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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.

>> The next issue we want to address is the question of why do we study biology at all. You may well be a student who isn’t going to go into science. You don’t have any interest in going into science. You might ask why in the world would, should I study biology at all? And maybe it’s almost useless to talk about it because you’re in a school which requires it. So you got to do it. So that’s why you do it. But I want to actually give you some reasons for why I think that it ought to be put into the curriculum in such a way that every student should in fact take biology.

And you might ask some other questions that are related. If science really is the study of things that aren’t useful, then why should I study something that isn’t useful? And I want to give you answers to that question as well. Some people might even be afraid of biology because it’s a science, and science is an enemy to Christianity. I mean, after all, didn’t science give us evolution? Evolution seems to be counter to the Bible. And some people are afraid of science and don’t think we should study science because it is not compatible with scripture. And I want to give you some reasons for believing something quite different. And perhaps for those of you who aren’t interested in science, or don’t think that you’re interested in science, you might ask, why should I fill my brain with a bunch of facts that I’m never going to use? There are hosts of reasons why people might hesitate in taking biology. I want to give you 12 reasons, ultimately, why I think every believer ought to study science. In fact, I think every believer ought to play around with science for the rest of their life. And so I’m going to look at 12 interrelated reasons. They’re not independent reasons. They’re going to be connected to each other in many times for why we should study biology, or why you should study biology. I’m going to do that in four packages, or four mega reasons, if you wish, with three separate reasons underneath. The first reason that I think we should study science, why every believer should study science, is because every believer is a creation priest. Let me explain what that means here. If you look at Scripture, you’ll find that from the beginning of Scripture end of Scripture, humans are put in situations where they are claimed to be and have the roles of priests from one end of the Scripture to the other.

We’ve got descriptions of Eden in the second chapter of the Bible. We’ve got descriptions of the new heaven in the second to the last chapter of the Bible, symmetrically on either end of the Bible. We have these places where Eden is described and Heaven is described. It’s interesting if you compare the descriptions, there’s a lot of similarity between the two. In Eden, we have Adam and Eve living with, or at least walking with, humans. In Revelation, we have the new heavens and the new earth, a place where God can dwell with man. There’s a cohabitation of God and man and the two instances. In Genesis chapter 2, it comes before the curse, the fall of man in Genesis chapter 3. So it’s a world without a curse. If you go to Revelation 22, what precedes it is a comment that there is now no more curse. So both of those situations are times in the history of the universe when there was no curse in the world. In each case, there’s no death in the world. Death is restricted to that period of the curse in between. In Genesis chapter 2, we have a description of the tree of life in the midst of the Garden of Eden. In Revelation 22, we have the tree of life on either side of the river that flows out of the throne, giving healing to the nations.

We have a tree of life in each of these situations. We have descriptions of gold and gems in both situations. The streets of the new Heaven and new Earth are paved with gold. The doors are pearls. The foundation of the city are gems. Well, also in Genesis, we have a description of the land of Eden surrounded by places with gold and gems. But the similarity continues in the middle of the Bible, in between the creation in Genesis chapter 2 and Revelation chapter 22. we have a description of a tabernacle. The tabernacle is, we’re told, supposed to be a picture of the heavenly abode of God. And in this tabernacle, we have in fact the purpose that the word tabernacle, translated tabernacle in English, is a Hebrew word that means dwelling place.

God designed the tabernacle to be his dwelling place among the Israelites while they were in transit, while they were moving around. So just like Eden was a place where God lives with man, the tabernacle was a dwelling place for God in the midst of man.

If you look at the description of the tabernacle, the things on the tapestries in the tabernacle, you find cherubim on there, and you find heavenly beings.

There are heavenly beings in Genesis in the description of Eden. They’re what keep Adam and Eve from coming back into the Garden after they’re thrown out of the Garden. So you find the cherubim in both of those locations. You find that the tabernacle is full of gold. There’s gemstones in the breastplate of the garments of the priest. So there’s similarities between the tabernacle and Eden. And there’s similarities between Eden and Heaven. And then, of course, we have the temple, which becomes the permanent place for the tabernacle. Again, it’s a place where God lives among human beings. Again, it’s full of gold, gemstones, their chair being portrayed throughout the tent. We also find that the temple was oriented by Solomon in such a way that the entry in the temple faced east, which we find out is actually the direction of the entryway into Eden as well.

And in the temple, individuals were given tasks in the temple called priests. Priests were given these particular roles in the temple. In fact, there’s two Hebrew words that are used there to describe the work of the priest. What is a priest in the temple supposed to do? Well, according to Hebrew, they’re supposed to shamar and abad. These are translated “to keep and to serve.” We found in Numbers 37 there. These two Hebrew words are juxtaposed, put together, and describing the actions of a person in only two places in the Bible. One, the temple priests in Numbers chapter 37. The second place, these two words are used in Genesis 2, verse 15, when God takes man and places him in the garden to shamar and abod the garden.

