Just a Few of the Ways that Nature Points Us Towards Its Creator

I’ll start with 10 things that are rather obvious, or should be anyway:

1. Entropy is considered a universal law in physics. Yet, very well designed machines can minimize it’s impact. Cars can be made today to last a quarter million miles or longer by applying better design and manufacture methods. This is through the collective efforts of highly intelligent designers. Living creatures are so well designed that they seem to play with entropy at will. Birds make a mockery of human attempts at flying machines. Swifts fly so efficiently that they can remain airborne for the entire lives powered by tiny insects. Landing only for brief periods long enough to rear their young

2. Artistry is everywhere in the natural world. The peacock is considered a symbol of beauty. How about the horse, the rose and the rainbow trout. How many favorites can you think of?

3. Flight requires advanced knowledge of aerodynamics, weight economy and balance. Feathers alone are engineering marvels that work beautifully because they were designed intelligently. Remember. that the sole design consideration for so called, “Natural Selection” is function, that’s it. And ns can only operate on existing designs.

4. Music requires a complex knowledge of tonality and harmonics. Think of how birds with such small brains are designed to produce some of the best music.

5. Sight opens up a creature to an awareness of its surroundings. With all our amazing camera technologies, we still can’t hold a candle to our own eyes. So if you must conclude that the camera is an intelligent design, how much more so with the human eye!

6. Diversity is the hallmark of the natural world. Diversity means LOTS of genetic code has been written by an awesome code writer! Nuff said!

7. Fireflies still exist, even though they are designed to give away their locations to predators! They were also designed to delight us on those hot evenings of spring and summer!

8. Metamorphosis allows insects to transform their entire body shape and function. They were designed to do so in the safety and security of a protective “cocoon”. This is a design “tour de force” by any reasonable measure!

9. Biological Clocks are design considerations that synchronize creatures life cycles in some way with certain changes in their environment. In some cases it might be the length of daylight, the tides and the position of the moon in the sky or it’s phase, or the temperature, etc. that will trigger a bear to wake up from hibernation and a turtle to swim thousands of miles across oceans to the tiny island where it was born, or all the billions of coral polyps around the world to release all their eggs into the see at the same moment on a certain day of the year.

10. Ecology is another design, “tour de force” where the Creator displays not only His ability as a Designer, but his wisdom in how all the dirversity of creatures can coexist in harmony. Predators and prey, big and small, pathogen and immune system, reproduction and death. Moms to bring us into the world and cleanup crews: yeast, insect, bacteria, birds, etc. to recycle our bodies after our spirits return to the presence of the author of it all to receive our fantastic new bodies so we can give an account for our lives on this Creator’s planet!

These are only a few of vast array of design indicators… In the next few posts I’ll point out many others.

Wayne Hollyoak

Hazards of Pride

Sometimes I find myself and I don’t like what I see. This can be especially true as a “musician”. For two thirds of my musical “career” I’ve played guitar as a hobbiest and occasionally in church just quietly in the background “accompanying” others and as time went on gradually learning how to lead singalongs for small groups.

These past few years I’ve had the amazing privilege to play in a worship band for my church. This has really helped me begin the transition from “guitar player” hobbyist to “musician” and become an integral part of a musical team. It’s also brought out some of my glaring shortcomings as a musician and as a man and more importantly as a Christian.

I’ve recently joined a Christian rock band that members of our worship team have formed. I started playing rhythm guitar and another guy was to play bass. But, he wasn’t able to join us until after the new year. So, I filled in on bass, which I played only very briefly some 30 years back. I like playing bass, but it has an entirely different role and presents a whole new set of challenges.

In the meantime we are playing live! That places me in a somewhat difficult position of someone with very limited experience being depended on by friends that I don’t want to let down. And, it does bring out my clumsiness and poor focus. I don’t like making mistakes and it really bothers me if it causes problems for others.

last night we had a practice as backup musicians for our church’s youth musical ensemble. The song we’re playing is one that I’ve played often with the band and has a 4 count rest after the intro. That means I need to wait for the drummer to play a certain part. Well, on one try, I jumped the gun hit the note right in the middle of the quiet spot and suddenly all eyes were on me! I blew it and knew it!. But, started to make excuses, “The tempo seems slower than before!” Everyone paused and shook their heads, “No, it was the way we’ve always done it.”

Yes, they were right! and I knew it! Not sure if I apologized for my making excuses or not. That’s just one of many times that I’ve tried to cover my butt “save face” as they say. One of those things that reminds me of how pride can so easily bring the worst out of us if we let it creep in our hearts. On the one hand, I can say that 6 months on a “new” instrument isn’t enough to get to performance level. On the other, I accepted the position and practice session are there to work out our mistakes. The last 3 tries I turned to the drummer and waited for his cue and things went fine. But, I still had the “chip(pride) on my shoulder” that was troubling my peace of mind.

I’m grateful that the Holy Spirit is there to dislodge me from my “high horse” as needed. Finally, I admitted my pridefulness to God a little while ago and the release from its grip was immediate! I’m very grateful!

