"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our Lord stands forever. Isaiah 40:8

31 December 2005

Of God and Penguins

Our family recently watched the “March of the Penguins” on DVD. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the movie, it’s a documentary about the Emperor Penguins of Antarctica that travel great distances and survive harsh conditions to reproduce.

(Now stay with me, I will turn this into a faith-based message).

In fact, the penguins travel a huge distance inland to mate and produce one egg which is then left with the father to incubate while the mother returns to the ocean to eat as she is close to starvation (penguins live on fish and cannot eat when they are inland). From there the parents take turns caring for the chick while walking back and forth to the ocean to eat to stay alive and to feed their new chick. I don’t want to go into too many details, but let’s just say that the conditions are extremely harsh and some penguins don’t even make it through the process.

According to the movie, the area where the penguins breed and raise their chicks is an area of very thick ice which is protected from the constant breaking apart of the ice in that region. If they nested closer to the ocean (where they could feed) the eggs/chicks would likely not survive. The question I had to ask myself while I watched the movie is why would any animal chose such an existence?

From an evolutionary standpoint, why would an animal chose to evolve in such a harsh environment. Why not just stay where it is warm? How did the penguins figure out to travel so far to be able to reproduce successfully? Wouldn’t evolution choose the path of least resistance?

Of course, I know the answer. This whole complicated process and existence was God’s creation. And this isn’t an isolated story in the animal kingdom. There are all kinds of crazy, wonderful creatures out there that have unbelievable traits. Did it all happen by chance? I don’t think so.

As a biologist by training, I often have a front row seat to God’s amazing creation. What you see on the outside is pretty incredible, but if you look at the inner workings of biology, it’s absolutely amazing. But in this movie it doesn’t take a science degree to see the hand of God in orchestrating the complicated reproduction of Emperor penguins. Just some faith in an Almighty Creator.

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." Romans 1:20

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