“In him we were also chosen… in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:11-12
I used to enjoy keeping up with the news, but I’ll have to admit that more often than not these days, I prefer to leave my computer off. Much of today’s news not only highlights, but also praises things that are in complete opposition to our Christian faith. It would be nice to play the ostrich and just stick my head in the sand, but this is the world that our boys are growing up in. They need to learn to see the world with discernment, and then learn how to “speak the truth with love.” And they’re going to need to learn these important truths at a much younger age than I did!
But this will not “just happen;” someone needs to teach them. And they probably won’t get everything they need just by going to church each Sunday. They won’t learn enough by being missionary kids, and they won’t soak in enough by listening to their parents tell stories about how God is working in Quechua villages. They need some dedicated training in Biblical apologetics, and that’s what we’ve been doing this year in our homeschool classes.
Recently we looked at the question, “Why did God create me?” The bottom-line answer is that we were created to glorify God. But not only we human beings have this privilege; all of creation exists to glorify and worship Him, according to Nehemiah.
“You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.” Nehemiah 9:6
With that bottom-line in mind, the boys and I are always on the lookout for details in God’s creation that glorify Him. Take these sea urchins that we found on our last beach trip as an example. This shellfish (actually it’s an echinoderm) has no brain, no heart, and no eyes, yet it can walk along the ocean floor on tube feet, eating whatever it finds along the way. Some species can live up to 200 years!
I don’t have any pictures of live sea urchins in their ocean habitat, because the first time I tried to get a shot, a huge wave crashed over me and ruined my favorite little point & shoot camera! The next time I was poking around in the tide pools looking at the urchins, a wave knocked me down and dragged me through a rocky tunnel, doing its very best to pull me out into the surf. So I’m a lot more careful in sea urchin habitat now, and usually content myself with picking up the empty shells.
The picture on the right shows the bumpy nodules where the protective spines attach, and I took the picture below to highlight the perfect, five fold symmetry of this echinoderm. You can also see light shining through the holes that make up the five lines where the urchin’s tube feet reach through the shell. These tube feet, responsible for the urchin’s movement along the ocean floor, operate on a somewhat complicated hydraulic system. And all of this in an animal that has no brain!
I suppose that secular biologists would claim that this is animal falls rather low on the evolutionary scale. No brain, no heart, no eyes; it exists simply to eat and reproduce. But God chose to create this simple yet beautiful animal to glorify Him. And when you take a moment to look at the color, the perfect symmetry of the shell, the beautiful star shining through the center, you start to see how even the simplest life can glorify God.
I’m so glad that the boys and I have this wonderful opportunity to take a closer look at creation, to see how each created thing fulfills its purpose in glorifying God. And I hope and pray that we will also fulfill our purpose here on God’s beautiful earth.