Today is Sunday, January 22nd. At noon the temperature is 81○ and I can see new shoots of fern emerging along the river bank. The grass is greening up, and springtime is knocking on the door. We’ve had no freezing temperatures this year, so the azaleas and impatiens remain in bloom and the angel trumpet trees spread around our property are loaded with their large, pink flowers.
When viewing the natural world that surrounds me my mind frequently recalls the words of Jesus:
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matthew 6:26)
Yes. I am more valuable than they. I bear the image of God. I am his adopted son. As with any adoption, I was chosen by him to be his son. I did not initiate our relationship, did not earn it, and do not deserve it. He is my father, in sickness and health, in childhood and senior adulthood, on earth and in heaven, for all eternity.
For he chose [me] in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined [me] for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given [me] in the One he loves (Ephesians 1:4-6)
My Eternal Father is the King of the universe, the Creator of all that is and ever will be.
There are so many innumerable evidences of God’s hand in nature that one wonders how skeptics can be so blind to God’s brilliant design everywhere present and everywhere visible. It takes a strong dose of mental gymnastics to believe that the beauty and design found in nature is the result of random, unguided development fueled by natural selection. Here’s an example of supposedly erudite thinking.
“. . . faith is unquestioning belief in the absence of supportive evidence and even in light of contrary evidence. How can one expect such a frame of mind to result in any special insight? While a false belief may be comforting or even temporarily useful, it cannot be a guide to life or the foundation for a successful society. Are we not then irresponsible to build a society based on faith? And how foolish are we, the unfaithful, to defend the beliefs of people of faith?” (Dr. Victor Stenger, “The Folly of Faith,” The Huffington Post, 05/17/2011).
The angel trumpet tree pictured here is one of about a dozen growing around our property. Some growing along the river bank are actually self-rooted, springing up from cuttings we threw away several years ago.
The Angel Trumpet Tree, or Brugmansia, is native to tropical regions of South America. Its leaves and flowers are very toxic if consumed. But interestingly the tree has a unique plant/insect relationship with a clear-winged butterfly in Brazil, Placidula euryanassa. The butterfly uses the tree’s foliage as one of its main larval foods and is able to pass the toxic alkaloids it ingests on through the pupal stage to the emergent adult butterfly, giving the butterfly a defense mechanism against predators (Eckart Eich, Solanaceae and Convolvulaceae: Secondary Meabolites: Biosynthesis, p. 157, retrieved from Google Books, 12/22/2017).
Question: Is this plant/insect relationship the result of intelligent design, or did it develop solely through random, natural selection? Is the belief that intelligent design is the plausible explanation for this plant/insect relationship an instance of “unquestioning belief in the absence of supportive evidence,” as Dr. Stenger maintains (see citation above)?