An interesting study involves the biblical classifications of living things. Genesis doesn’t talk about species — it talks about broad groupings. For example, “the flesh of fish” and “the flesh of birds” (1 Corinthians 15:39 and Genesis 1:20-21) includes a wide range of species with many adaptions to particular environments. There is no better example of adaptation than what we see in God’s diversity of birds.
The December 5, 2020, issue of Science News featured a discussion of recent studies into the genomes of modern birds. called the “Bird 10,000 Genomes Project.” An international team of researchers has published the genomes for 363 species of birds, covering roughly 92% of all modern bird families. The scientists in the project are determined not to stop until they have published the genomes of all bird species on Earth.
This diversity is amazing. There are flightless birds like emus, kiwis, and penguins. Some birds are carnivores, and others are herbivores. Other birds have very limited and specialized diets. Some have wide ranges, and others, such as the Henderson crake, are found only on one island in the South Pacific. The most practical aspect of this study is learning how to protect bird species to preserve diversity. All creatures on Earth have properties important to humans, so this research is critical.
God didn’t create 10,000 species of birds independently of one another. He created “fowl,” and the Bible mentions several different species. The bird genomes allowed them to adapt to different environments. Those environments could support other forms of life only because birds supply nutrients and resources that make life possible. Bird migrations can provide the needs for environments thousands of miles apart. The Arctic tern and the bar-tailed godwit are excellent examples of that. Birds not only supply the needs of plants, but their eggs provide food for a variety of animals.
God has used diversity to supply the entire planet with life. Romans 1: 20 tells us that we can know there is a God by the things He has made. We see incredible wisdom and design built into God’s diversity of birds.
— John N. Clayton © 2020