The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky displays his handiwork, the earth and everything in it reveals the beauty of His diverse creation. Read this insightful article written on the Biblical perspective to know more.
The Beauty of Diversity in God’s Creation
From both Biblical, Scientific Views and Concerns for Recovery of Nature
By A. Zawngia, B.D. – II (Old Course), Shillong.
For me, the topic given is quite hard to imagine, because except flowers and ladies, I could have hardly noticed anything as beautiful. It is true, every one of us takes the nature as just granted and seldom to think that it is necessary to conserve for their beauty and our resources. Rather, considering as free gift from God, we exploited mercilessly the beauty of the nature as much as we can without any respect to God’s creation. However, I changed my mind and try to discover the beauty of nature in diversity (which to be new chapter for me) as the topic given.
1. How wonderful is the creation in Diversity!
I am amazed when I asked myself of the creation, why does God not create only plain or mountain? Or how would be the life of humankind without plants and animals and even without non-living being, or if there is no large portion of water as an ocean? What would happen even if the orbit of the earth is closer or farer than this; or the earth without the sun? The answer is simple – “Life will not exist or will be very complicated than as of today.” Yet, before the creation of human beings, God knows everything and created in order to be balanced for life which is what the human cannot think of it.
1.1 Diversity of Cosmos and Universe (Gen. 1:14 – 18)
How wonderful is the sun, moon and stars! The sun, a ceaseless burning fire in the sky, is giving not only the light, but is all sources of life. Through rotation of the earth on its axis, we have day and night and the revolution of the earth on its orbit to give different seasons. And the moon that moves around the earth gives us a beautiful light in the night as well as signs for seasons. Moreover, it’s marvelous, the shining of the stars in the sky twinkling in the night! They are silent but sing in the heart of sentimental and nature-lovers. Many scientists have always been trying to discover this wonderful creation. Yet the formation of all these marvelous works of God cannot be found out, though they claim that their attempts are successful. The result is always the same; that is, “life exists only in the earth,” though our planet is just one of millions of stars and planets. “Lord, thank you so much for this beautiful creation and life.”
1.2 Diversity of the Cycle of Water in the Planet (Gen. 1:6 – 10)
Oh, how deep is this Creation in Diversity! Yes, God created not only either of plain or mountain, but both. Moreover, He knows that we need maxims of water for life; so He keeps plenty of water as an ocean, and evaporating in the sky to give rain and that rain produces fountains and becomes a running stream from high altitude of mountain to the ocean back again. Through rain and flowing of rivers, all lands are watering in season as well as unseason throughout the year naturally.
1.3 Beauty of Bio-diversity (Gen. 1:11-12; 20-21; 24-28)
When I looked at our surrounding I realized that we are not lived alone; different varieties of trees, shrubs, plants and different species of birds, animals, insects, etc. are lived around us. While some are big and tall, but some are small and dwarf. But each variety and species has its own significant and beautifully designed. The natural color of each species is more than the paint color by human artists. It’s beautiful to see all these diversities of God’s Creation. Besides, the wind and breeze, which we cannot see by naked eyes, but by feeling is all around us and the cycle of life that God’s plan to depend one another. The air that we breathe for life – while human being and animals need oxygen it is produced by plants during photosynthesis and vice versa.
1.4 Diversity of People, Nation and Culture (Gen. 1:26; 11:1ff)
When I looked around the world, how amazing and beautiful is the diversity of people, nations and culture! There are different people in colors – white, black, red, yellow, brown, and so on. Our Bible told us that we all are the descendants from Adam and Eve, but now living in different nations with different cultures. I think that for God, the people of the world are like beautiful colors of the mixture of flowers in the garden. These people are different in shape, size, height, weight, strength, thought and view. Thus the beauty is this diversity of different varieties. I like to quote a sentence stated by Pastor Joel Osteen in preaching, “God loves variety.”
1.5 Unity in Diversity (Gen. 1:31; Rev. 5:9, 25; 13:16)
God is always beyond what human can think it out. His plan and purpose for the world is more than what we can imagine. He created different varieties of plants and trees; different species of insects, birds, animals and fishes; different varieties but unique of people, nations and cultures; valleys and mountains; different flowers; and different seasons like summer, winter, spring and autumn; though all are created in different in variety, we are created to be united. The unity of all these varieties is our beauty and perfection in diversity. Amazing!
