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Devotional Biology

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  1. Introduction & Preface
    4 Steps
  2. Chapter 1: Biology for the Believer
    15 Steps
  3. Chapter 2: The Living God: Biological Life
    14 Steps
  4. Chapter 3: God’s Glory: Biological Beauty
    6 Steps
  5. Chapter 4: God is Distinct: Biological Discontinuity
    9 Steps
  6. Chapter 5: God is Good: Mutualism & Biological Evil
    10 Steps
  7. Chapter 6: God is Person: Animal Behavior & Personality
    17 Steps
  8. Chapter 7: The Provider God: The Anthropic Principle
    12 Steps
  9. Chapter 8: The Sustaining God: The Biomatrix
    8 Steps
  10. Chapter 9: God is One: Monomers, Biosimilarity, and Biosystems
    8 Steps
  11. Chapter 10: God is Three: Biodiversity
    11 Steps
  12. Chapter 11: God of Hierarchy: Biological Hierarchy
    13 Steps
  13. Chapter 12: The Almighty God: Metabolism
    8 Steps
  14. Chapter 13: God the Word: Animal Communication & Language of Life
    8 Steps
  15. Chapter 14: God’s Fullness: Reproduction, Diversification, and Biogeography
    10 Steps
  16. Chapter 15: The History of Life
    9 Steps
  17. Appendix
    4 Steps
Lesson Progress
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The following transcript was automatically generated and may contain errors in spelling and/or grammar. It is provided for assistance in note-taking and review.

We’re going to speak about issues in this particular segment What is science? What is biology? And why should we study this topic? This corresponds with your chapter one in the textbook called Biology for the Believer. I’m going to start with, as I promised, I’m going to start with God. And the issue I’m going to start with is this one aspect of God that he’s called in Scripture, Spirit. God is Spirit. What does that mean? What that means is that he’s undetectable. You can’t see him. And it’s important that you understand what that really means. He’s undetectable. That means in his natural state, you can’t see him, you can’t hear him, you can’t smell him. He is undetectable. People are concerned about, “Oh, if God was real, wouldn’t he reveal himself to us?” but in his natural state, you can’t see him. He has to actually go out of his way. He has to create something, or do something in order for us, or any of us, or any human being to actually detect him. That’s got some interesting consequences. One of them is, if God was a God who didn’t want to be known, He doesn’t have to go out of his way to hide. He is, in fact, completely hidden, and you would never see him. But the God of Scripture, the God spoken of in the Bible, is not that kind of God. He’s a God who desires to be known. He wants us to know him. And we’ll see some examples of this. I mean, you see this in the fact that in the very beginning, God creates Adam and Eve. And once He creates them, the next thing we hear about is in chapter 3 of the text, where in fact, there’s a reference made to God coming down to the garden in the cool of the day to walk and talk with Adam and Eve.

In other words, there seems to have been a pattern taken up at this early stage in Earth history where humans are walking and talking with God.

Now again, God by nature can’t be seen, can’t be heard, so He must be incorporating Himself somehow into a form that humans can see, and He desires to do that. He actually comes down to walk and talk with Adam and Eve because He desires that relationship with Him. Again, if His nature was that he didn’t want to be known by humans. He doesn’t have to hide. He just doesn’t have to do anything at all, and humans would never know him. He actually has to go out of his way to be seen, to be perceived by humans. But we see later in a few chapters down the way that there’s a person by the name of Enoch. It says Enoch. It’s interesting when you look at the text in Genesis chapter 5 there. It’s in the middle of a genealogy. Really, the stuff that no one wants to read. Kind of boring. Adam lived for 130 years. We got a son after his likeness, and named him Seth, and so on and so forth. This is, “He lived so many years, and then died, and then the next guy lived so many years, and then died.” When you get to Enoch, the text is a little different. It actually says that rather than Enoch lived for so many years, and he died, it says Enoch walked with God. At least after he sired his son Methuselah, for the next 300 years, it doesn’t say Enoch lived like it does for every other person in the list. It says he walked with God. It’s so awesome. And in fact, we know this person is the one in that text who doesn’t actually die. Apparently, he went walking with God one day and walked right on off the earth. It’s awesome! God desired a relationship so much, cherished a relationship so much, that he developed a relationship with Enoch and walked with him for 300 years.