Wayne Hollyoak

Boggles the Mind!

There are so many things about this universe that we live in that blow me away! The land we walk on, the house I live in, all the wonderful materials that man has been able to use to make things. Pine trees and oak trees, spruce, maple, rosewood and on and on provide building and cabinetmakers and even musical instrument makers with strong, durable and beautiful materials for use in make all sorts of useful things. Things that we depend on like telephone poles and books.

Snow on a fence

Wood comes from those wonderful living things we call trees which give us shade and block the wind and even produce tasty fruit and syrup. The wood itself is composed of material left over from living cells that gave the trees their strength and let them grow to great heights.

Even rocks and soil all around us are engineered to serve us in many useful ways. A little tar and gravel and you can make roads. Sand can be melted to make glass that lets us see the snow on the ground outside as clear as day even though we are inside dry and warm as can be. Even water in a plastic bottle can be refreshing on a hot dry day or it can fill an ocean that dolphins and whales can swim and play in.

Gases like oxygen and nitrogen have just the right qualities needed to keep our bodies functioning. Even at this molecular and atomic level the engineering is beautifully refined and tuned. The behaviors of all the subatomic particles and such give us a wide range of elements each with unique properties that make a seemingly infinite variety of materials.

We are absorbed and surrounded by so many fantastic materials, objects and gases that I find myself overwhelmed at how easy it is the just call them, “things” and take them all for granted. How could I have ever thought that this was just a cosmic accident? How will I ever come to appreciate all the hard work, planning, time, wisdom and patience it must have taken to get it all going? The love that our Creator shows us is impossible to measure in it’s span and depth and detail! And, yet that is only the beginning!

Wayne Hollyoak

All These Things

In my teen years during the 70’s, late 60’s i was a part of a garage band, “Heart’s Blood”. We were really just a trio with me on bass, Phil a singer and guitar player and Mike the drummer. We could play 2 or 3 songs and Phil and Mike were OK musicians. 

My church, First Baptist, has a wonderful group of musicians. I’m really blessed to be a part of so many fun and rewarding musical ministries. The Sweethearts Banquet is coming up and Kenny has formed an inpromptu band to do some 50’s 60’s pop/rock fun stuff. The plan is to prepare some comic, fun surprises for those that attend.

Even Pastor Ed, who is a fine guitar player and really enjoys lighthearted fun, is joining in. I’ll be rythym guitar this time and during practice, last night, the sound was not bad.

For some of us, it’s a chance to try to recreate some of the really fun musical things we enjoyed listening to in the old days. One of the many surprises that my Creator had for me since i’ve become a Christian.

So many times, God has amazed me in the way he gives us the desires of our hearts. He tell us, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” For me, the struggle is to stay on track and keep Him first.

At times, though, i find out that many of my heart ambitions aren’t all that they’re cracked up to be. My heavenly Father has allowed me to try a little taste of some of my musical ambitions. Maybe it’s just to help me see them a little better in perspective of life.

Wayne Hollyoak

The Mystery of Music

There’s an interesting story behind the hit movie series, “Star Wars”. George Lucas wanted to bring a scifi adventure tale to the screen in a way that no one had done before. One of the ways “Star Wars” was to be unique was that it would have it’s own masterpiece of a musical score.

Previously, Stanley Kubrick had used some classical pieces in his scifi, “2001, A Space Oddesey”. Classical music is probably the epitome of disciplined and refined musical genres. Lucas uses classical orchestration to his own means as a background to telling his tale. It’s a very effective way to give an otherwise comic book story much more dignity and grandiuer.

Music has a profound effect on us. As a Christian, and a musician of sorts, my goal is to make my music become subject to Christ and His teaching. Like the fictional war that Lucas’ character, Luke Skywalker was fighting with the “dark side of the force”, there is a dark side to music.

Music effects us in profound and subtle ways that we don’t fully understand. Our sense of hearing is designed to give us an awareness of our surroundings, to enable verbal communication and to enjoy certain complex, rythmic patterns of sounds we call, “music”.

I doubt that music was ever intended to become the obsession that it has become to the western world. Many people spend thousands of bucks each year on their musical cravings. CD’s, concert tickets, iPods, boom boxes, mp3’s, music videos, etc.

I play guitar and bass for a youth choir at my church. Kenny, the director also plays for them and we work on lots of familiar pop and rock tunes from our younger days. We take songs and add our own words and make them songs of praise and worship for the kids. It’s a way for them to lead the mostly adult congregation into a closer relationship with Christ.

But, it’s a challenge to extricate the irreverence and attitude of arrogance and pride from many of the original recordings. One way is to poke a little fun at the original lyrics and another is to soften the hard edge of the instrumentals. The difficulty i find over and over is my tendency to let the music dictate how i play rather than the opposite.

It’s just one of the ways that God has challenged me to gain mastery over my own selfishness and pride and learn how to offer Him service, devotion and humility.

Wayne Hollyoak