AVE YOU HEARD flowers that pollinate by "tricking" bees into taking a bath? Or about flowers that "shoot" their pollen onto bees backs? Just as amazing as these facts themselves is the source that relates them. The whole story demonstrates that belief in God is a choice!
"Ever since the creation of the world [God's] eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made..." says Romans 1:20 in the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. It is possible to look at the miracles of the world around and see evidence of God's handiwork, understanding not only that He is the Creator but also glimpsing some of His nature.
What follows is just such a peek at a specific type of flower, an orchid with the scientific name of Coryanthes. Although the language is a little technical and somewhat archaic, it's easy enough to follow. The incredible story is worth reading! It is excerpted from the writings of a man by the name of Charles who in turn is relating the studies of a scientist named Cruger. It's important that you read the account in the author's own words.
A Built In Bee Bath Bucket
"THIS ORCHID HAS part of its labellum or lower lip hollowed out into a great bucket, into which drops of almost pure water continually fall from two secreting horns which stand above it; and when the bucket is half full, the water overflows by a spout on one side. The basal part of the labellum stands over the bucket, and is itself hollowed out into a sort of chamber with two lateral entrances; within this chamber there are curious fleshly ridges. The most ingenious man, if he had not witnessed what takes place, could never have imagined what purpose all these parts serve. [Emphasis mine throughout.]
"But Dr. Cruger saw crowds of large humble-bees visiting the gigantic flowers of this orchid, not in order to suck nectar, but to gnaw off the ridges within the chamber above the bucket; in doing this they frequently pushed each other into the bucket, and their wings being thus wetted they could not fly away, but were compelled to crawl out through the passage formed by the spout or overflow. Dr. Cruger saw a 'continual procession' of bees thus crawling out of their involuntary bath. The passage is narrow, and is roofed over by the column, so that a bee, forcing its way out, first rubs its back against the viscid stigma and then against the viscid glands of the pollen-masses. The pollen-masses are thus glued to the back of the bee which first happens to crawl out through the passage of the lately expanded flower, and are thus carried away. Dr. Cruger sent me a flower in spirits of wine, with a bee which he had killed before it had quite crawled out with a pollen-mass still fastened to its back.
"When the bee, thus provided, flies to another flower, or to the same flower a second time, and is pushed by its comrades in to the bucket and then crawls out by the passage, the pollen-mass necessarily comes first into contact with the viscid stigma, and adheres to it, and the flower is fertilised. Now at last we see the full use of every part of the flower, of the water-secreting horns, of the bucket half full of water, which prevents the bees from flying away, and forces them to crawl out through the spout, and rub against the properly placed viscid pollen-masses and the viscid stigma." [You have to read the rest of this article to learn the source!]
The Design Reveals The DESIGNER
THESE DESIGN DETAILS are fascinating, for they show us the complexity, variety and even a touch of humor in Gods creativeness. Several Scriptures confirm that we can learn of God through the Creation He has made. One such reference is found in Acts 14. The Apostles Paul and Barnabas made quite a stir in the city of Lystra by healing a man who had been crippled, unable to walk, since birth. Idolatry was rampant in Lystra, and the instinctive reaction by the citizens of the city was to worship these ministers! Gods servants of course deflected this mistake and instead directed the people to the Creator God.
"Friends, why are you doing this? We are mortals just like you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In past generations he allowed all the nations to follow their own ways; yet he has not left himself without a witness in doing good--giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, and filling you with food and your hearts with joy" (Acts 14:15-17 NRSV).
An Orchid That Shoots Straight!
HERE'S ANOTHER EXAMPLE of a remarkable part of creation from Charles:
"The construction of the flower in another closely allied orchid, namely the Catasetum, is widely different, though serving the same end; and is equally curious. Bees visit these flowers, like those of the Coryanthes, in order to gnaw the labellum; in doing this they inevitably touch a long, tapering, sensitive projection, or, as I have called it, the antenna. This antenna, when touched, transmits a sensation or vibration to a certain membrane which is instantly ruptured; this sets free a spring by which the pollen-mass is shot forth, like an arrow, in the right direction, and adheres by its viscid extremity to the back of the bee. The pollen-mass of the male plant (for the sexes are separate in this orchid) is thus carried to the flower of the female plant where it is brought into contact with the stigma, which is viscid enough to break certain elastic threads, and retaining the pollen, fertilisation is effected."
Isn't that a marvelous illustration of Gods handiwork? Not everyone sees the evidence of Creation in the same way. Take Charles, for example. The man's full name is Charles Darwin, and the above quotations are taken from his book, The Origin of the Species (The Modern Library, Random House, Inc., New York; quotations taken from p. 142-3)! Are you surprised? He uses these examples to show the ability of plants to adapt and to vary, rather than to show the variety in Gods design. Why?
Why Don't We All See Evidence The Same Way?
CHARLES DARWIN IS NOT THE ONLY SCIENTIST in his time who interpreted what he studied in creation as evidence of life without a Creator. There were many others. Why did they see what we see as inspiring, incontrovertible data of God's handiwork as evidence that God was not involved? We find the answer to that question in the first chapter of Romans.
Quoted above is verse 20, with the declaration that viewing creation is a portal through which we can see the Creator. While everyone sees the same evidence, each makes a choice as to how to use it. The early proponents of evolution made a conscious choice not to believe in God. They chose to interpret their studies in a way that would exclude God.
"...So they are without excuse; for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools; and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles" (Romans 1:20-23, NRSV).
We all have an important choice to make about the evidence of a Creator in creation. Even though the evidence is strong, each of us must choose whether or not we will believe it. Our choice will have a profound effect on our lives.
If we see God in what He has made, then we have a constant reminder of His ability, His care, His humor, His purpose. If we do not see God, then we are not reminded of any purpose He has for us and are subsequently "freed" from a potentially troubling conscience that might cause us to question a wrong thought or action.
To Choose Belief Is To Choose Behavior
THE REST OF THIS CHAPTER of Romans makes bluntly clear that there are serious consequences for failing to see God in Creation. Human judgment becomes the substitute guide for a person instead of God's Spirit and His Word. Eventually, that human judgment degenerates to the point that any and every bad choice about how to live can and will be made.
Confirmation of this fact is voiced by the Psalmist: "Fools say in their hearts, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is no one who does good" (Psalm 14:1, NRSV). The language used in this verse implies that people who choose not to believe in God become decadent, wasted.
Continuing in the context, the Psalmist tells us that: "The LORD looks down from heaven on humankind to see if there are any who are wise, who seek after God" (Psalm 14:2, NRSV). God is able to guide and bless those who wisely choose to believe in Him. Let's make the right choice!
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