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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’ve been looking for a while now at the nature of life. We’ve learned a few things about life, what it is, and so on. Now we need to address the question of our responsibility to life. The more we learn about something, the more we have a responsibility to do with that information what we ought to do. And so that’s what I want to address. First consideration is our responsibility as priests. We’ve been created to be priests. As priests, we are supposed to first of all use the creation to better know God, and then to use that information about God to better worship God, and then to bring others into that worship.

So first of all, that issue of our responsibility to know God. With the information that we’ve learned about life, the more we learn about life, the more I believe we get insight into the nature of God. The more we learn about God. Scripture tells us that God is spirit and cannot be observed in that spirit form. And we learn from the study of life that even his non-physical nature of life, we can get an idea of something of the nature of God as a spirit being from studying those things, the physical things that he created with life.

Scripture says God is the source of life. We’ve even referred to the fact, it says “for in him we move, and we live and move and have our being in Acts 17.28. Well, we see that played out in the law of Biogenesis. The law of Biogenesis seems to say that all living things come from living things. And the very first living thing, as we looked at it, seems to have come from, it would seem, a living thing. It came from God. So we have, the more we study biology, the more we become convinced that in fact, what the Bible says about God is very true.

That He is the source of life. God as life is the ultimate source of all life. Scripture also tells us God is alive. Even though we haven’t nailed down what life is, we have examined it a little bit. We have learned a little bit about it. The more we do learn about it, the more we understand what it means for God to be alive. The more we understand the biological organisms and what they tell us about life, the more we understand what God’s life is like. The Bible tells us that God is active. He’s dynamic. It’s apparently a characteristic of life. It says in Scripture that God’s Spirit goes out all over the world, all the time, continuously, They’re creating animals. By your Spirit, they are created. We’re going to get back to this at a later chapter when we talk about reproduction, but it appears that this life thing that is a non-physical entity ultimately comes from God.

God is the one that creates all the life that we see about us. He really is the source of life. He’s the source of the non-physical life that all organisms possess. The more we learn about life, the more we get insight into God’s activity. He’s about us all the time. If it’s true that God is the source of all living things, then every time rabbits give birth to little baby rabbits, God was involved in that process.

Every time a new baby is conceived, God is involved in that process. Every time a seed germinates into a plant, Apparently God is active in that process. God is active across the planet, all over the planet, all the time. Sometimes we kind of forget God because we can’t see him. We might think he lives way off in some distant location and doesn’t have a connection with us. But the more we learn about life, the more we realize God is active right here, right now, all around us, all the time. Scripture tells us that all things were created by him. And if you look at the created variety, you look at all of these living things, what incredible variety there is. It tells us that God in his creativity must be amazingly creative. I have trouble, let’s say, when my wife and I were having children, we’d get together to figure out what the name was going to be of the new child. And we struggled to think of good names. If you’re creative and you’re creating new things you want to patent, it’s kind of hard to create new things. Imagine God when He’s creating this world with thousands of different species of plants and animals. He just created them all with the word of His mouth. What incredible variety is involved in the claim that God created all things. The more we learn about life, the more amazing God’s creativity becomes. And of course, what we understand about life, the amount we understand about life, is really due to the fact that God has allowed us to understand those things about life.

And why? Because He wants us to know Him. That’s an awesome thing. As amazing as God is, He wants us to understand His nature. He’s created these organisms so that we could know Him. We could know more about Him. So the more we study about biology, the more we’re impressed, the more I’m impressed with the fact that God actually desires me to know Him. Actually desires that I get into an intimate relationship with Him. We also learn by the study of the spectrum of perfection of life that God is unlimited. Whatever that life is that He has, whatever characteristics that life has, they’re unlimited in God. They’re without bounds. They’re infinite in nature. The more we understand the spectrum of life, the more we understand God’s infinitude of life. God is immensely greater than the most vital and exciting life that you’ve ever experienced. Perhaps you’ve run into people who are exciting the very fact that their life, they kind of vibrate with excitement. They have, and in fact, we kind of get the feeling that those kind of people have more life in them. They’re more lively, the meaning they have more life. Imagine the most incredibly vibrant person you know, and expand beyond that, and you’re moving in the direction of God. If you keep going on forever, that’s when you encounter the nature of God. God’s life is infinitely more vital, exciting, dynamic than the most exciting, vital, and dynamic life you’ve ever experienced. Scripture tells us that God is life. In him is no death at all. He is the opposite of death. His fully life. His so much life that he never came into being. He’s always been. He’s always existed. He is life and always has been life. And when he created life originally, he created nephesh life, never to die. He created humans in such a way, initially, that they would never die. His intention was that even animals would never die. His intention was always to have us live with him forever and ever. Death, it turns out, is only due to human sin. It’s only when we disobeyed God that death came into the world. It was an enemy. It was an enemy in the world that God initially created. In contrast, God is fully life. It is sin that introduced death. Yet even with death in the world, even with sin in the world, God desires that relationship with us. He desires the intimacy of relationship with us, even though we’re sinners. I mean, it’s amazing enough that he wanted a relationship with Adam and Eve as finite as they were. He doesn’t need anybody. He doesn’t need another being. He is self-sufficient in himself. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit have enough intimacy among themselves. They don’t need anything else. They wanted a relationship with humans in spite of their finiteness. And even after we fell, he desires life with us and to live life with us that they have us live with him forever. So much that he took on biological life. He became flesh. He became nephesh life, flesh life, so that he could live among us. And then he took our sins and died for us. Why? Because he wanted us to live with him for eternity. Because in our sin, we’re bound to die. We’re bound to have to be separated from God because God is a perfect, holy God. He can’t exist in our unholy condition, in our sinful condition. He can’t live with us. We can’t live with him. But he wants us to live with him. So he came to earth to take on human form and to take human sin so that we could take on his righteousness and be able to live with him forever.

