COLUMNFish, lizards, and molecules point to God
Published 7:00 am Sunday, October 10, 2021
Paul writes in Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” I believe God has given us many examples in creation that have Christian symbolism. These examples can be very inspiring.
A wonderful example is the crucifix fish. The arrangement of bones on its skeletal head resemble a crucified person, another section looks like the shield of a Roman soldier, another section looks like a Roman sword, and when shaken, a sound like dice being cast is heard, reminiscent of Roman soldiers gambling for Christ’s garments.
On a trip to Belize I saw a basilisk lizard, better known by the locals as a Jesus lizard, because it can walk on water, or more accurately run on water. It is a fascinating thing to watch because they don’t accomplish this feat by speed, but in a completely unique running style. Basilisk lizards have special toes on their rear feet. These long toes have fringes of skin-like scales that spread out in the water to increase the surface area of the foot making contact with the water. When they run on water, they pump their legs rapidly, slapping their feet hard against the water. This action creates tiny pockets of air that keep them suspended on top of the water as long as they maintain a fast pace. One of my favorite examples of Christian symbolism in nature is laminin, the self-adhesion molecule that holds our body together. When you see a microscopic picture of laminin there is no mistaking its shape for a cross. Louie Giglio made this into a famous inspirational sermon a number of years ago, and if you have never heard it, it is worth fifteen minutes on YouTube. As Louie reminds us, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). Indeed, Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection hold all things together, even every molecule of our bodies.
The sand dollar is the last one I illustrate today, though examples like this are all through nature. On the outside the sand dollar has five holes that remind us of Jesus’ hands, feet, and side that were all pierced at his crucifixion. One side of the sand dollar looks like an Easter lily, the center like the star that guided the wise men at Jesus’ birth. The other side resembles a Christmas poinsettia. The most amazing part is when you break open a dried sand dollar, its old skeletal structure resembles five white doves, the Christian symbol of peace.
The skeptic will scoff at these examples of nature proclaiming the glories of God. The believer will rejoice that God has left so many examples of His glory, that we may live without any doubt of the power of our God. Let us not be afraid to proclaim our faith boldly in these cynical and skeptical days. Paul wrote from prison, “So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life, not because of anything we have done, but because of his own purpose and grace” (II Timothy 1:8-9).
Can you name other examples of nature that exhibit Christian symbolism? Perhaps you have heard the legend of the Dogwood. Do you know why we display lilies at Easter and Poinsettias at Christmas? Can you think of other examples or search the internet for them? How do these natural reminders of God’s creative power inspire you?
Do you struggle with modern skepticism and cynicism? What questions about God, Jesus Christ, or faith do you struggle with the most? Do you look for opportunities to boldly proclaim your faith? Are you proud to be a Christian, as well as being humbled by the sacrifice Jesus has made for you? I hope you will look for the hand of God not only in nature, but in your life today and take time to tell another where you saw God.