And then walked him right into heaven. Never died. We’ve got Abraham a little bit later, beginning in chapter 12. We’re introduced to a man called Abraham who is called a friend of God. God cherished a relationship with Abraham, built it up, and became more and more intimate with Abraham to the point that Abraham’s called a friend of God. Moses gets into, you move on forward in the text into Exodus, and you’ve got Moses coming into the tabernacle, and it says he was in the presence of God, and he talked with God as a friend talks to a friend.

He developed a relationship with him. God cherishes those kind of relationships. When the nation of Israel, a thousand years later, wants a king, they choose a king by the name of Saul. Big guy. Someone that would probably protect them, they would think. But what God did was chose a man after his own heart. He chose David. He chose a man who his own father didn’t even think was fit to be king. Because when Jesse, David’s father, was told that Samuel was there to anoint a new king, he brought out all of his sons except David and lined them up there.

And Samuel went from one to another. And even Samuel thought that one of those guys was appropriate. But it was God’s choice was David, because David was a man after God’s own heart. God desired a relationship. God cherishes Israel as the apple of his eye. And these are all compliments. They’re not insults. So God cherishes or wants these kinds of things. And in fact, of course there’s nothing more impressive than the fact that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should have everlasting life.

” God gave his only Son because he cherished a relationship with us, with you and I, so much that he came to earth to live as an example to us, and then to die for our sins so that we could have a relationship.

That’s a God who truly desires to be known. In fact, in the New Testament, that we as believers can refer to God as Abba, Father, Papa. An intimate term. Not just as the one who’s the Creator of the entire universe, but an intimate relationship. That’s what he wants with us. The God of Scripture is a God who desires to be known. But it’s important to note that’s only true in Christian theism. That is not true in Judaism, modern Judaism. The monotheistic God of the Jews is one who the Jews rightly understand to be an awesome God, to be a great God who created all things.