And God offers that life, that kind of life, that life that never ends, that life that will be with God forever. That perfect, intimate relationship with an infinitely good God forever. He offers it to everyone because he paid the price of everyone’s sin. He paid the price for my sin. He paid the price for your sin. He paid the price for your sin. He paid the price for your sin. He offers eternal life to you. A special kind of life that if you’ve never experienced it is amazing. It is something that you have never seen before. And for those that even accept that, He offers even more. He didn’t just come to give eternal life. He came to give abundant life even to the believers. So if you’re a believer, if you have accepted Christ, but you still don’t have that abundant life, God offers even more. He is a God of infinite life. He offers life without bound to you, that you can enjoy with Him forever and ever. The more we learn about this incredible God, the more we learn about the life that God created, the more insight we get into this awesome God.

I’m telling you, I can’t help when I think about these things. When I look at biology and look at the awesome God that it took to create all this. The awesome God that brings life into being every day, all about us. The awesome God that took on our form in order that we could live with Him forever. The more I learn about biological life, the more I am compelled. I can’t help but do anything but erupt into worship. What else can I do? Such an awesome God is a God that I should worship, and I feel I am compelled to do so. In fact, I can’t keep it in. I got to share it with somebody else. I’m not just compelled to worship God, but to bring others into that worship. And you know what? When I do this, when I study the biological creation, learning more about God, causing me to erupt into worship, and get so excited about it that I bring others into worship, I am fulfilling my responsibility as a creation priest.

This is a requirement of God that he did not create to be onerous. To be, “Oh, I got to do this. This is awesome!” God created things in such a way that you’re supposed to be awed by it. You’re supposed to… I mean, you learn more about him and you get excited. You erupt into worship, then you bring your friend in, you bring somebody else in. When you do that, you are fulfilling your responsibility as creation priest. We also have a responsibility as kings with this information we’ve learned about life. As kings, we should at the very least preserve life. He created life. We see the life that exists now. It’s been passed on from generation to generation. We have it in front of us. We should preserve it. So the next generation can see the same thing we learned about God. We should at the very least preserve life. We have been given dominion over those things that are made. We ought to guard and keep that life that God has created. Remember, we need to always be ready to give an account. We need to take care of those things that are made, those living things about us. Because God can come back at any moment and say, “Okay, how did you take care of it? How well did you take care of my organisms? I created these organisms. I gave them to you to rule over. How well have you ruled over them? We at the very least need to be able to give those living organisms to the next generation in at least as good a state as we received it.

Some examples of how we preserve life. One is, I would suggest that sport hunting is inappropriate. Now, let me clarify here. I am not saying that it would be wrong to hunt. I’m not saying it’s wrong to fish. But if you are hunting just to kill, not to eat, for example, if you hunt to eat, you’re actually killing animals for the sake of preserving life. So when people kill things that they have to eat, then that is a process of killing which is mandated by life. But I’m talking about the folks that go out and say, “I don’t need this lion. I’m not going to eat this lion. I’m going to shoot this lion. I’m going to kill this lion and put him up on a wall or something like that, that is definitely not preserving life. It’s not doing anything that’s going to preserve your own life or to enhance your own life. You’re not eating it. That’s sport hunting. Okay? Sport fishing, where you grab the little fish in and then you rip the hook out and throw the fish back in. You’re not intending to eat the fish. You’re only intending to have fun torturing fish. That, I would maintain, is inappropriate. That if we are called to be kings over those things that are alive, that we should be preserving life, not destroying it. We should also avoid gluttony, wasting, hoarding. You know, think about this. If you eat too much, not only is it kind of bad for you, But what are you eating? Just about everything you eat is something that was once alive. If you eat too much meat, that was an animal, or those were animals that were killed, so that you could eat those things. If you eat too many vegetables, you are killing vegetables to eat those vegetables. Just about everything you eat comes from something alive. So when you eat more than you should, you are killing things unnecessarily. Gluttony, eating too much, is going against our responsibility as kings of the creation. Also, wasting food. I see this a lot at buffets, where people will take their plates and they pile it up with all sorts of food and go to their seat, and they eat about half of it and throw the rest away and get another plate.

