A-1 - Encouraged by What You Read?

Every year on April 22, millions of people worldwide will gather on local beaches, streets, and parks to collect trash, plant trees, and honor and celebrate our Earth. In recent years, Earth Day has become almost as popular as Halloween and Christmas, observed by people from diverse religious beliefs and backgrounds. Rather than dismissing the holiday as just another day, Earth Day can remind us of the carefully crafted and fine-tuned home God has made for us.

We have many reasons to thank God, so take some time tomorrow, on Earth Day, to thank Him for creation—in particular, things like ice, flowers, leaves, and sand. You may not realize just how necessary these are for our ability to live and breathe on this planet.

The articles below expound on several of Earth’s key creations, illustrating how each testifies to the Creator.

1. “Thank God for Flowers

Flowers contribute much more than romance and beauty to humanity’s well-being. A world without flowering plants would not only be drab and uninspiring; it would also be much drier, hotter, and lacking in species diversity. Flowers help us recognize how carefully and generously God designed Earth and all its life for the specific benefit of human beings.

2. “Thank God for Falling Leaves

Plots with the greatest quantity of leaf litter receive the greatest enrichment of inorganic nitrogen and nitrates—the keys to forest growth and health. The fine-tuned abundance of leaf litter in Earth’s forests speaks of thoughtful, intentional design. It also adds one more piece of evidence for the anthropic principle, the observation that the universe and Earth were designed for human life. Next time you rake the yard, be sure to offer up thanks for the Creator’s loving design of trees and falling leaves for our benefit and pleasure.

3. “Thank God for Beaver Dams

Beavers are one of the most important producers of valley sedimentation, wetlands, and wet meadows. They help purify our lakes, rivers, and waterways. Busy beavers also famously set us an example of outstanding work ethic. As the Book of Job explains, God designed the mammals and birds to teach us important lessons about ourselves, about God, and our need for a Savior.

4. “Thank God for Sand

There are about as many grains of sand on Earth as there are stars in the universe. Sand is essential for maintaining the texture and moisture retention of terrestrial soils that advanced plants require. Though Earth did not start out with sand or silicates, God’s hand is evident in shaping Earth’s formation and history to ensure that the planet continuously possesses just-right geophysical processes operating at just-right rates, times, and places to create an abundance of sand.

5. “Thank God for Mountains

The diversity and diet breadth of herbivores is significantly higher in mountainous tropical rainforests than it is in flat lowland tropical rainforests. One of the miracles of planet Earth is that its interior is so marvelously designed that it can sustain powerful mountain building activity for several billion years. And these mountains play a crucial role in enhancing species diversity in rainforests.

6. “Thank God for Carnivores

Predators deserve human protection and care, not so much because they are cute or because they make endearing and loyal pets, but because they do so much to support all the rest of Earth’s life. Carnivores appear to be optimally designed to maximally benefit the health and population levels of the herbivores they prey upon by selectively weeding out the sick and the dying. Such ubiquitous optimal designs displayed across all species of predators are clear evidence of the handiwork of a supernatural, super-intelligent, and super-beneficent Creator.

7. “Thank God for Whales

Evolutionary models prove that, of all animals, whales manifest the highest probability for rapid extinction and the lowest probability for evolutionary advance. Yet whales have the greatest, not lowest, number of “transitions” in the fossil record. And these fossils provide evidence that God created and designed life, rather than simply permitting natural processes to evolve them. I believe that all these “transitional forms” for whales show up in the fossil record because God was using these transitions to enhance ocean biomass and to alter Earth’s atmosphere so as to compensate for the brightening Sun. Plus, God likes whales. Knowing their propensity for rapid extinction, He kept on making new ones.

8. “Thank God for Icy Greenland

Did you know that if it were not for Greenland and all its ice, we couldn’t be here? In Earth’s history, Greenland’s change in location and elevation resulted in temperatures cold enough to sustain long-term glaciation. Today, Greenland’s ice sheet covers 81 percent of its land area. All of this ice reflects away more of the Sun’s heat and light, thereby helping to cool the planet.

