A God Who Cares
HOW do we know that God is good? Why could not the Almighty God just as well be bad, or at least have some bad in him? How do we know he has a genuine care for humankind?
These are questions that might run through a person’s mind when he considers the psalmist’s statement: “Good and upright is Jehovah,” and Jesus’ words: “Nobody is good, except one, God.”—Ps. 25:8; Mark 10:18.
For God to be good, he certainly must be a God who cares about his creation, every part of it. He must be a God who makes arrangements for their subsistence.
Moreover, if God is good he must supply more than mere physical subsistence for his human creation. He must additionally provide arrangements for feeding the mind through the five senses. God’s intelligent creatures obviously are not made to carry on a drab, monotonous life—mere existence; they possess the ability to appreciate and enjoy their surroundings. In the case of man, his home the earth should have the things that will give him joy and happiness. Is this what the facts show?
CARE MANIFEST IN CREATION
First, a look at creation will enlighten us. Consider earth’s productivity. When properly cultivated and cared for, it yields in a marvelously abundant fashion. Ponder on the miracle of a fruit tree. Such trees are literally fruit “factories.” Their boughs are burdened with an amazing number of their nutritious products. They operate quietly and without pollution: no smoke, radiation or disturbance. Imagine what a man-made factory would be like (if one could be invented) that produced the crop of a fruit orchard. Just think what noise, pollution and unsightliness there would be!
Fruit trees, as they produce food, are at the same time a delight to see, to stroll among. And they provide shade, as well as refreshment for the atmosphere, giving off oxygen as they do.
But, in addition, their fruit is more than mere sustenance. It is delicious, a joy to eat, as is all food that God has provided.
Then there are the gorgeous displays of color throughout creation, the fragrance and beauty of flowers, the marvelous sunsets, and innumerable other things on earth in the greatest variety. All these enjoyable things are “extras,” special “bonus” gifts, as it were, for the delight of the senses.
Still, some may object, saying that the fragrance of flowers, the colors, and so forth, are a necessity, for they attract insects that pollinate the plants. Perhaps that is true. But if that functional purpose is the only reason for the existence of these “extras,” why is it that they are also a source of such delight, such peace of mind and such a feeling of well-being for man?
The Bible tells us that man is made in God’s image and likeness, having qualities of appreciation like his Creator. (Gen. 1:26) The supplying of these beautiful, enjoyable things is proof that God loves and cares for his creation in the most minute way. No God of evil, or possessing any evil, could or would provide so fully and lovingly, even beyond the imagination of his creatures to conceive.
Moreover, think of the great care with which the earth, and particularly the living things on it, are designed. Each fits the conditions in which it lives, and enjoys them. Man adapts to the various climates of the earth, but most creatures are not so comfortable and happy out of their natural habitat, and some cannot survive if removed. The complexity and intricacy, the interdependence, the absolute necessity of each kind of living thing to the lives of other kinds, could not be the production of a God who does not care.
PROOF FROM ECOLOGY
Ecologists are scientists who make a study of how all living things in an area, the biological or biotic environment, are related to one another and to the physical environment of earth, water, air and energy. There is a cycle of energy in the “food chain.” Moreover, the ecologists have found that, the more deeply one studies a certain animal, the more clearly it is seen that that kind of animal is a vital essential to the ecology of the area. One kind of animal life cannot survive when certain other kinds are taken away; and an upset of the ecological balance means calamity for other forms of life, reaching up to man.
Consider, as just one example, the lowly insect. Generally when insects are mentioned, there is a feeling of revulsion and the word “pest” comes to mind. But when the insect world, having a far greater number of kinds than all other animal life, is investigated, it becomes apparent that there is no area of natural creation, except in humankind itself, where God’s care is more evident. Meditate upon what was written in the Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institute (1947) by Carl D. Duncan, Professor of Entomology and Botany, San Jose State College:
“The insect species which are injurious or antagonistic to human welfare actually constitute only a small proportion of the total of insect life and . . . the great majority of insects are either directly or indirectly beneficial to man or enjoy a neutral status. Dr. Frank Lutz has estimated that not more than one-half of 1 percent of all the insects in the United States are actually pests.”
