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As you read this article today, I know you have more important things to think about than beetles, but have you ever wondered why there are so many different species of beetles? There are a lot of them, and the why of it has enthralled biologists for years. You might even say it has “bugged” them.
The precious fact is that one of every four animals on earth is a beetle. This is actually a conservative estimate, reflecting only the number of animal species that have been discovered and identified by science. Add up all the known species of mammals and birds and reptiles and amphibians, all the fish and crustaceans and protoplasmic tentacle waving sea creatures, every brand of zoo-plankton that’s ever been given a name, every type of worm, every flea, every mite, every spider, also of course every insect on the current entomological roster, and the total comes to around one-and-a-quarter million known species of animals. Of that vast assemblage, one in four is a beetle; 300,000 officially described species, and new beetles are being discovered almost every time some scientist waves a net through a rainforest. This is not just talking about insects. It is talking about beetles, those bugs that have the hard protective covers over their wings.
Why so many beetles? A theologian once asked a prominent biologist, Dr. J. B. S. Haldane, that question after hearing the biologist lecture on beetles. The theologian asked what inferences could be drawn as to the nature of God from the fact that He created so many different species of beetles. Dr. Haldane gave the only answer he could, “The only inference I can draw is that the Good Lord has an inordinate fondness for beetles.”
That is probably the best answer any of us could give when we are trying to understand or determine the whys and wherefores of God. God’s ways are past finding out. Whether in knowing why some people suffer and others do not or why there are so many beetles. We simply do not know and slim are our chances of ever knowing. We do know that God is present in life, whatever the circumstances we may find ourselves. Our faith in Christ and the moral order of God is what guards us. It is not a promise that bad things will not happen to us, but it is a promise that God will never leave us alone.
The Rev. Clifford P. Sparks is pastor of the Carrollton United Methodist Church in Carrollton, Ky.