Seeing God in the Caterpillars Among Us
by Ray DeGraw
I was struck by something a while ago that I have been considering ever since. It is not new in any way, but the combination of a very common scripture (and then one more) and a concerted effort to understand and become more pure in heart has put something into a little different perspective for me.
The Book of Mormon includes the following statement from Alma, the High Priest, to Korihor, the professed atheist :
The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.
Alma lays out both a scientific and mathematical argument in this verse – speaking of the complexity of the creation and its intricate, regular operation as proof that God exists. In essence, he says,
This could not be without a God to make it be.
This seems simple to many people – that the creation itself, seen as encompassing all of which we are aware, testifies of a Supreme Creator. This begs the question for those people who see it so readily:
How is it not self-apparent to all?
Why can some people look around – or even study the intricacies of molecular biology, string theory, quantum physics, and other astounding modern discoveries – and not see that it simply can’t be the result of random mutation from an origin that still is unfathomable to scientists? How can these people not understand this, even when many of them are very good, moral people?
We haven’t even scratched the surface of it all, and yet some can’t recognize it as a sign of a creator.
For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
What struck me is that there is an element of seeing God in one’s ability to recognize the hand of God in His creations, but that ability is contingent on “yielding to the enticings of the Holy Spirit” – to having a heart purified by that Holy Spirit. While it is relatively easy, with even a small and comparatively weak connection to the Spirit, to see the grandeur of the universal creation and be humbled into a recognition of God in that creation, it is more difficult to rise above the natural man and see God in His most inspiring creation – His children.
From both a religious and evolutionary perspective, we are the height of creation – but we also carry within us its depth. We are god and devil in very practical terms, and, while it is easy for nearly everyone to see the fallen man (the chasm that separates us from God), it is very hard for many to recognize the embryonic god within that fallen man (the tie that will be bound in heaven). It is easy to see the caterpillar, but it is very difficult to see the butterfly within that caterpillar when it still is a caterpillar.
One of the most amazing things that happens when our hearts are purified by the power of the Holy Ghost is that, to some degree or another, we glimpse the inner butterflies around us while they still are limited by their caterpillar exteriors – and, in glimpsing those butterflies, we suddenly, in a very real and powerful way, begin to see God.
- What experiences have you had that have shown you the worth of the souls around you?