Friday, March 22, 2019

Outdoor Object Lesson 92: Does God Exist?



Key Text

“He said to him, ‘If they don’t listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if one rises from the dead.’”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭16:31‬ ‭(WEB‬‬)

Lesson

What is the biggest bee you have ever seen? Do you think there could be a bigger bee out there somewhere? In 1858 a scientist by the name of Alfred Russel Wallace discovered the biggest bee he had ever seen. He was on a scientific expedition in the Indonesian Islands. While out collecting species of insects, he came across a giant bee 1.5 inches (38 mm) long with enormous pinchers! The bee species was eventually named after him called Wallace's giant bee. The Indonesian name for the bee is raja ofu, which means king of the bees.1

After Wallace's return, it was determined that his bee was the biggest bee species ever found. It still holds that record today over 150 years later. It has a wingspan of up to 2.5 inches (63.5 mm) wide. Like other bee species it is the female that grows biggest. The males are much smaller than the females but are still quite large. What is unusual about Wallace's giant bee, is that after his discovery, no one saw the bee species again for over 100 years. It was thought extinct. The bee was finally found again in 1981 by Adam Messer an entomologist (a scientist who studies insects). He found it because he wanted to know if it still existed and to study it if possible. After Messer completed his study, no one saw or officially documented the bee again for many years. It was not until almost 40 years later that another scientist would again find Wallace's bee. In 2019, Clay Bolt and a team of researchers finally found one after searching for 6 days. The keen eyes of their local guide noticed a small movement up in a tree and was responsible for this rediscovery.1,2

Why has there been so much time between each rediscovery of Wallace's giant bee? This is partly due to the remoteness of the islands it inhabits. There are only three small islands in the world where this bee species lives. They are mostly or completely uninhabited by humans. Additionally, the bee is very private. It does not live in a hive like honeybees and stays hidden quite well. It also does not build it's own nest, instead making a home in the nests of termites. This makes it especially hard to find. However, it can always be found if someone goes looking for it.

It is just like that with Jesus. We have record in the Bible of people talking to God and even seeing him a very long time ago. Some people say that God is not real because no one has seen him recently. Some say that God is extinct. They say the record in the Bible is outdated and unreliable. Some say that God may have existed and interacted with humans in the past, but doesn't anymore. The thing is, many of these people did not look for God. They just believed he does not exist because someone else said so. Some people have gone looking for God but gave up after a short while. God has been there all along.

He does not force himself on us. He does not get in our face to prove that he is there. He allows us the choice to find him. He has provided enough evidence of his existence that if we want to find him, we can. Even if God did try to further prove his existence with additional evidence, many would still find a reason to doubt. As it says in the key text, if people don't listen to the Bible, they won't believe even if God were to raise the dead right before their eyes. Wallace's giant bee does not hide from anyone, it has been in the same place all the time. People just have to go looking for it. God has been there all along, he is just waiting for us to reach out, for his is near each of us (Acts 17:27).

Questions

Have you ever gone looking for God?

Why does God not just show up to all of us like he did to Paul or other people in the Bible?

What evidence has God provided, perhaps in your own life, that he is there?

Will you reach out for God now and ask him to demonstrate how close he is?


Sources

1. Wikipedia contributors, "Megachile pluto," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Megachile_pluto&oldid=885369741 (accessed March 3, 2019).

2. Matt Simon, "The Triumphant Rediscovery of the Biggest Bee on Earth," Wired Magazine online, https://www.wired.com/story/wallaces-giant-bee/ (accessed March 3, 2019).


Written by David F. Garner
Photo Credit: Dr. Laura Russo
Photo used with permission. 

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