So only two places in the Bible where these words are used together. So the temple priests are to keep and to preserve, keep and to serve, likewise the temple, that is. And Adam, humans, were supposed to keep and serve the creation. In that sense, There’s evidence here that just as the temple priests were supposed to serve in the temple, the abode of God, humans were created to serve in the temple of the creation.

The temple of the Garden of God. So the temple priests, what are their goal? What’s their purpose? What are they supposed to be doing? First of all, they’re to maintain the temple. They’re to do the maintenance work. You keep the place clean. They’re there to fix things that break and that sort of thing. But in addition to that, arguably even more important than that, in their personal lives, the priests were to get to know God so well that they can teach God to others.

They can bring others into better relationship with God. So one of their first purposes was to study God, to know God. And then they were supposed to create in the temple. They’re not supposed to just make this a nice place to be, and a beautiful place to be, but it’s supposed to be a place of worship. So the priests were supposed to be responsible for filling their own lives with worship of God, and then letting that flow out into the temple so that the temple was a place of worship.

When Jesus came, he was upset when he walked into the temple. It wasn’t the place of worship it’s supposed to be. He threw the people out who were there, who weren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing. This is supposed to be a place where we meet with God, where we worship God. It’s a place where we can serve God in worship. And the priests are responsible for creating that atmosphere of worship. And of course, it’s also a place where people are supposed to go into the temple, and they’re supposed to engage in that worship. So the priests are responsible for pulling people into the worship of God. So they’re supposed to fill their own lives with worship, sufficient that their living surroundings are full of worship. And they’re to bring others into worship of God, and they’re to teach others about worshiping God. So what about human beings in general? When they’re put into the creation, their purpose, I would argue, is the same. Shemar and Abad, it’s the very same thing. First of all, to maintain the creation. Humans are created to take care of those things that God created. But it’s also that we are supposed to deepen our own relationship with God. We fill our lives with worship, and then we fill the creation with worship. That the creation becomes a place of worship. That everyone in the creation, everyone experiencing the creation, is experiencing the worship of God. We’re supposed to share God with others in the creation. And then we’re supposed to bring even the creation into the worship of God. So as creation priests, we are to maintain the creation, deepen our own relationship with God, make the creation a place of worship, share God’s with others, and bring creation into worship. That brings in some specific reasons for why we should do biology, why we should study biology. If the creation is here to understand God, if God created the physical world to give physical illustrations of his very nature, and if our purpose as creation priests is to better know God, then we should study the creation to better know God.

So studying biology is a way of better knowing God, which in turn is a way for us to become better priests of the creation.

To deepen our own relationship with God. An analogy might help here. If there’s an artist that has made a number of paintings, as you study the paintings of the artist, you’ll get to know the artist. You see enough paintings generated by an artist, or sculptures, or songs produced by an artist, you get to know the artist. The more you learn of an artist’s art, the more you learn of the artist. The more we learn of God’s creation, the more we learn about the one who created it. The more we learn about the art of God’s creation, the more we learn about God. And again, We know that God illustrated his nature by those things that are made. So studying the creation also gives us insight into even his invisible nature. So the first purpose for biology, for studying biology, is to better know God. But we’re also called upon as creation priests to better worship God. And I believe we can use biology to do that as well. You see, God didn’t just create the creation with these just kind of static pictures of God’s nature. He created the creation to awe us. He created the creation in such a way that it knocks our socks off. Because we’re talking about illustrations of God, of the awesome, amazing, unbelievable, awesome God. So in order for these to be good pictures of an awesome God, the pictures are awesome. God didn’t just create a creation that shows his nature. He created a creation that awes us, that just blows us away. And we see this in, for example, the songs people have written and through the ages. And he got Psalm 19.1, written about a thousand BC by David. He says, “The heavens declare the glory of God.” It blew his sandals off to look at the heavens at night. I mean, he’s out there as a shepherd, taking care of the sheep in the middle of the night, and he sees the awesome, awesome heavens about him.