Again, when you waste the food, when you’re not actually eating it all, something died in most cases to produce the food that you’re wasting. You are not being responsible as kings over those things that are made. You need to be only eating what you take, and only take what you eat. Also, people who hoard, like the person in the Bible that is referred to as, “I’m going to raise more corn. Oh, I can’t fit it into my barn. So I’m going to build another barn to store my corn in the barn and keep doing that.” Well, if you’re storing all of the corn, which comes from living things, and you’re not doing anything with it, you’re just hoarding it, that is not an appropriate use of life. You’re killing things and hoarding them, which is against the concept of being responsible for living things. When we photocopy too many things, when we waste photocopy paper, well, where does paper come from? It comes from trees! Living things, ultimately. When we live in houses that are too big, we’ve used all sorts of lumber from trees that shouldn’t have been cut down just because you want to live in something that is too big. Each one of these examples are things where our selfishness, desiring things for ourselves, causes death of other organisms. Another example here. We as humans have developed all sorts of chemicals that are designed to kill life. Antibiotics. “Anti” means “against.” “Bios” means “life.” Antibiotics mean “anti-life.” When you take an antibiotic, the design of an antibiotic is to kill something alive. Usually it’s some little critter inside of you that you don’t want inside of you. So if you’re really sick, the idea is take an antibiotic that kills the organisms that are hurting you. If you do that effectively, you’ve saved your own life. So antibiotics for the purpose of preserving your life, not inappropriate. But antibiotics that are done, some people do them just to prevent themselves from getting sick. Well, it actually doesn’t work. Antibiotics kill your own cells. They’re not a good thing for you. Antibiotics should only be used, only, only, only be used when you’re trying to take out something that’s trying to kill you. You should not otherwise use antibiotics. But we have other things. Insecticides. Insecticides are things designed to kill insects. Fungicides are things designed to kill fungi. Herbicides are things designed to kill herbs, kill plants, weeds. These things should only be used when they preserve life. In other words, if you use an herbicide in such a way, it cuts down the weeds so that you get more food produce for humans so that more humans can survive.

That’s justifiable. But to, let’s say, put herbicides out on your lawn just to kill the weeds that you just don’t like the looks of, that may not be appropriate. You’re murdering, you’re killing plants in that particular case. For what reason? Are you preserving life? No, you’re killing life for a preference. Insecticides used to hold back insect populations that are destroying food crops would be justifiable because if the insects aren’t there, then more food can be used to feed humans. But if you’re killing insects just because you don’t like the looks of them, that may not be an appropriate use of insecticides. We shouldn’t kill for convenience. I just don’t like that particular tree in that position. I don’t like that particular animal walking across my yard to kill just arbitrarily, just because you don’t like it or it’s inconvenient that it be there. This is inappropriate. But it’s also inappropriate to kill babies in the womb just because you don’t think that you can take care of them. or that you… This is not an appropriate reason to kill things. Some people pull the plugs on life support systems of their grandmothers, grandfathers because, well, you know, it costs too much to support them. So I’m going to pull the plug and let them die. You’ve actually killed them, and you’ve killed them out of convenience. We should not be killing things out of convenience. We really need to value all living things because they are created by God as illustrations of God’s very nature. At the same time, we realize there’s different types of life. There literally are, according to Scripture, life that’s more important or more valued than other life. For example, You can kill plants to support animals, but you shouldn’t be killing animals to support plants. Plants are created to feed the animals, so it’s appropriate to kill animals so that… I keep saying that. Kill plants so that animals can live, but it’s not appropriate to kill animals so that plants can live. Likewise, humans are created in the image of God. It’s never appropriate to kill humans so that animals can live, or to kill humans just so plants can live. You can potentially kill animals or plants so that humans can live, but not the other way around. We need to value all life, but we value animals over plants, and humans over both animals and plants. We’re not just supposed to enhance life, or preserve life. We’re also supposed to enhance life as kings. God said when he created, after he created all the animals in Genesis chapter 1, he blessed them. The animals he had just created, he blessed them. He said, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the seas and all the earth.” You know, as the earth fills up with organisms, it becomes a bigger and better picture of the God who created them. The more we enhance the organisms, not just preserve those that are there, but increase their numbers to where they fill the earth, the more the earth has a beautiful picture of God.

So it’s our responsibility not just to preserve those that are alive, but look around and find those places where organisms are too few in number.

In many cases, we messed the place up and ruined it so that organisms can’t live in there. It’s our responsibility to go in there, clean that place up, and let organisms multiply in that area and fill that area, thus bringing glory to God.

We should enhance life’s fullness and abundance as often and whenever as we can. And as we do this, as we act as priests of the creation, kings of the creation, preserving life, enhancing life, We bring more and more glory to God as time goes on.

And this is our responsibility. We need to study the creation, find out where more organisms can live. There’s something in biology called a carrying capacity. It’s sort of a measure of how many critters and plants can live in an area. We should figure out how many plants and animals can live in an area. If there are too many, bring the numbers down so that the right number is there. If there are too few, the numbers up so that it brings maximal glory to God. And when we do this, we in fact do bring glory to God. We shouldn’t destroy things. We should enhance them. And all this will bring glory and honor to God, and we fulfill our responsibility as good priests and kings of the creation.