“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly,
but because of him who subjected it,
in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption
and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
Romans 8:19–21 (ESV)
On Monday Christi and I took our family to the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo, one of our favorite “getaways” that the entire family can still enjoy. It was a beautiful day, the weather was just right, the animals were all out and very active, and the crowds were never so bad that you had to wait in line to see anything.
As much fun as I had exploring the zoo, I had just as much fun watching the family. There was Isaiah (3), talking with the primates (who were being very loud), yelling and dancing around, as if he fully expected the Chimps and Orangutans to understand him. Then there was Noah (4), pondering aloud as we were leaving the zoo, “I wonder what species my woobie is?” (Woobie is his blankie/bear that he sleeps with at night.) Demonstrating that she still possesses all the speed and dexterity that once earned her acclaim in High School track, Christi made like a “bat out of …” when she thought that the bats were actually flying loose in the caves. And not to be outdone, we must not forget how not once, but twice, Caleb put his hand in bird poop.
While zoos can sometimes come across a little heavy handed on evolution and other theories of the origin of life, they are still a place where the faithful can get lost in the wonder and beauty of God’s creation. Consider the colors of the birds, the ridiculous behavior of the chimps, the sheer power of the tigers, the size and strength of the elephants. In the butterfly pavilion, I noticed a display that demonstrated the protective designs of camouflage in the butterfly wings. There is one butterfly whose wings resemble the face of an owl. Now evolutionist call this adaptation: but I fail to see how that works. Did the butterfly’s begin to recognize that the birds that were eating them were also afraid of owls, so they decided (by a supermajority vote, of course) to will themselves to change their wing design? Did they have a poster of the Hoot Owl hanging in their cocoon to help them along the way? Isn’t easier to simply recognize the sovereignty and majesty of God who had all these things in mind when He called all of creation into order?
Of better watching than the animals, of course, were the people. One some faces you could see the child-like wonder, on others there was a hidden pain that boiled under the surface. Each was a creature of God, but more than that, an image bearer. Each was fallen in need of grace: some had found it and were gracious to all, others had not and were not.
But it was almost as if you could hear all of creation there at the zoo crying out with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For all of creation was cast under the weight and futility of the brokenness of our sins, and longs to be set free. If you were listening you could hear it, the cry to be free from this futility, to be restored to glory, when the Gorilla beat his mighty chest, in the rhythmic cadence of the tiger’s silent guard, in the songs of the trees as the wind rushed through them.
Some may go to the zoo and just see a bunch of animals kept locked up so that the masses will pay to see them. When I go, I see the wild and diverse creatures of our God and King. I see the glory of God’s creativity, humor, and wisdom. And I hear the song of all creation, crying
O praise Him, O praise Him