Something Fishy About Diversity
by Alan Allegra 8/11/2009 / Relationships
Recently, there was an article on chicagotribune.com entitled, "Census of Marine Life unearths an ocean of data on diversity." That evening, I picked up the Our Daily Bread devotional and, on the cover, beneath a whimsical photo of a pair of Antarctic Gentoo penguins caught in their comical gait, was this verse: "The earth is full of Your possessions - this great and wide sea, in which are innumerable teeming things, living things both small and great" (Psalm 104:24, 25). Then, I watched a program about China's unique wild lands. There are flora and fauna in those remote locations that exist only there, and had been hidden from human eyes for centuries.
According to the article, since May 2000, scientists have found over 5,600 new species in the world's oceans, including some they thought were extinct. Creatures of great beauty have been found at depths where no one could possibly appreciate them. When asked why there are so many magnificent creatures below man's reach, without any seeming benefit to mankind, someone once said, "Maybe God just likes pretty fish." Divers continue to discover diverse "teeming things," which God calls his "possessions."
Bumper stickers and block parties encourage us to "Celebrate Diversity." It's not enough to tolerate diversity; it must be celebrated. There is nothing wrong with accepting people of different cultures, colors, and creeds. We shouldn't be troubled by tints, leery of languages or distressed by dress. We are fascinated by the different sights, scents, and sounds of Creation. Imagine a world with one type of flower, one kind of animal, one color in the rainbow, and one way to get your steak cooked. It would be drabber than a rainy day in London.
Diversity is a wonderful thing. God loves it or He wouldn't have created so many different things. He could have created only kittens or only warthogs, only men or only women, only Scandinavians or only Sub-Saharan Africans. Instead, He made all beings different, yet all the same in that they all depend on Him for life.
Think about people for a moment. Even twins are different in small ways. These differences melt away in the presence of our Creator. Although we all look different, sound different, and think differently, we are more alike than not. We are all descended from the same couple: "Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living" (Genesis 3:20). We are all made of the same physical "stuff": "And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings" (Acts 17:26). Not only does the Bible tell us that we are all related, but that neighbor or coworker you have has been put there according to God's plan.
Esther, a Jew, became queen to King Artaxerxes of Persia, a heathen enemy of the Jews. She was in the uncomfortable position of serving the very king who determined to destroy the Jews. She could've fretted, fled, or faked her nationality, but Uncle Mordecai reminded her that "if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14). Esther was instrumental in saving the Jews, inaugurating the Feast of Purim. She discovered why God made her who she was, placed her where she was, and put her when she was.
Diversity is a wonderful thing; it obviously pleases God. When we celebrate diversity, we should celebrate the God of diversity. One would not walk into a candy store and not think there is an intelligent candy maker. How could we look at Creation, especially humans, and not think there is an intelligent, purposeful Creator who owns and manages everything? He even gives us the delight of discovering all the living treasures He has scattered in every corner. Just think, you and I and all those around us, no matter how different we seem, are all precious jewels in His treasure chest, not meant to be hidden but meant to shine for the entire world to see!