And he’s just so great that there’s no possible way that humans should have the right to even speak his name. There’s no possible way that humans should be able to walk with Him and talk with Him, because He’s just too great for that. And we’re not so great. We’re not great at all. It would be almost sacrilegious for God to be in relationship with an unholy people such as ourselves. And that makes sense, because God is that great. But the Bible tells us that that God, who is that great, also desires a relationship with us. And Islam also has a similar perspective of God as modern Judaism does. There’s only one God. This God is Creator, and he’s well beyond everything else. And it would be an insult to God. It would take away from his awesomeness if he got into an intimate relationship with a human being. Again, that’s not something you’d find in Judaism or in Islam. It’s something that’s unique to the Christian God who desires to be known. In fact, He desires to be known so much that He condescends to be known. And again, I’ve said this, let’s say it a different way. If He didn’t want to be known, He doesn’t have to do anything. He just automatically wouldn’t be perceivable. In order to be perceived, he’s got to actually create something that we can see. He’s got to put himself into a form that we can feel and touch. Or he’s got to do something. In a sense, he’s got to condescend. He’s got to change form. He’s got to put away a bit of his glory. Because Scripture tells us that we can’t look on God in all his glory. He’d just kind of be burned up out of existence. It’s just so awesome. So he has to tone down his glory. He’s got to set aside his glory in order to enter into those intimate relationships with us. And this is what we call condescending. God is actually putting himself in a lower state so that he can have relationship with us. So for example, he did it in the very beginning. He created it in six days. Now, wait a minute. Why did he take so long? Well, I mean, isn’t God capable of just saying, “There!” And the whole universe come into being in all its glory? Yes. And wouldn’t that make him even more great than a God who would take six days to do it? Yes. Why did he take six days then? And why did he rest? Did he have to rest after the end of six days? “Okay, I’m going to take a day of rest because I’m all tired.” No, of course not! God didn’t need to rest. So what is he resting for? It’s not clear from that text, but you look at other texts that refer to it, such as Exodus chapter 20, and then Christ himself when he’s on earth. You recognize that Jesus says, “This Sabbath, this rest day is something created for the sake of human beings. You remember the story. Jesus and his disciples are walking through a field, and they’re picking things to eat on the way. “Ah, but it’s Sabbath day!” And so people said in that day that you’re not supposed to work on the Sabbath day, and they interpreted that to mean you’re not even supposed to pick stuff out of the field as you walk along. So Jesus and His disciples are confronted. Jesus in particular. Why is it that you’re doing this on the Sabbath? And Jesus seems a little perturbed at the question. He says, “Don’t you understand that man wasn’t created for the Sabbath? The Sabbath was created for man.” It isn’t that I created this thing called the Sabbath and I said, You’ve got to obey this Sabbath. It’s not going to be comfortable to you. You’re not going to like it. But I’m going to jam you in there, and that’s what you’ve got to do.” It’s sort of the perspective I often had as a child of what Christianity was like. There’s these lists of do’s and don’ts, and they’re a round-shaped hole, and I’m a square-shaped thing that I had a hard time fitting into. That was my incorrect perception of what the Bible talks about. That is not the God of the Bible. God of the Bible is one who created us round. We need rest. We would, if He didn’t force us otherwise, we would work for seven days a week. We’d work ourselves to death. We’d kill ourselves off. We would not set aside a day to rest, and especially we wouldn’t set aside a day to worship God. So God created us needing rest. And so He created, by example, over six days, so that we would work over six days. And He rested a seventh day, so that we would rest a seventh day. He didn’t need to do that. We did. So it would have shown more of His glory for Him to create everything instantly. But because He wanted a relationship with us, He wanted us to know Him. He created. He slowed everything down. He created things in six days and rested the seventh day so that we would do this and develop a proper relationship with Him. And of course, a most extraordinary thing, thousands of years later, God himself took on human form. I mean, He’s God! Humans are not as great as God, but God took on human form. He became a human. He didn’t just become a human. He was born as a baby. He had to be as incapable as a baby is incapable of talking and walking and all of that stuff. He had to develop that. He constrained himself to be born as a human. Why? He could have… Okay, he’s coming to die for our sins. He could have died for our sins somewhere else. He didn’t have to take on a human form. But he takes on a human form as an example to us. He’s doing it for us. He condescended so that we would understand how we ought to live. He condescended so that he could develop relationships with human beings. It’s an awesome God. He became flesh and dwelt among us. Awesome example of God condescending. And of course, the greatest example of condescension is God taking our sins upon himself. Here’s a God who is holy. No sin whatsoever. Completely incompatible with sin. He can’t exist in the presence of sin. Sin can’t exist in the presence of God. It seems quite impossible, in fact, that God could become sin. But the scripture says that’s exactly what Jesus did. Jesus allowed himself to go to the cross and take upon himself the sin of the world. And the Bible says he became sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God. Why did he condescend to that extent? Compromised his holiness? Took on our sin? Because he wanted a relationship with us. Whoa! God is willing to condescend to unbelievable depths so that he can raise us up to incredible heights in relationship with him. And along the same line, it’s going to be a theme that’s going to run through this course. God desiring to know us, desiring us to know Him. He knows us. He’s desiring us to know Him. He has revealed His very nature in those things that are made. This is a very important theme that’s going to run through the rest of the course. Here’s the issue. It’s as simple as this. We’ve got a God who is invisible. A God who cannot be perceived, Yet he wants us to perceive him. So how in the world can we perceive a God we cannot perceive? This is how God solved the problem. He wants us to know him, so he creates physical illustrations of his invisible nature so that we can understand his invisible nature. And here’s the key passage that indicates that. In Romans chapter 1, we have the passage that says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness. Because that which is made known of God is manifest in them, it’s inside of them, for God has shown it unto them. For the invisible things of him, of God, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.

