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Where better to look for images of God than to watch Planet Earth on the television.

In one recent programme the camera focused in on a vase-shaped flower found deep in the rain forest. The creamy-white petals had a waxy texture, causing rainwater to run down and collect in the bottom of the flower where it was held. The surface of each petal was slippery so flies seeking food were inclined to land on the edge of the petal and then to slide down into the centre of the flower where they became trapped in the water; a source of food for the plant.

However, an adventurous species of spider, also seeking food, had found that flies could be caught in the flower as well as in its own webs. Using a filament of silk it abseiled down into the heart of the flower, spun a cocoon of silk to encase a drowning fly and carefully hauled itself and the fly back up out of the flower for a meal, to be eaten in safety.

From time to time, flies would drown and sink under the surface of the water before spiders found them. But even the water barrier had been broken by this species. This spider had developed a technique of 'diving' to gather food from beneath the surface by lowering itself into the water taking a bubble of air held between its legs as an oxygen supply.

What might be discerned of God in this setting:

  • That relationship is at the heart of creation and thus at the heart of God - the spider and the fly, the flower and the rain drops, the forest and its micro-climate are mutually interdependent, yet are not locked in a static dependency, something new may enter the relationship bringing its own nature and creativity.

  • That the Creator who has set in motion an evolving universe at a macro level of planets, stars and black holes, has also enabled creation to evolve at the micro level.

  • That life, at every level seems able to transform itself, to learn new patterns of behaviour, to create and not simply to re-produce.

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