Born with eyes so keen it can discern the shimmer of salmon from the cloud base, the eagle dives with menacing intensity before breaking into a low sweep over its prey. Its wings arched and wingtips quivering for precise control, this raptor’s talons snatch the salmon and flexes its great wings, generating a powerful lift to boost both predator and prey clear of the water and up to the huge nest of this glorious bird. Embodying strength, confidence, and determination, the Bald Eagle is a upheld as a symbol of majesty and might.

It is no wonder people have always watched birds, large and small, and longed to join them in flight. And in some ways, we have. In fact, as an aside, isn’t it interesting that many of mankind’s achievements, their expressions of ingenuity, hinge on imitating nature? And why not? Nature is fantastic and continues to provide insights for human innovation as we study the marks of genius imprinted throughout creation.  That marker of genius is God.

It only takes a simple, fertilized egg to make a bird.  It takes a monumental, human effort to design, test, and build safe, reliable aircraft. That is not to diminish the great work of the aerospace industry. But it should be a staggering thought, that the simple union of mating birds turns a yolk and egg white into a living, flying bird which, on its scale, outmaneuvers our most advanced fliers. And many of those feathered creatures navigate thousands of miles and continents, only to return where they began, and we have no idea how they do it.

Photograph of a peacock with its tail spread open

Beyond flight, birds inspire fashion, art, and poetry—people are captivated by the fantastic beauty of these avian creatures. There are nearly 20,000 species of birds, according to the Audubon Society, and their variations in shape, size, plumage, and habitat inspire the science of ornithology and tens of thousands of bird watching enthusiasts. Hummingbirds hover, falcons hold speed records, swifts can fly 10 months without landing, songbirds sing, and parrots talk (sort of). Incredible.  We are mesmerized when birds murmurate, silenced by their songs, and entertained by their antics.

Like everything else in Creation, the overpowering variety and perfection we see in birds, even in a sadly corrupted world, demands recognition of a glorious, loving, and ingenious Creator. To believe birds, along with all other lifeforms on Earth, came about through natural and accidental processes over millions of years is, at best, a leap of faith.

In a figurative, spiritual sense, God promises us that that we can join the eagle in flight: “They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”  (Isaiah 40:31) God promises to reward our patient trust in Him with an enduring spirit, unbound by any chain of sin and shame.  Jesus said, in speaking about those who practice sin being slaves to sin, “if the Son sets you free, you will free indeed.” (John 8:36)  Free to soar, free to know the truth, to know the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Photo credits

“An adult Bald Eagle grabs a fish from the water early one morning with a big splash behind it as it flies away”  (Cover Photo) by Ray Hennessy on 123RF Stock Photo (licensed)
“Pride of a Peacock” by Khairul Ramli on 123RF Stock Photo (licensed)