” It’s an amazing passage. Let’s look at it a little more closely. First of all, this is a message that’s going to every human being. Every one. It says, “For the wrath of God,” the whole passage just says, “God is angry at human beings for their sin.” That’s basically what it’s saying. “And His anger, His wrath is revealed from heaven against all human beings.” But the question is, what gives him the right to get angry with humans? And this passage tells us why. This is first of all a message to all human beings. It’s revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness. All humans are ungodly. All humans are sinners. So this is for all humans. It’s against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. Therefore, this is a message to every single person in the world, in the universe for that matter. And second of all, it’s important to note that whatever this message is that’s being given to humans, it’s given by God. God has shown it unto them. This isn’t something that humans do on their own. This is something God convinces humans of. And what is it that God is showing people? What is the message? What is God trying to convey? It says the invisible things of God, even His eternal power and Godhead, are being seen. This is what God is teaching us. It’s what God is teaching all human beings. And how is He doing it? What’s the message through which He’s passing on this information? It’s manifest in them. So somehow it’s in our bodies. It’s in our being. It’s from the creation of the world. So those things that are made. So God is interested in showing his invisible nature to all human beings, and he does it by using the physical world that he created.

And apparently, whatever this message is, it’s extremely convincing because it says these things are evident. clearly seen. So much so that the people are without excuse. So the idea here is that when people have to stand before God, they’re judged. And at that point, God says He’s ready to judge them. And if somebody stands up and says, “Well, I don’t think you have the right to judge us because I didn’t know you. I never knew you.” God’s going to say, “Yes, you did. I convinced you I existed. I convinced you of my attributes. I convinced you of all of my invisible attributes. I know I’m invisible, cannot be known, but I showed my invisible attributes to you through the creation. So much so that they were perfectly evident to you. And therefore, you have no excuse. You can’t stand before me and say that you didn’t know me because I showed you me.” In fact, it’s so significant that the next verse says, “Because when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, became vain in their imaginations.” It goes on to talk about all sorts of things they did. Notice what it says, “When they knew God.” It doesn’t say when they knew about God. It isn’t just that, “Oh, well, I know all the attributes of God here. I could lay them all out.” No. It says when they knew God. So apparently this is significant enough or convincing enough that people actually not only know about God, but they know God. They know God so much that they can’t stand before Him and say, “I didn’t know you.” So whatever this is, what God has done is He has created– let’s back up and see what this means. He apparently created the universe. So he’s back there creating things in six days. He’s thinking, “I want to reveal myself through those things that I make. Therefore, everything I make, I’m going to put illustrations in it of my invisible nature. I want them to know all about me. So I’m going to put my beauty in the creation. I’m going to put physical illustrations of my power in the creation. I’m going to put physical illustrations of my glory in the creation. I’m going to put physical illustrations of the hierarchy of our relationship. I’m going to put personhood into the creation. I’m going to put every attribute I have into physical illustrations of the creation so that my created ones, so that humans can know about me.

That they can know even my invisible attributes. Thus, coming back to the beginning, God is a spirit. Because He’s a spirit, He cannot be known. But because God wants us to know Him, He has not only condescended in so many ways to give us the scripture and come to earth and die for our sins, but He also created the world, in understanding biology in such a way that it illustrates His very nature, His very character, that otherwise is invisible.

This particular characteristic, this particular attribute, is going to be a very important point that I’m going to come to in chapter after chapter after chapter throughout this course. I’m going to start with God’s attributes in each chapter, invisible attributes, And then we’re going to say, “Okay, how is it that God has illustrated that particular attribute in the biological creation?” And then we’re going to talk about that. And that’s going to be each chapter. This is the foundation for the book. This is the organization of the book. So even the chapter headings of the book, if you look at the book, you’ll see the chapter headings have to do with God is One, God is Spirit. It’s got the attributes of God down as the chapter headings. Not what you’d expect in a biology text, I understand. But because of this truth that God created the physical world to be illustrations of his nature, we’re going to start with his nature in each chapter and figure out how he used biology to illustrate that particular attribute.