Today’s letter-to-the-editor (it’s actually a column) appears in Daily Sentinel of Pomeroy, Ohio, population 1,852. It’s titled Search the Scriptures: God taught the birds to fly, and the newspaper has a comments feature.
Unless the letter-writer is a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name — but today we’ve got a preacher. It’s Jonathan McAnulty, minister of the Chapel Hill Church of Christ of Gallipolis, Ohio. We’ll give you some excerpts from the rev’s column, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, some bold font for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. Okay, here we go:
Birds are fascinating creatures, delighting with their many colors, but most especially with their aerial abilities. For as long as anyone can remember, mankind has delighted in watching birds fly, and there is a lot of delight to be had in such an endeavor. Birds are marvelous pilots, though we may not always appreciate just how much skill they are exhibiting as they fly here and there, swooping and tumbling about. Yet consider the skill it takes for a song-bird to swoop into a tree, avoiding the many branches, before coming to alight upon the single one branch it had chosen, going from a break-neck speed to a dead stop in just a matter of seconds.
Okay, birds are amazing. So are dung beetles. Now what? The rev says:
How do birds do it? Birds, we observe, are perfectly built for flight, from their feathers to their light bone-structure to their aerodynamic wings, bodies and tails. Yet physical properties alone cannot explain the remarkable aerial stunts engaged in by birds. Birds also have an innate instinct for flight. This instinct, exhibited by birds as soon as they begin trying to flap their wings, is what allows the myriad species of feathered flyers to perform their many astounding aerial feats.
Where is the rev going with this? Oh, here it comes:
Instincts, such as those possessed by birds, are one of the many glaring holes in the theory of evolution. [What?] There is no known mechanism by which a creature can pass on learned knowledge to its offspring, and, in fact, it is generally understood that learnt behavior is never passed on. So, the question remains, how did birds learn how to fly so well?
Wowie, it’s a mystery! Perhaps the rev can explain it. He continues:
The biblical answer is, of course, that God designed and created birds to fly from the beginning [Yes!] and that every flying bird that has ever been hatched came into the world with instincts already programmed into its biological makeup. “God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good (Genesis 1:21; ESV).” When we consider the creation of God, and its many marvels, we can agree with God that it was indeed good.
Okay, we all agree. Now what? Let’s read on:
Now consider that the same God who taught the birds to fly, is willing to teach us. [Teach us what?] … He wants to care for us, and He wants to raise us up. One of the beautiful promises made by God to His people is found in the prophet Isaiah: “they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles (Isaiah 40:31a; ESV).”
What is the rev saying? Here’s another excerpt:
Unlike the birds, we are not born knowing all we need to know to soar spiritually. God has designed us so as to require actual instruction. We must learn to trust. We must learn how to obey. We must learn to love one another as God has commanded. Yet, if we will receive instruction, the results are no less remarkable than the flight of any eagle or songbird. Spiritually, God has created us to have the capability to rise to heights greater than any bird has ever flown. … He has given us the capacity for a joy greater than any expressed by a bird in song, and He has promised us that if we will but follow Him, He will guide us to a heavenly and eternal home.
There’s a bit more, but this is a good place to end. Our question for you, dear reader, is simple: What did he say?
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