God’s Variety Show

Genesis 1:21-23
(21) So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
(22) God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas…”
(23) And there was evening, and there was morning-the fifth day.

On the fifth day, God created the Wobbegong. [1] Fast forward several thousand years, and most humans have never even heard of this strange species of shark. While I was making dinner one night, my five-year-old voracious reader, Grace, entered the kitchen and announced that Wobbegongs do not eat humans. I breathed a sigh of relief. Even though I had no clue what animal she was talking about, I was thankful not to be featured as the main entrée on its dinner menu. I noted with irony that I had spent the morning teaching her kindergarten math, and now she was teaching me high school biology. She held up her marine life book and showed me a picture of this bizarre creature that looked like a rug from the 1970s. “Isn’t it funny that God made Wobbegongs, Mommy?” she giggled.

Up until this point, I had only thought about one shark: the Great White – Spielberg’s “Jaws,” who still manages to torment me when I am swimming in open waters and everything from a twig to a candy wrapper resembles a fin. In fact, there are more than 440 species of sharks – and that only includes the ones we have discovered. There are 11 species of Wobbegongs alone. WHY? For one thing, it sure looks impressive on God’s resumé.

When we recognize the variety of God’s creatures, we acknowledge the breadth of His wisdom and capability. It is safe to say that no human being has the knowledge, wisdom, or ability to make millions of animal species. As far as I know, there is no Creation for Dummies, Idiot’s Guide to Creation, or any book to even give us a clue where to start. The magnitude of God’s creation humbles us under His mighty hand.

Psalm 66:3-5
(3) Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you.
(4) All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name.” Selah
(5) Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man’s behalf!

In verse 5 of Psalm 66, God is clearly sending us an invitation to view His remarkable works. Every day, people flock to museums and spend money to view the world’s greatest works of “art,” but as Christians we shouldn’t ignore the greatest gallery of all. If we open our eyes, we have front row seats to the wonders of His creation. God has organized the most amazing variety show of all time! We have free admission; He’s just waiting for people to show up and be blessed. Kids are usually the first in line, so we should follow their lead. Their level of awe and excitement is what God wants from all of us!

As we get older, we tend to numb ourselves to the awesome scope and variety of God’s creation. When I think of a “shark,” I picture one kind (Jaws). Our kids pour through books in search of unique and remarkable animals. To them, discovering an amazing species is like opening a treasure chest. They are giving God the praise and glory He deserves for his tremendous power and vision! After all, God’s creations give Him praise and glory by their very existence. They “sing” to us of His power, ability, and love.

Psalm 148:7
Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths…

God’s desire is for us to stand in awe of His mighty works and praise Him! He has given us incredible comfort and peace knowing that a God who can make millions of species and provide for their needs can certainly take care of our daily concerns. He has released us from our everyday burdens so that we can love freely, rejoice fully, and laugh heartily.

It took Thomas Edison several hundred tries before he perfected the light bulb. God doesn’t make mistakes, so we know that it didn’t take him 440 tries to make the Great White, along the way cranking out the Wobbegong, the Hammerhead, and other whoppers. From a child’s perspective, God was having fun during creation, the same way children would if given a lump of clay and freedom of creativity. In the Bible, God even analogizes Himself to a potter molding clay (Jer. 18:6).

I believe that God does indeed have a sense of humor, and that He probably enjoyed teaching “art class” when creating sharks. When our kids play with clay, they start with traditional creations, such as a snake or worm. After an hour of fun, all of the colors are mixed together, and the table is covered with five-eyed globe fish and other wacky creatures. I like to imagine that God started with the Great White, and after experimenting with all of the different color and shape possibilities, He was getting downright giddy toward the end. Truly our Father is a God of JOY.

The number of fish species alone is estimated to be over 20,000. I’m basically familiar with the goldfish, both the pet and the cracker variety. Unfortunately, most of the fish we see come to us battered on a plate with fries. When I snorkeled for the first time in the tropical waters of the Caribbean, I saw fish in a rainbow of colors that I didn’t even know existed. Yet they have been there all along. God made these creatures knowing that it would be thousands of years before anyone would even see them. Imagine Him rejoicing as thousands of years later someone finally discovers one of His amazing creations. I picture Him reminiscing with an angel: “Hey, Bob! Remember when I made that one? What a doozy! Someone finally found it!” His joy would be no less than when we give our children a gift and watch their eyes light up with excitement.

Jesus loved to be around little children. After hanging around all day with those who were “dull of understanding” or even those who wanted to throw him off a cliff, who could blame him? As a homeschooling mom of three young children, I can assure you that their joy is infectious. Yes, some days also bring whining, complaining, and crying – but then I tell myself to grow up and be more like my children.

Recently my two little boys begged me incessantly to read a “zoo” book to them. I must confess that sometimes I dread reading this particular book, since it is so long. Then it occurred to me that the boys are excited about animals, and maybe I should learn yet another lesson from them. After all, animals are a part of God’s variety show. As my attitude changed, I noticed that the dread was replaced by joy as I showed my children the various colors, shapes, and sizes of animals that God could create. We laughed at the peculiar creatures and ran around the room praising God for His greatness. As I read the animal descriptions to our little children, I was reminded of one of my favorite verses:

Romans 11:33a
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!…

The children responded excitedly, “Isn’t God amazing?” I vowed never again to let my eyes glaze over during a field trip to the zoo. When we stand in awe of God’s creation, we can give Him the praise He so richly deserves. He has humbled us with His mighty show, and we should take full advantage of our lifetime- (not season-) passes. Let us joyfully proclaim:

Psalm 145:3
Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.

Endnotes

[1] A Christian scientist recognizes that on the 5th day God created the shark genus with enough inherent genetic material that over time it speciated into the thousands of shark varieties that we have today.

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1 comment

  1. Awesome!

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