OF FLOWERS AND THE BALTIMORE ORIOLE (C. 1958)

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Excerpted from The Evidence of God in an Expanding Universe, edited by John Clover Monsma. New York: G.P. Putman’s Sons, 1958

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OF FLOWERS AND THE BALTIMORE ORIOLE

By Cecil Boyce Hamann, Biologist

B.Sc, Taylor University, M.Sc, Ph.D., Purdue University. Formerly Graduate Assistant, Purdue University; member of faculties of Greenville College, University of Kentucky, and St. Louis University Medical School. Since 1946 Professor of Biology and Chairman of Division of Science and Mathe­matics, Asbury College. Research Participant, Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies. Specialist in taxonomy of animal parasites, toxicology of trichinosis.

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Wherever I turn in the realm of science there is evidence of design, law and order—of a Supreme Being.

Walk down a sunlit lane and note the marvelous detail of a flower, listen to the beautiful song of the robin, inspect the intricate nest of the Baltimore Oriole. Did the flower just chance to form the sweet nectar that attracts the insects, which in turn insure the production of more flowers next year? Is it just accident that small pollen grains will germinate and grow downward into the ovary of the flower and cause a seed to be produced? Is it not more logical to believe that the unseen hand of God has arranged these things by laws we are just beginning to learn? Can it be that the robin sings, not only because he has a mate, but also because God enjoys his singing and knows the joy it brings to man? While daily innumerable songs of praise are sung by birds that never reach mortal ears, like all God’s gifts to His children they are ready and waiting when man gets to them.

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And how about the nest of the Baltimore Oriole? Who taught him that fine workmanship? Why is there such a similarity of pattern? To answer “instinct” is an easy way out, but is it an adequate answer? What are instincts? Some say unlearned behavior. Is it not more logical to see God working in these creations of His according to principles concerning which we have as yet only the slightest of clues?

Yes, I believe in God. I believe in a God who is not only an all-powerful Deity who created and sustains this universe, but a God who is concerned about His crown of creation, man.

This firm belief comes not only from the culture of Chris­tian America but also from, first, the scientific observations of the wonders of Nature, and, second, from an experimental awareness of His presence within me.

All around him man finds unanswered questions. As he sought to find the answers he formed many hypotheses, most of which have had to be abandoned or drastically altered before any part of the answer, or answers, was found. How­ever, answers have been found and continue to be found with each passing year. Unfortunately, increase in factual knowl­edge has not resulted in greater recognition of God. Rather it seems that man has felt that by explaining something he has eliminated the need for a God. If all men would only realize that these discoveries are evidence of a Supreme Intelligence behind the universe!

When we go into the laboratory and with a microscope examine a drop of pond water and its scurrying inhabitants we are faced with one of the great wonders of Nature. Here, an amoeba slowly oozes along, almost imperceptibly a smaller organism is enveloped, and even as we watch, it is digested, assimilated, and waste left behind. As we continue to watch we see the amoeba actually pull itself into two parts, with each half re-forming itself into a complete animal. Here we have seen one cell carrying on all of the vital activi­ties of life for which larger animals require thousands or millions of cells. Evidently more than chance has been respon­sible for this wonderfully made animal, infinitesimally small as it is.

Nowhere in the varied fields of science have the physical laws been brought to bear more directly on the phenomena of life than in the field of biochemistry. Where the mysteries of digestion and assimilation were seen as evidence of Divine intervention, they now are explained in chemical reactions, each reaction under the control of an enzyme. But does this rule God out of His universe? Who determined that these reactions should take place, and that they should be so exactly controlled by the enzymes? One glance at a present-day chart of the various cyclic reactions and their interaction with each other rules out the possibility that this was just a chance relationship that happened to work. Perhaps here, more than any place else, man is learning that God works by principles that He established with the creation of life.

Lifting our eyes to the heavens we surely must exclaim with wonder at the orderly sweep of the stars. Night after night, season after season, year after year, century after century the worlds of outer space have followed their courses through the sky. They return so regularly in their orbits that eclipses may be predicted centuries in advance. Is anyone still asking whether they might be just accidental condensa­tions of galactic materials, haphazardly wandering about? If they were subject to no laws would men put their faith in them to guide them across the seven seas or through the unmarked paths of the sky? Although men may not admit the presence and the power of God, they are willing to admit that these stellar bodies are governed in some way and are dependable, and are not free to wobble through space as chance would dictate.

Yes, from the drop of water seen through the microscope to the distant star observed through the telescope I marvel at the exact orderliness that I observe—so exact that laws have been formulated to express its consistency. Only because men have been confident that such laws can be formulated have they been willing to spend their lives in search of them. Without this belief and confidence research would be in vain. If each time an experiment was performed a different result was obtained, because the only controlling factor was chance and none of the physical laws applied, what progress could be made? Somewhere back of all this order must be a Supreme Being, for there can be no order and no laws with­out a Supreme Mind. As each new law is discovered, does it not cry out: “God is my Author; man is only my discoverer”?

As real as the factual evidence of science is the actual presence of God with me in my daily life. While we can photograph the stars and map their paths in the sky, or trap an amoeba on a slide and photograph it, no such tangible evidence can be obtained to prove the presence of God. Only as one will place himself in such a way that God can walk with him can he personally experience Him. If one will refuse to look through a microscope or to glance at a photo­graph of an amoeba, he may be able to argue at length that an amoeba does not exist, but the minute he sees one, or its photograph, the basis of his argument is gone. So it is with God. As long as one refuses to look for Him, or to acknowl­edge His handiwork with an unprejudiced eye, one can argue long and loud that God does not exist. Once the unbe­lieving man glimpses God, then no longer can he argue against Him as existing. This must be an individual experi­ence, and all arguments are in vain if one refuses to look for God. “Unto them that look for Him shall He appear.” (Hebrews 9:28)

Yes, I believe in God—as God of the universe and as my Friend. I am aware of Him within and all about me.

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