LET THE ANIMALS TEACH US: “LOOK AT THE BIRDS OF THE AIR.”
Our God is always present because His presence can be seen everywhere in creation. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20) God’s presence resides in His testimony of what He has created here on earth for us to experience Him. This includes the tiniest microbes, the largest bodies in the starry hosts, and fast-moving galaxies in space. His presence is expressed everywhere in creation through His works which are witnessed by all so that they do not have an excuse to deny Him.
His divine wisdom and invisible attributes are experienced by those who are free from bondage and can see Him clearly, including creatures that crawl, walk, and fly. God’s Word addresses His animals as our teachers in Job 12:7-9:
“But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; and the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; and the fish of the sea will explain to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this, in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?”
We can certainly learn from God’s creatures because they are the works of His hands who demonstrate His power and His glory as we observe their structure (anatomy) and how they interact with creation. We see how His design fits His purpose for the world which becomes an important point in demonstrating God’s excellence and almighty power. Even though the creation is in “bondage of corruption” as stated in Romans 8:21, we also see that it has remnants of excellence from the beginning as it says in Genesis 1:31: “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” There was no sin on earth or in any of God’s creatures, including resources provided by the earth. They were all in harmony because everything was “good.”
BIRDS TEACH US ABOUT MIRACULOUS DESIGN
Birds are some of the most prolific and diverse creatures on earth who also have the amazing ability to fly. Design is a factor of intelligence in which God devised a plan to accomplish the purpose of overcoming gravity in air. The bird’s structure has to be made of special material that is light enough to fly. It also requires a mechanism for its motion to happen freely. This special design could not logically come from natural evolutionary forces. It could only be a product of design from beyond any human intelligence. The only conclusion one can make is that it came from an outside source who is much smarter than we are which can only be described as God.
Here is a brief example of detailed evidence of the magnificent design of these majestic avian creatures that sets them so far apart, defying evolution in every way. let the evidence speak for itself.
1. AVIAN RESPIRATORY SYSTEM
Birds need large amounts of fresh air. Of all animals, birds have the most efficient respiratory system. They naturally have high metabolisms to support the load of their large muscles to move their wings for flight. It requires a specially-designed system to provide for an efficient supply of oxygen. Birds do not breathe like any other mammal or reptile as they lack a diaphragm, a dome-shaped sheet of muscle and tendon that separates the chest form the abdomen in other animals. Its primary function is to allow air to move in and out. A bird has only one way for air to flow to the lungs, much different than mammals’ lungs that have bi-directional movement, air going back and forth providing in and out movement in the lungs. Birds have one flow of air that fills their two small lungs and nine specially-designed air sacs. They are part of the respiratory system but are not directly involved in gas exchange like mammal lungs. Another excellent engineering design in birds is that their blood moves in the opposite direction of the respiratory system for more efficient intake. Because of these airs sacs, a bird can sing while in flight.
2. AVIAN CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Birds are considered the best athletes of all animals because of their incredible circulatory system. They take large volumes of blood into their four-chambered hearts and circulate it through their blood vessels. Their cardiac activity is supurb; an active pigeon has a heart rate of 670 beats per minute while a human aged 35 can only reach 157. Avian hearts are specially designed to be larger and more powerful for their size and are responsible for keeping their bodies warm between the temperatures of 1000 and 1080 F. Again, because of the bird’s activity, particularly as it concerns flight, birds have high metabolic rates and therefore there is a need to have blood circulated very efficiently. With their amazing circulatory system, they have the ability for physical exertion for long periods of time as demonstrated when bids migrate thousands of miles.
3. AVIAN SKELETAL SYSTEM
Skeletal systems throughout the biological world for vertebrates and particularly mammals have common anatomical structures with similar organ function. Evolutionists use this universal operational system as proof of common ancestry while Creationists point to outside universal superior intelligence who created all things with design and function. We can see this in the engineering world where the most effective design is used repeatedly. The wheel is used on motorcycles, automobiles, trucks, and the list goes on because it is the most efficient design for motion. We know that this design did not originate by nature itself but by an outside intelligence. This is what we observe in the skeletal systems of many of the creatures that move on earth.
Birds are specially designed for flight. They have no teeth for chewing, no heavy jaws for eating, no jaw muscles, and their skull is usually one percent of its total body weight.
It is obvious that there is outside universal superior intelligence as we see not only with the animals that walk on earth, but also in avian creatures who are especially designed to fly. Birds have a skeletal system that is unique because its mass per unit volume is the lowest of all vertebrates. They have no teeth for chewing, no heavy jaws for eating, no jaw muscles, and their skull is usually one percent of its total body weight. Their bones are uniquely hollow compared with any other animal. These hollow bones are specially designed with struts making them strong for flight. In the same manner, to keep these creatures in the air they need strong wings, so many of their bones are fused, as seen in the breastbone, collarbone, wrists, and hand bones. The inner arm of the wing structure is designed to deflect air downward, giving the bird lift. This structure served as a model for man’s discovery of flight. The outer wing functions like a hand with feathers in tow that twist the air and produce mini tornados to fine tune its flight patterns including slowing it down.
