My wife likes to feed the birds that inhabit SE Wisconsin. Some are seasonal and some stay all year. We’re not bird watchers in the sense that we’d go out in the woods to see a rare bird but we do enjoy watching them gather around the feeder.
This past year we were treated and saw three varieties of birds that we’ve rarely seen-Nuthatches, Chickadees and a Downy Woodpecker who was large enough to chase the other two types away from the feeder.
I guess there are over 200 varieties of woodpeckers. Many are colorful and all are characterized by the long pointy beak that they use to peck away at the insects hidden in the wood of trees.
Readers of this blog know that at one time I was an agnostic, that is, a person who was not quite sure there was a God. This despite a Roman Catholic upbringing.
By the grace of God I never went “full atheist” to deny the possibility of God but on the other hand never took seriously the ramifications that if there was a God then life had meaning beyond the here and now.
The tether that held me to the notion that God was a possibility was Creation itself.
I was amazed by the stars in the sky. As a sport fisherman I was impressed with the varieties of fish that could be found in Wisconsin’s many lakes and rivers. So it was with the birds as well.
The birds intrigued me probably because that when I was in the 8th grade in Catholic School I had a nun who was in the Audubon Society. Rather than teach a straightforward science class (which hurt me in the public school later) she would teach us about birds and the environment (which in the end proved rather useful).
I remember for example, her explaining the contents of a barn owl’s stomach (I think it was a Barred Owl) and how God designed the barn owl to be a night hunter of rodents, rodents that left unchecked ruined crops and are in general a nuisance to people.
The key word that stuck was design. The barn owl like the woodpecker certainly has the appearance of design-a design with a specific purpose. The barn owl is a night hunter of rodents without the benefit of night vision goggles and the woodpecker with its unique beak was a hunter of insects that hid in the wood of trees. Perhaps I’m easily impressed but to me it speaks of a Creator who is into variety and creativity!
Evolutionists argue that the variety of birds we see simply evolved over long periods of time. The barn owl for example somehow “figured out” that night hunting for rodents was more productive that staying awake during the day like a hawk and then hunting. Or, in the case of the woodpecker, an extra long beak would evolve because somewhere along the evolutionary trail the woodpecker would “figure out” the best insects hide in the wood of a tree and a specialty tool would be required to ferret them out.
Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis likes to say that both sides of the debate have the same evidence they simply interpret that evidence differently. I would agree and I would argue that it takes a certain amount of faith to believe that a woodpecker’s unique design was by chance over long periods of time. I think it takes far less faith to see intelligent design in the universe. I thank God for that tether of grace he sent me when I was an agnostic. Eventually, it would lead me to the real issue of what do I do with Jesus who was involved in the Creation.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17 ESV)
I know a lot of folks out there wonder about intelligent design and do not totally buy the faith of the evolutionists. That’s good as it was good for me. The real issue though is what do you do with Christ? If you are considering intelligent design you are considering a Creator. The passage I just cited challenges you to consider Christ. It’s good counsel.