Genesis 1: 24, 25 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so. God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
Unlike the sky and sea creatures, these are the animals among which humankind will live. God puts a little drop of his nature in each different “kind” so that the whole creation proclaims his glory, not only in its complexity and beauty and synergy (and so revealing his mind and power), but proclaiming his gentleness (Koalas) and playfulness (chipmunks) and calm (sloths) and energy (cheetahs) and perseverance (tortoises) and graciousness (dogs, who are affectionate even when mistreated), a little drop of his goodness in each creature, still visible though contaminated by the fall. Because God is who he is, his nature and character must flow out in all that he does, and so proclaim his goodness.
The mother instinct that crosses all species is a powerful testament to the unwavering, intense, self-sacrificing love that flows from the Creator over all his work. There is great variety by which this goodness is displayed—the mother hen’s wing and kangaroo’s pouch, the training of speckled fawns to hide or cubs to climb–each kind in its own way, showing the amazingly multifarious nature of love. Grace and goodness have a hundred thousand different ways of expression, which not only makes each of us a unique, irreplaceable expression of God himself in the world but suggests that we are surrounded by support which is closely tailored for each of us in every moment. “We are his handiwork” is not simply a statement of his creation of us, but of his unceasing work in us and for us, his moment-by-moment pouring into us of his life and love. We might say “we are his continuous handiwork.”
No illustration ever fully pictures the original, so the mother bear’s ferocious protection of her cub is only a small pointer to God’s great commitment, and the cat washing her kitten is only a little taste of his care. The eagle nudging his fledgling out of the nest so it will learn to fly and the mountain goat pushing his kid to leap along the face of cliffs remind us that God’s grace is also tough, supporting us to become our best selves. Whatever good we find in creatures, God’s goodness is far greater.
Father, let me be a good reflection of you in that unique way you have created me. Remind me of the high honor you have given me of showing your goodness to the world in a one-of-a-kind expression.