4. AVIAN MUSCULAR SYSTEM
There are 175 muscles in the avian muscular system with the largest of these being dedicated to flight. They are found between the upper arm and the breast and can account for up to one-third of its total body weight. There are two large pairs of muscles used to power flight that are specially designed. The first, the largest, is used to contract by pulling the wing in the down stroke. This muscle is called the pectoralis major which is the true engine required for the lift and thrust to move forward in the air. This muscle is so large that it needs a specially designed vertical keel on the sternum of the breast bone to anchor it. With this anchor, the bird’s breast blade and muscle are extremely large in proportion to its body.
The other muscle, the smaller of the pair, is used to bring the upstroke that requires less force. Another brilliant masterful design piece is added for this creature to have flight. The bird must have a way of lifting its wing without muscle mass on their back in order to keep the center of gravity below the wings so that they can fly. The solution to this problem is a specialized pulley system found in the muscle supracoracoideus found under the wing. It loops itself with a tendon that connects to the top of the interior wing bone, the humerus, which immediately reacts every time the muscle contracts. It pulls the wing up located under the wing which demonstrates a design system nowhere found in the vertebrates. This is another example of specialized design.
These two specially designed large muscles mentioned above are accompanied with other numerous muscles finely tuned to control movement in the wing to form an extremely complex working system. If one could only see all these muscles synchronized and working together when a bird is in flight, one would be awestruck. Then to think of the extraordinary requirements that keep this muscular system operational really makes one ponder how truly amazing this flying machine is. The high oxygen levels that are supplied by the respiratory system and the constant blood flow supplied by the circulatory system (powered by a strong heart pump) are far superior to any other creature on earth. With its array of motions, flying with its own autonomy produces its own concert in the air, demonstrating a masterpiece of design in the fullest. How can one even point to nature itself and say it created itself when this magnificent flying machine could only come from the hands of our master designer who shows His almighty glory so that all will fall down and worship Him.
5. AVIAN FEATHERS
As one observes the outer covering of the creatures that roam the earth they are all designed to protect the organism. Whether it be skin, fur, scales, or feathers they all have a design function for insulation, camouflage, courtship, waterproofing, breathing, and the list goes on. Their feathers with an array of colors with different pigments like the scarlet macaw with its feathers dressed in red, yellow, and blue display their own beauty. Feathers are also used to display designs as seen in the peacock’s 200-tail feathers which display themselves in the shape of a fan with eye-like structures evenly spread out with perfect symmetry reflecting light in shades of many different colors. Birds have a distinctive outer covering with feathers which are one of the most complex outer coverings found in all vertebrates.
Feathers attached to the bones are essential for flight. Each feather has to be placed in the correct position because of its shape and length which determine their placement on the wing. Feathers overlap each other so that thickening is always on the leading edge of the wing to make for the air foil for lift. They are assigned according to the position on the wing, primarily beginning on the outside wing where theirs hands are located. The next are the secondary feathers located on the next bone, along the ulna, followed by the tertiary feathers which are attached to the inner wing bone and finally the tail feathers. Remarkably, they all have their own unique shapes all playing a distinct role in flight.
The feather structure is another marvel of design being extremely light and capable of locking into one another to form a strong protective barrier and a solid outside surface to divert air flow.
The feather has a velcro kind of mechanism to achieve this function of flexibility and strength with very little weight in order to make it effective for flight. We all know how light a feather is, but when seen through a microscope we can’t help but observe another specialized design feature that is only found on this creature. The center part of the feather is a vertical hollow shaft, the bottom called the quill (which at one time in history was used to make ink pens) followed by the rachis that traverses the length of the feather. Along the rachis is where we find the barbs which move diagonally away from the shaft. It is on these barbs that we observe protruding (again diagonally) very fine, microscopic hair-like structures with hooks called barbules that actually catch on to each other with a Velcro-like grip that keeps the feathers together. These microscopic hooks are very unique structures in feathers that make feathers stick together in one direction. This kind of attraction between feathers also provides the necessary insulation to keep the bird warm in cold climates.
A bird keeps its feathers in one direction with the aid of their barbules’ hooks and they also have a preening gland that produces oil located at the base of the spine that aids this process. With the use of their beak they use their preening gland to oil down their feathers so that the hooks will easily stay in place and can slide, giving the feather the flexibility to move as needed without decreasing the strength of the wing. The preening process also gives the feather the property not to mix with water which helps to keep the bird dry. This is another amazing design addition that is bestowed by our Creator who teaches us with the creatures He has created.
There are many more unique features of bird feathers such as the wide variety of colors and patterns that have been so well appreciated by bird enthusiasts and watchers because these creatures have their own creative beauty. The numerous pigments bring a rainbow of colors along with their different use of optics as reflecting or bending the lights by the filaments of the feathers. The patterns which a bird’s feathers display are unique and beautiful as exemplified by the peacock (male peafowl). It displays vibrant colors demonstrated with such perfection in arrangement and radiance of elegance that makes one wonder how one can believe in evolution.