Regarding the services rendered to forests by insects, the article says:
“It is obvious, therefore, that without the beneficial services of numerous forest insects our forests would never have attained to their present magnificence, their productivity would be far less than it now is, lumber would be inferior, they would be less suitable as homes for valuable wildlife, and their esthetic and recreational values would be far less than they now are. They would, moreover, be filled with a tangled maze of dead branches and small trees that would constitute a fire hazard far greater than any now known, or what is more probable, they would be swept by destructive fires of such frequency as never to attain the status of forest maturity as we now know it.”
And on the insects’ contribution to soil fertility, Paul Knight is quoted as saying:
“(1) Soil organisms cause a continual interchange of soil particles by bringing to the surface particles of subsoil. The gradual enrichment of these soil particles increases the thickness of the rich top layer. (2) The burrows of soil organisms allow better drainage and aeration. (3) The dead bodies of animals such as insects and worms add a large amount of organic material to the earth. (4) The excreta of insects compares favorably in fertilizing value with the digestive wastes of other animals. Though the digestive waste of one insect is infinitesimal, the aggregate mass of all insect excreta probably exceeds that of the larger animals and is an important factor in soil fertility.”
Professor Duncan concludes: “It is not too much to say that insects determine the character of man’s world to a far greater extent than he does himself, and that if they were suddenly to disappear completely the world would be changed so extensively that it is extremely doubtful that man would be able to maintain any sort of organized society whatever.”
After Adam’s sin and consequent loss of direction from God, the unbalance brought about by man’s dealing with the earth and animal life has caused certain animals, particularly insects, to become “pests.” Also, man’s filthiness and pollution and his upsetting of the ecology by destruction of some life-forms have resulted in the vast increase of certain kinds of insects. Observation will reveal that it is primarily the waste, or the diseased or rotten portions of a plant or animal that insects attack. To a great extent they are useful scavengers. But the unbalance man brings about manifests itself in such swarms of insects that they overflow into man’s personal domain. Insects then invade and destroy man’s food supplies and foul up his property. An example is found in big cities, where garbage and sewage may attract huge swarms of flies, as well as rats and other rodents.
JOB TAUGHT THAT GOD CARES
Jehovah God the Creator spoke out of a windstorm to his servant Job, calling attention to His creative works and His use of them for the benefit of earth and its creatures. (Job, chaps. 38, 39) He asked Job:
“Can you hunt prey for a lion itself
And can you satisfy the lively appetite of young lions,
When they crouch in the hiding places,
Or keep lying in the covert for an ambush?
Who prepares for the raven its food
When its own young ones cry to God for help?”
Bible commentator Matthew Henry writes: “God here shows Job what little acquaintance he had with the untamed creatures that run wild in the deserts, and live at large, but are the care of the Divine Providence.”
Since God has provided so carefully for the animals, how much more does he have a heartfelt care for man! Jesus Christ, who knew the Father better than any other person did, comforted his disciples with the words: “Do not two sparrows sell for a coin of small value? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Therefore have no fear: you are worth more than many sparrows.”—Matt. 10:29, 31; 11:27.
In appreciation of the surpassing loving care that God has manifested in the creation alone, how zealous we should be in looking more deeply, not only into creation, but particularly into God’s Word, which is his direct communication to us, whom he loves. There we find his grand purpose for those who serve him, a purpose which human eyes themselves could never envision, and human minds never conceive. (1 Cor. 2:9, 10) Yes, to the one who learns about Him and gets heart appreciation, it is obvious that He is indeed as the psalmist describes Him:
“You are my Divine One, and I shall laud you;
My God—I shall exalt you.
Give thanks to Jehovah, you people, for he is good;
For his loving-kindness is to time indefinite.”