2. Memories of Two Riddles of Diversity during Childhood
During my childhood I loved riddles. Two of them are very significant in this topic. The first is – What is the greatest number in the world? The second is – What is the significant of the insignificances?
Both riddles are not easy to give the correct answers. For the first riddle, many would have guessed as sands, a drop of water during rain, water in the ocean, trees in the world, leaves of trees, human population, etc. Most of the answers are uncountable in number. But all are wrong. My friend who had the riddles would give the answer at last and says, “You guessed almost all correct. You may ask the number of sands or trees or leaves, etc. I don’t even know the accurate number of your guessing. But the correct answer is ‘different thing’. Why do I say so? because all things, even very similar two things are different from each other. You may curiously ask how sands in the river can be different. But if you examine with microscope, shapes or size or anything must be different. So since everything is different from one another, such differences (what we are talking now as diversity) are the greatest number in the world.” We did not have much to say; therefore, we called him “Champion of riddles,” because he can clarify his stance in every situation.
For the latter riddle, all friends would guess again. But no one would able to give the correct answer. Then the owner of the riddle says, “Everything is significant; you think something which is considered as insignificant has also its own significances.” Immediately, friends would raise more questions from his clarification – “How can you say that everything is significant? And if, what is the significance of the poison of snake? See, the poison kills and commits murder.” Others also added, “Then, what are the significances of leeches in a pond? What are the significances of mosquitoes? See, it bites and we get sick because of malaria and die.” Thus, as my friend was not able to clarify all questions, then he would cry at last.
These two riddles have related with our topic. Yes, even though we are not able to explain the significant of all things in particularly, they have their own significances and are created in worthy. For instance, the formation of fossils like iron ore, gold, diamond, oil, etc. is due to the accumulation of the death bodies of plants, insects and animals in millions of years. Thus, everything – living being as well as non-living being has contributed in the formation of valuable and precious things. But ‘we don’t know’ all of their significances particularly, because human knowledge is too limited or it is too deep to fathom all knowledge about God and Creation.
3. The Problems of Unity in Diversity
The problems that we are facing in this world today like ‘ecological crisis,’ “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” are primarily due to disunity among the creation. When God created the earth and the universe and all things in the earth, everything is “alright” with ecologically balanced.
3.1 Misuse of Power
According to God’s plan for the future world in Genesis Chapter one, all creations and creatures are blessed to be increased and to multiply in number. But it is since human being disintegrated with misusing of his/her authority to dominion over other creatures, the world has lost its ecological balance. While the human population increased, the population of other creations like trees, animals, birds, fishes, etc. becomes decreasing and thus ecological crisis is happening now.
3.2 Violence of Humankind
The second reason is the violent and the crucial power of human beings over other creation for all centuries resulted the lost of beauty of nature as well as resources. Since the last couple of decades, there is no more animal in the garden of forest, bird in sky, and fish in the rivers. They were exploited by no other than human beings. I can’t understand when I saw the young boys killing of insects or lizards which are not harmful to human? All birds and animals are killed and eaten up by the man who entrusted to look after them. Since the decline of love and unity of human towards the other living beings, there is nothing to discover all beauty in diversity.
The third reason that results the ecological crisis is deforestation. For many years, we, the tribal people are depending on shifting cultivation. A large portion of forest have been cleared and burnt. This affected land-sliding, decrease of water sources, lost of soil fertility and forest resources like timbers, and at the same time, a large population of insects, birds and animals were killed every year.
3.4 Growth of Industrialization
The fourth reason can be said as the growth of industrialization and globalization. People in this century are living in their whims and fancies without caring nature. A large land are now being destroyed and occupied by industrialists degrading the beauty that God created. On the other side, the growth of machines, factories, automobiles and chemical are threatening our environment. The emission of carbon dioxide results green house gases and thus the air pollution, acid rain, and global warming. Therefore, our planet has now stood up in a critical condition due to these reasons. It is going from bad to worse, rather than healing.
3.5 Hatred, Conflicts and War
The fifth reason is hatred, violence, and war between individuals, nations and communities. Every nation and tribe has a terrible history in which thousand people died due to war and communal conflicts; millions of people were killed innocently and intensively. Moreover, assimilation, racism, capitalism, imperialism and colonialism are ceaselessly flooded in every nation and society; the poor, needy and marginalized people are oppressed and their rights are exploited by the rich and powerful capitalists in government body as well as in the society, rather than liberating from their worse situation. No one thinks about the human rights that God has given us, i.e. all beings are created in equal status.