The colors of a peacock that we see are reflected through various thin layers of film from the microscopic parts of the feather (the barbules) that makes the hooks of the feathers. The impressive deep blue neck of the peacock with its 200-tail feathers standing straight up making an enormous majestic fan-like shape produce a splendid display as its tail muscles contract to let everyone (including the female peahens) know that he is here. This magnificent display itself is made of a symmetrical design with eye shapes perfectly distributed with uniform space throughout the whole display. Each eye is perfectly designed with thousands of components not only to give its unique shape, but also its distinctive color.
How did all of this happen? The only answer is from a Creator that not only is an extraordinarily precise engineer/designer but one who comprehends beauty and creativity that is meant for us to see and appreciate. It is Him showing His glory through the creatures He made for us.
Many evolutionists believe that there is an “intimate connection” between birds and extinct dinosaurs. They claim that they have dinosaur fossil evidence of feathers, but dinosaur fossil record of feathers is scanty, incomplete, and found on a wide range of assumptions. This is exemplified in the discoveries at Liaoning, China where supposedly a host of feathered dinosaur were found. It was reported that quill knobs were found on the top of the front leg of a Velociraptor. Today’s modern birds’ feathers are anchored to the ligaments that come from these quill knobs. It is the evolutionists’ guess that this is evidence that the Velociraptor had feathers even though they never found fossil evidence of an actual feather.
It has been reported that there are 50 different species of feathered dinosaurs by evolutionary scientists, but there are only a few that are linked with direct fossil evidence. For example, Sinosauropteryx is a dinosaur that many evolutionary paleontologists believe had feathers on the tail, was a theropod, bipedal dinosaur presumed to be a close relative to the great T rex. It was found in 1996 in Northeast China measuring about 3.5 feet with an unusually large tail including 64 vertebrae. It was excellently preserved and not only included bones, but also some of its organs. The feathers they reported on the tail were not detailed at all and difficult to recognize. There were expert paleontologists who disagreed that the tail had feathers at all as exemplified by Ligham-Sollar Theagarten as it was reported in the Scientific Journal of Ornithology (ISSN:2193-7192). The abstract stated, “It is shown that the alleged protofeathers were not free filaments but part of a composite tissue.” Their conclusion was that the feathers were filaments of skin that were fossilized because the dinosaur had its neck arched back, causing the skin to buckle up in the back. This could have been the result of a quick burial caused by the sudden impact of being buried by water and sediments during the world-wide flood. The Noah’s flood model is ignored by most evolutionists, but certainly satisfactorily explains this phenomenon.
It is interesting to note that in 1999, the Archaeoraptor was declared and promoted by National Geographic as the true missing link for the evolution of dinosaur into bird. It appeared on the cover of the November edition in 1999 with a glowing review of the importance of such a discovery to evolutionary history. After the publication, it was thoroughly analyzed with Cross Section Computational Tomography and found to be forgery. This fossil was found with the many other fossils found in China in which many were identified as feathered dinosaur birds.
It appears that the Archaeoraptor was just the tip of the Iceberg as paleontologist Jiang Da-young observed that many of the Chinese fossils were doctored or faked to some degree. He has stated that as much as 80% of the marine reptile collections have been affected by some kind of forgery. The Chinese farmers or locals receive money for collecting fossils. It was apparent that forgery of Archaeoraptor was done by the locals because it was sloppily put together and surprisingly went unnoticed for a long time receiving much acclaim.
There is no question that extinct birds are found in the fossil record like Archaeopteryx because the feathers can be seen clearly with much detail in the fossil layers. The first one was found in 1861 in Bavaria, formerly a German State, and since then a total of eight specimens have been discovered. There are many similarities to modern birds with some differences like developed teeth and a long tail. It had perching feet, elliptical wings, fully formed feathers, a large breast bone, and unique avian lung design matching what we observe in modern birds. One can easily can conclude that this creature had the ability to fly and could easily be classified as an extinct bird.
Evolutionists steadfastly hold onto the Archaeopteryx as their transitional fossil in which dinosaurs became birds. As creationists, we understand that God created different kinds of birds like the ostrich, but even then we cannot be sure because we were not there to observe the bird kinds. What we see and logically conclude is that biology predicts change in their own kind by the way these birds breed. We know that God also paved a way for diversity as demonstrated in the breeding of dogs and seeing 40 different breeds in the 1900’s grow to over 340 today.
It is God who made these wonderful creatures so diverse so that we can see His amazing creativity and love for His creation. Evolution has no place here. It is not rational and so self-serving that it is totally contrary to what every human being experiences on earth. The birds teach us that there is a Creator who loves us and will never leave us. As the birds defy gravity and fly with the greatest of ease so will we when God calls us home.
Executive Director of CSI