use of every part of the flower, of the water-secreting horns, of the bucket half full of water, which prevents the bees from flying away, and forces them to crawl out through the spout, and rub against the properly placed viscid pollen-masses and the viscid stigma."

These fascinating design details show us the complexity, variety and even a touch of humor in the world around us. Several scriptures acknowledge that we can learn of God through His creation.

A flower that shoots straight

The same writer then describes the other orchid, giving yet another remarkable example of carefully planned design in the natural world:

"The construction of the flower in another closely allied orchid, namely the Catasetum, is widely different, though serving the same end; and is equally curious. Bees visit these flowers, like those of the Coryanthes, in order to gnaw the labellum [lip]; in doing this they inevitably touch a long, tapering, sensitive projection, or, as I have called it, the antenna.

"This antenna, when touched, transmits a sensation or vibration to a certain membrane which is instantly ruptured; this sets free a spring by which the pollen-mass is shot forth, like an arrow, in the right direction, and adheres by its viscid [sticky] extremity to the back of the bee. The pollen-mass of the male plant (for the sexes are separate in this orchid) is thus carried to the flower of the female plant where it is brought into contact with the stigma, which is viscid enough to break certain elastic threads, and retaining the pollen, fertilisation is effected."

So here we see another marvelous illustration of God's handiwork. Yet, as mentioned up front, not everyone sees the evidence of creation in the same way. The author who penned these observations of the wonders of the world around him was none other than Charles Darwin, and the quotations are from his book The Origin of Species (1859, Masterpieces of Science edition, 1958, pp. 156-157).

Divergent views of evidence

Does this surprise you? It should. Darwin used these examples to show the ability of plants to adapt and to vary rather than to show the variety in God's design. And the scientific establishment has generally followed suit. So often, what is blatantly evidence of God's handiwork is presented as instead the results of blind evolution. Why don't we all see evidence the same way—especially given Paul's statement in Romans 1:20 that the natural realm provides proof of God? Indeed, those in the scientific field often see far more evidence of divine creation than the average person.

The fact is, although there is sufficient evidence for everyone, each makes a choice as to how to interpret it. Some early philosophers made a conscious choice to reject God. Scholars in various fields since have followed in their wake. As the saying goes, "There are none so blind as those who will not see."

Paul continues in Romans 1: "So they are without excuse; for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were dark-ened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:20-23).

We have an important choice to make about the evidence for a Creator God. We must choose whether we will accept it. Our choice will have a profound effect on our lives.

If we see God in what He has made, then we have a constant reminder of His ability, concern, purpose and even His sense of humor. But, if we do not see God, then there is neither hint nor reminder of His purpose for our existence. Consequently we may imperil the normal workings of our conscience, given by God so that we would question our thoughts and actions.

God can guide and bless those who wisely choose to accept the evidence and believe in Him. Let's make the right choice.

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