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Diversity speaks of a divine plan

By Judith Victoria Hensley

Plain Thoughts

I wait patiently each year for the arrival of fall color. Our mixed mesophytic temperate deciduous forest in southeastern Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia where the states conjoin is a feast for the eyes in a good year. There are only two more forests in the world like ours. The other two forests are in China and Japan.

In the last ice age when the glaciers pushed down from the north, they brought with them seeds from hardwoods that originated in the cold northern temperatures and elevations. The glaciers played out in our region, colliding with the wide variety of soft woods from the south. We are the beneficiaries of both. We have an amazing number of tree species present in our region.

As a matter of fact, we are home to many rare plants and animals, some not found elsewhere in the world.

I always turn my thoughts toward God and a master plan for this earth and everything in it, both animals, plants, and humans. Whether a person believes in evolution or not, I believe Creator God set it all in motion, and continues to create.

When people read the Genesis account of creation, it is amazing that those non-scientists who were recording scripture thousands of years ago got it exactly right about the progression of creation. Light was separated from the dark, land from the sea, water creatures, land animals, and so on. What people often fail to see in that passages is that God created the earth and mankind in six days. Who are we to say how long a day is with God? We judge a day by the earth rotating one time around the sun. God’s days may be based on the entire universe as we know it rotating around Him. But besides that, the verses say that on the seventh day God rested.

It doesn’t say that He quit. It doesn’t say that He never created anything else on this planet. It doesn’t say that He ran out of ideas or stopped creating.

The beauty and diversity of trees alone speak volumes to me. If the evolutionary thought that only the strongest survive, then why do we have over one hundred tree species in our area? Why aren’t all hardwoods oaks? Why aren’t all fruit trees apple? Why aren’t all evergreens pines? Why aren’t all blooming flowers dandelions or roses?

I believe God is an artistic Creator who loves diversity and color, form, and shape. He placed a bit of himself in every living thing, and in man put a spark of His own Spirit. As humans, skin color, hair color, eye color, height, weight, or any other variable are not the point of being made in the image of God. The part of us that is like Him is our soul, our spirit, our ability to think, speak, and choose.

Imagine of there was only one shade of green for all plants. What if there was only one shape of leaf? Only one species of dog, cattle, sheep, or horse? For survival’s sake, did the earth need all of the variety?

Personally, the beauty of creation, the diversity of it all speak to me of a divine plan of creation by God. I would have a much harder time believing that all of the beauty around us is accidental and came purely from evolution rather than believing there is a God who had a divine plan from the very beginning which allowed things to evolve with guidance.

One thing I know for sure is that as I enjoy the leaves and color changes of the landscape, I do it with appreciation for God who created it.

Reach longtime Enterprise columnist Judith Victoria Hensley at judith99@bellsouth.net or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.