For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
Psalm 139, considered by many to be the most beautiful of all the psalms of David, exudes amazement, praise, and devotion. Although human pride and vanity often keep us from looking beyond ourselves when we read those poignant words, the Bible tells us that every living being was perfectly created by God. He alone knows every one of us. He alone formed us, including the majestic animals who fill the land, sea, and sky. God’s glory and the sheer wonder of all He made are everywhere.
Sea turtles’ internal compass is so accurate that they can find their way across thousands of miles back to the beach where they were born to lay their own eggs many years later. Desert-dwelling ants don’t have familiar sights such as plants and trees to help them find their way home. So when they leave their nest, they count their steps, keeping track of which way they turn, how fast they’re going, and how much time has passed. Then they use math to figure out the fastest route back home across the scorching sand.
Arctic terns migrate from the North Pole to the South Pole—almost 12,500 miles—navigating to and from the exact same spots every year. During the Great Migration, 200,000 zebras, 400,000 gazelles, and more than 1.5 million wildebeests make a 500-mile journey in a giant circle through the Serengeti following the seasonal rains. They finish just in time to start the trek again.
Mice love to sing, and they do so at pitches that are too high for humans to hear. When Brazilian torrent frogs communicate, they make a multitude of different sounds, wave their arms, and even dance. Dolphins string together whistles and clicks to communicate, and since they can feel sound waves in the water, they even tickle each other from a distance by buzzing. Many species of songbirds hold “song schools” for the babies in their flocks. Human ears can detect only some of the pitches, but researchers with special recording equipment have found that the songs can be so complex that they’re comparable to orchestral music.
Japanese pufferfish create intricate artworks on the sea floor.
Chickens and turkeys start teaching their precious babies how to communicate while they’re still inside their shells, clucking softly to them so they will recognize their mother’s voice in case they ever become separated after they’ve hatched. Mother pigs sing gently to their piglets to soothe them, and when adult pigs hear a pig in distress, they run toward them—several have even saved the lives of humans and other animals.
Some crabs live by the commandment “Love your neighbor.” If an intruder tries to take over a male Australian fiddler crab’s burrow, his male neighbor will leave his own burrow to help fend off the thief. Cruel experiments have shown that rats choose to starve rather than allow another rat to be electroshocked, enduring suffering themselves because they refuse to harm someone else. Humans rarely act out of such Christ-like selflessness for the benefit of other sentient beings.
The remarkable God-given abilities of other species often exceed those of humans—they are indeed “fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Many Bible verses tell us that all of creation has one purpose: to praise and glorify the Lord (Psalm 150:6, Job 12:7–10, Psalm 69:34, Isaiah 42:10). Humans deny other animals the opportunity to fulfill this purpose by abusing, exploiting, and killing them. But we must end this exploitation if we’re ever to usher in the restoration of God’s peaceable kingdom (Isaiah 11:6–9, Hosea 2:18).
Let’s leave other animals to enjoy their lives on their own terms so that “the birds of the heavens,” “the fish of the sea,” and “all that moves in the field” may freely and joyfully glorify their creator.