He says, “The heavens declare the glory of God.” That was a song. It’s a psalm. It means a song. He created a song that way. In 1677, we have the hymn, “Fairest Lord Jesus.” Here’s a phrase. “Fairest Lord Jesus, ruler of all nature, fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands.” 1715, the song, “We sing the greatness of our God. There’s not a plant or flower below, but makes thy glories known.” I am his and he is mine in 1876. Birds in song, his glory show. How great thou art in 1885, when through the woods and forest glades I wander, then sings my soul. All nature sings, this is my father’s world, 1901. Great is thy faithfulness, 1923. Join with all nature and manifold witness. Through the centuries, through the millennia, people have been awed by God’s creation. Awed into creating songs, into creating paintings and sculptures, trying to emulate it. God created this creation to awe us. It shouldn’t be hard to use the creation to glorify God. That’s what he did. He did it on purpose. We’re supposed to do that. He designed the creation to awe us. And when we look at the creation and we’re awed by it, we’re supposed to do that. We’re supposed to allow ourselves to be awed by it. Recognizing God in those things that are made, recognizing God in biology, can change us. When you’re struck with this awe experience, you feel like you want to erupt into worship of God. Go ahead and do so! Because in doing so, you’re fulfilling your obligation as a creation priest. We’re supposed to better know God, and we’re supposed to better worship God. So allowing yourself to worship the God who created these things is actually fulfilling a requirement upon us. I believe the more we learn about biology, the more biology awes us. The more we learn about biology, the easier it is to worship Him. I hope that in studying biology throughout the course of this course, you will become better able to worship God. You will find it easy to worship God. Relax and enjoy the awe of God’s creation. And allow yourself to worship because in doing so, you’re obeying basically a command that God gives to us. Scripture also tells us that the priests are to better glorify God. We’re to deepen our relationship with God. And as we, anytime we, as humans, say, “God did that,” and when he really did do that, and that’s a good thing, God is glorified in that process. And the purpose of humanity is to glorify God. So it’s hard to imagine that something with such incredibly infinite glory as God could be glorified. His glory could be increased. But in the eyes of other people, His glory is increased if we point to Him. So in the middle of being awed by, “Whoa, what God has created!” If we point out to people, “Look what God did! Whoa!” We are glorifying God in the process. So the more we learn about biology, I believe the more we can glorify God. First of all, in our own minds when we acknowledge that God’s responsible for that awesomeness, God’s glorified. Second of all, when we share that with others, that God did that, God is further glorified. I believe biology can be used to better understand God, better worship God, and better glorify God, giving us at least three reasons for why we should study biology.

Not only are we priests of the creation, Scripture also tells us we are kings over the creation. You can see this in the very beginning of the Bible when God, before He creates man, actually lays out His intent for creating man.

What He intended man to do. We see this in Genesis 1, 26 through 28. God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.

So God created man in his image. In the image of God created he him, male and female created he them. And God blessed them and said unto them, Be fruitful, multiply, replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, foul the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.

Notice what he says when he’s… Again, this doesn’t create man that says, “Oh, now I need a job for him.” This is before he creates man. He says, “I’m going to create man and let man have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth.

” Then he creates man, and he commands them to have dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, and over every living thing upon the earth.

So this is part and parcel of what it means to be human. It’s part of why he created. man, it’s this thing called dominion. We are to have dominion over, and in verse 28 it says we are to subdue those things that are listed in that list. The list includes the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, every living thing upon the earth, and in 28 it tells us all the earth itself.

This turns out to be all the animals and the earth that the animals are upon. Now, if we go to Psalm chapter 8, we have a psalm that comments, if you wish, on the creation passage. David writes, “What is man that thou art mindful of him, and the Son of man that thou visit him? For you’ve made him a little lower than the angels. You’ve crowned him with glory and honor. You’ve made him to have dominion over the works of your hands.” There’s the dominion. “You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, yea, the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air, the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passes through the paths of the sea.

” Notice we’ve got some new words here. We’ve got the dominion, and we’ve got dominion over the fish. We’ve got dominion over the fowl. We’ve got dominion over the land creatures. Same things listed before. But we’ve got further information here. It says that man is crowned. Here’s a word that has something to do with kingship. And the dominion, then, has something to do with kingship. So we have here that not only does man have dominion over these things, and that these things are under his feet. That’s another phrase that’s often used in ancient Near Eastern literature. The idea is that it is often portrayed in some of the pictographs of the ancient Near East. When a king came in and conquered a nation, he often depicts that by showing one of the people, or the king of that nation, down on the ground.

And he’s got his foot on the person’s neck. To put these things under his feet means he subdues them. He wins over them. He reigns over them. So this is another, in Ancient Near East, it’s another phrase that refers to kingship. So we’ve got crowned. Humans are crowned. They have dominion. Dominion refers to kingship. Under His feet refers to kingship. And what is it they’re ruling over? All the animals of the sea, the land, and the earth. And in fact, it says in Psalm, all things, not just even the earth and the things on the earth, but in fact everything God created.

When we see in 1 Corinthians a description of Jesus Christ as the Son of Man, the perfect man, the one who fulfills the original purpose of humans, we see a description here where it talks about, again, using phrases we’re familiar with, He is going to reign. He’s going to put his enemies under his feet. He’s going to put all things under his feet. All things are put under him. All things will be subdued under him. So that here, Jesus, as the perfect human, fulfills the purpose of humanity of ruling, subduing, and subduing in particular all the animals, the earth, and in fact everything in the creation.

So Scripture teaches, basically, from one end to the other, that humans are created specifically to rule over the things that God created. Now, God deserves to be the ruler because He created it. But it’s His choice to give the rulership to someone else, to something else. And in this particular case, what He’s done is He’s created all these things. He’s created the earth, the organisms on the earth, the plants, the animals. He’s created the stars. He’s created the universe, and he’s created it so that humans rule over all of those things.