Although the accusation of mixing Christianity with science is regularly leveled at the creation scientist, one finds plenty of emotion—and yes, religion—in the secular scientific community.
Ornithologists—and biologists in general—were overjoyed recently to discover a woodpecker that was thought to be extinct but has been found alive in the Big Woods region of Arkansas.1 For six decades the ivory-billed woodpecker was reported as probably extinct by bird scientists until eight sightings and even a videotape of the creature were compiled over the years 2004-05. Even though this bird is merely a variety of woodpecker, it has caused quite a stir.
Some biologists and their reports of the rediscovery of the bird were quite emotional. In regard to trekking in the Arkansas woods, audio archivist Martha Fischer said, "The place really is like being in a cathedral."2 One report said many who searched the woods for the creature were "changed by their experience."3 Indeed, an associate professor of biology "put his face in his hands and began to sob" and another "was too choked with emotion" after sighting the elusive bird, saying it rose "Lazarus-like from the grave."4
Rediscovered plants receive the same reverent accolades. Denis Kevans and Sonia Bennett wrote a poem about a conifer thought to be extinct since Jurassic times, but was found to be alive in Australia in 1994:
There's a tree that's so rare,
Grows deep in the gorges out there,
Deep in my heart I will sing of the Wollemi Pine,
No preaching words, no angry tones,
The Wollemi stands all alone,
One hundred million years of passing time. 5
Man is inherently religious and must worship something during his sojourn on earth. If he rejects the Creator, he or she will very likely worship the creation and those creatures that inhabit it. The apostle Paul warned in Romans 1:25 that there would be those,
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature [literally, creation] more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Creation scientists certainly share in the joy of finding a creature or plant alive that was thought to be gone forever. But all living things are from "the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein" (Acts 14:15). We are commanded not to worship the creature, but to bow down and worship the One who created them. Christians have been given a mandate to be wise stewards of what God has given us, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it . . ." (Genesis 1:28). We are to care and be responsible for our world, but not worship it, call it Mother, or treat it as though it was a living organism to be revered.
- Ivory-billed woodpecker not extinct. Science & Space. Posted on CNN.com December 12, 2005.
- Quotes from the Searchers. The Search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Posted on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website.
- Meet the 2004-05 Search Team. The Search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Posted on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website.
- Gregory, M. Union Songs in Australia: history in song and song in history. Posted on the Rough Reds: Vintage Reds website at roughreds.com.