When it comes to natural history and faith, I find that both subjects complement each other and enhance my perspective of the natural world. There is something, I feel, that is spiritually uplifting when you observe a creature, which you have read a lot about and then see it in the flesh. It can be a surreal moment and it is one which I have experienced on many occasions over the last three or four years when observing any animal from buzzards to butterflies. These times serve as a reminded that as a human it not just our life that matters but the lives of the animals we share this planet with.
In nature, I often see symbols of God on my walks. For example, a fallen tree log or stump may look dead from outside. As I step closer it reveals some protruding fungi and woodlice scurrying along and in the darkest depths the beetle larvae feeds. This log is thriving with wildlife even though the tree is dead I feel it represents that life is ever lasting as even more life is established and created. When I see, this natural event taking place it me makes think of the resurrection of Christ and how something may appear to have died but emerges from this state and is transformed into something even more magical, a new eco – system. It is illustrated in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, “So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.”
As the dark nights begin to disappear and the buds begin to blossom into a rich array of spring flowers. The butterflies are free from their cocooned existence and dance into an enigmatic flight. In early Christianity, it was believed that butterflies were associated with people souls and resurrection. Some of the first people to study these creatures were vicars. When a caterpillar goes into it cocoon it is like it has died, in the same way in which Christ was laid in the tomb, after the crucifixion. It emerges into wonderful, beautiful butterfly, it becomes even more powerful than it was before, like the holy spirit. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.”
Every year there are always new reports stating that scientists have made new discoveries about the medicinal qualities found in both plants and animals, that could help humans. A recent new find has found that the three-toed Sloths, course fur grows Green algae that lives symbiotically along-side them and allows the sloths to camouflage. The sample of fungi that came back from nine different sloths that live-in Panama’s Soberania National Park, has shown the potential to fight against deadly parasites, cancers and bacteria in humans. This amazing find shows that we still have a great deal more to learn about the natural world and the creatures which were created. It also shows the true endless, possibilities and miracles that plants and animals hold. Job 12:7 “But ask the beasts, and they will teach you”
However, the environment now hangs in the balance because of global warming, poaching, mass urbanisation and much more. This is having a drastic impact on biodiversity and in certain parts of the world it has become prominent, such as in China. Here people are physically having to pollinate their crops by hand due to the shrinking number of bees. The WWF states in ‘The Living Planet’, report of 2016 that we could witness a two-third decline in biodiversity in the half century from 1970- 2020, unless we act now. If we choose not to look after planet earth, we are danger of losing all these plants and animals that could reveal so many secrets to us. We were give the earth to look after and all that was created and we all are responsible regardless of whether we have faith or not. We bear the guilt for the state our world is in (Isaiah 24: 4–6)
I am a Christian who is passionate about natural history and someone who is heavily involved volunteering with countless wildlife charities and bit of a rambler with my camera. Over the last couple of years have I begun to really see the beauty in all our creatures, great and small. Whether it be the buzzard in flight or the spider upon a web. All life is of value in its many forms and faith has really enhanced this view for me and I am humbled by the creation which is all around. The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it (Genesis 2:15)