4. The Needs of Rediscovery and Reconstruction
Until and unless we realize the needs of ecological balance as well as the impacts of loss of nature, our earth will soon become deserts and then hell and the problems in the next future will be more worsen than today – there will be no more clean water, fresh air and the temperature will be risen up to high degrees, many cities will be sank into ocean due to melting of snow in the mountains and rise of sea-level, most wet streams will become dry, and calamity seems to be severe. Therefore, we need to rediscover the beauty and necessity of nature in our life and must reconstruct this world into the new world.
5. Discovery of the “Garden of Eden”
Incidentally, once I have been to Delhi for short-course training on the management and harvesting on horticulture crops in 2002. We were accommodated in the campus of Indian Agriculture and Research Institutes (IARI) located in Pusa Road. The campus is approximately 500 ha. sq. in area. There are a number of fields with varieties of fruits, crops, flowers, vegetation where the research is done; there are thick forests side by side and a number of birds and squirrels in the forest as well as in the field. How beautiful is living together with other creatures! I felt like living in the Garden of Eden (though I haven’t had any experience in such garden before yet).
After few days I met an old man who was working in that very campus, “Sir, how do you preserve all these birds and animals?” I asked. He simply answered, “No, we didn’t preserve, but I didn’t kill and eat them.” His answered is very short but clear. After few minutes’ conversation he asked, “I heard that the Nagas are still hunting and killed wild animals in the forests. Therefore, there is no more or less population of wild animals in their land. Is it true that they eat the flesh of monkey and rats also?” In fact I am not Naga, but I know myself that we did the same. I was reluctant to respond what he asked. I replied, “Sir, I don’t know exactly about the Nagas, but we also did the same thing.” He was shocked and stated, “If your people are living here for one year, all these birds and animals will be no more to see here in the campus.” Truly, the people of other faith whom are considered to be ignorant about the creation are more gracious and kind in life and practically than we, Christians who know about the full story of creation.
6. The New Reading of Bible and Interpretation
Although we know well about the creation story in the Bible, the plan and purpose of God has been failed in the Christian community. At present, the beauty of nature in creation is totally degraded and exploited due to misinterpretation and misunderstanding among believers for many years. Therefore, let us start new chapters with new reading of our Scripture.
All birds, animals, fishes and human beings are created by God and blessed to increase in number (Gen. 1:22, 24, 28). None of these should not be exploited and killed. God hates killing and is against the law of commandments (Ex. 20:13). Every living being has a right to live in this world.
For all creation and creatures, we are given green plants and fruits for food, not the flesh of living creatures (Gen. 1:29). So eating of meat or any flesh is against the law of God.
Humankind is given authority to take of nature and to look after other creations. Rather, we are a steward to take care of them (Gen. 1: 28). The nature needs protection of some weaker species of plants, animals, birds, etc. from the threat and assimilation of superior species.
We must remember that everything – living as well as non-living beings has its own significance and value. There is no other source as well as resources than creation. They are created in worthy in the sights of God.
The universe, the earth and everything – living as well as non-living beings in it reveals the beauty of diversity on God’s creation. The beauty of this diversity is shown when all these different varieties and species are working together in unity and harmony. Not only ladies and flowers express the beauty of nature, but it is more beautiful when different varieties are mixed together. That is why God saw that ‘it was good’ after every creation in each day as well as after all. The word ‘good’ here seems to be referred to beauty, significance, worthy and balanced. Therefore, let us go back to the first chapter of Genesis of the Bible and start preservation all things that God has given us. Let us rebuild the nature in our surrounding which gives us fresh air and water and happiness by stop-killing of living beings. Let us work together in saving the lost of nature before this green planet turned into desert.
NOTE: This articles has been published in “Ka Shlem Shaindur- 2011″ The Annual Magazine of John Roberts Theological Seminary, Shillong. Amazingly, it has been selected as “The Best Articles” and awarded Rs. 500.00 in cash. Upon receiving the award, the Author said, "I thank God for his blessings and talents which He bestowed upon me."
The writer Puhpa A. Zawngia is a Theological student at the said Theological Seminary. During his free time the vivid writer and former Editor of Khizaw, a much acclaimed but now defunct Mara vernacular daily writes and edits for the Maraland Post online website; and can be reached at his family blog as well. Links are given below. We thank him for contributing this insightful article.