9. “Thank God for Hungry Hippos

Hippos remain so well hidden in Africa’s rivers and lakes that boaters, swimmers, and people doing laundry often don’t realize they have invaded hippo territory until it is too late. It seems God purposely made these giant mammals sensitive to overheating and sunburn so that they would feed at night on land and spend much of their daylight time in water, thus allowing appropriate amounts of nutrients to be transported from the land to lakes and rivers.

10. “Thank God for Trees and Responsible Lumbering

Because of their great height and mass, trees remove huge quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. And second-growth forests (areas that have been logged, replanted, and allowed to re-grow) exhibit a rate of carbon sequestration up to twenty times greater than what virgin forests manifest. It seems that Earth and all Earth’s life have been created by a God who loves and cares for all His creatures, and provides humans with all the resources they need to launch and sustain the civilization needed for billions of people to hear and respond to the gospel.

Check out more from Reasons to Believe @ Reasons.org

About The Author

Dr. Hugh Ross

Reasons to Believe emerged from my passion to research, develop, and proclaim the most powerful new reasons to believe in Christ as Creator, Lord, and Savior and to use those new reasons to reach people for Christ. I also am eager to equip Christians to engage, rather than withdraw from or attack, educated non-Christians. One of the approaches I’ve developed, with the help of my RTB colleagues, is a biblical creation model that is testable, falsifiable, and predictive. I enjoy constructively integrating all 66 books of the Bible with all the science disciplines as a way to discover and apply deeper truths. 1 Peter 3:15–16 sets my ministry goal, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience." Hugh Ross launched his career at age seven when he went to the library to find out why stars are hot. Physics and astronomy captured his curiosity and never let go. At age seventeen he became the youngest person ever to serve as director of observations for Vancouver's Royal Astronomical Society. With the help of a provincial scholarship and a National Research Council (NRC) of Canada fellowship, he completed his undergraduate degree in physics (University of British Columbia) and graduate degrees in astronomy (University of Toronto). The NRC also sent him to the United States for postdoctoral studies. At Caltech he researched quasi-stellar objects, or "quasars," some of the most distant and ancient objects in the universe. Not all of Hugh's discoveries involved astrophysics. Prompted by curiosity, he studied the world’s religions and "holy books" and found only one book that proved scientifically and historically accurate: the Bible. Hugh started at religious "ground zero" and through scientific and historical reality-testing became convinced that the Bible is truly the Word of God! When he went on to describe for others his journey to faith in Jesus Christ, he was surprised to discover how many people believed or disbelieved without checking the evidence. Hugh's unshakable confidence that God's revelations in Scripture and nature do not, will not, and cannot contradict became his unique message. Wholeheartedly encouraged by family and friends, communicating that message as broadly and clearly as possible became his mission. Thus, in 1986, he founded science-faith think tank Reasons to Believe (RTB). He and his colleagues at RTB keep tabs on the frontiers of research to share with scientists and nonscientists alike the thrilling news of what's being discovered and how it connects with biblical theology. In this realm, he has written many books, including: The Fingerprint of God, The Creator and the Cosmos, Beyond the Cosmos, A Matter of Days, Creation as Science, Why the Universe Is the Way It Is, and More Than a Theory. Between writing books and articles, recording podcasts, and taking interviews, Hugh travels the world challenging students and faculty, churches and professional groups, to consider what they believe and why. He presents a persuasive case for Christianity without applying pressure. Because he treats people's questions and comments with respect, he is in great demand as a speaker and as a talk-radio and television guest. Having grown up amid the splendor of Canada's mountains, wildlife, and waterways, Hugh loves the outdoors. Hiking, trail running, and photography are among his favorite recreational pursuits - in addition to stargazing. Hugh lives in Southern California with his wife, Kathy, and two sons.

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