As a kid raised in cities, I was an easy target for Earl Page. I used to stay with Earl and his wife Alice when my mother had been pushed to her limit by my destructive behavior. The Pages lived in the country where they raised Shetland sheep dogs and where Earl made beautiful furniture. I could always count on Earl to pull some kind of a joke on me or con me into some kind of a bet I could not possibly win. He once took me on a snipe hunt. That was where he gave me a gunny sack, put me at the end of a swamp while he "drove" the snipe toward me. I sat there for two hours sweating and swatting mosquitos before I finally gave up and returned to the house only to find him sitting in his favorite rocker laughing hysterically because he had gotten "that dumb kid again."
One time, we were in the middle of a pumpkin patch much like the one on the cover. Earl was picking up pumpkins and putting them on a hay wagon to take into town. I was supposed to help him, but they were big and heavy and I was griping about how hard it was. "I'll tell you what," said Earl, "That pumpkin you just dropped over there broke open so we can't use it. I'll make a deal with you. You count how many seeds there are in that pumpkin, and that's all the pumpkins you have to put on the wagon--I'll do the rest." I am a city kid. When we made jack-o-lanterns as a child, I drew the face I wanted on the front of the pumpkin and my Dad did the rest. As far as I was concerned, a pumpkin was an overgrown peach and I knew a peach had a pit--one seed--and that was all. "You're on," I said as I eagerly ran over to the broken pumpkin to see whether I had one to carry or maybe two. I stopped counting at 126 as Earl laughingly said, "Let me know when the hay wagon's full." As he walked away, he said "Yep--the good Lord sure does know how to pack a pumpkin." As a young atheist, I had some different thoughts about all those seeds.
It is interesting that the design of the Creation includes massive abundance which allows life to exist on Earth. Animals at the top of the food chain (like humans) generally have very few offspring at a time. Animals at the bottom of the food chain like fish and shrimp can literally have thousands of offspring. This abundance of offspring does not just assure the survival of the species, it also provides the primary source of nourishment for the whole food chain.
We not only see such beauty in design of food chains, but also in other ways. Plants will send out roots in countless ways which stabilizes the earth and provides habitat for living things. The abundance of water plants in the ocean provides much of the oxygen we breathe. The production of the fossil fuels in the past made of incomprehensible accumulations of little animals called diatoms is another demonstration of the provisions for abundance that sustains us.
As you look at the harvest like the one on our cover, you have to be thankful that the design of the cosmos includes extravagance. The wealth of stars that fill our sky, the water that fills our lakes and oceans, and the beauty that surrounds us all speak of God's abundant love for us. -John N. Clayton
Back to Contents Does God Exist?, SepOct00.