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Discovery Magazine 2/1/2019


On a basketball team, a quick point guard who loves to drive to the goal for layups benefits from having great 3-point shooters on his team. Great shooters cause the other team to have to guard them near the perimeter, which often leaves fewer defenders and more space for a point guard to drive more easily to the goal. At the same time, great shooters are benefited from a point guard who, when he drives effectively to the goal, causes various defenders to help guard him, which leaves the 3-point shooters more space to catch and shoot the ball (when the point guard decides to pass it to them while dribbling toward a more crowded goal area).

The relationship between great teammates on a basketball team is a symbiotic (sim-bee-AH-tic) relationship. A symbiotic relationship is one that is mutually helpful or dependent. A point guard is helped by having good 3-point shooters, and these shooters are helped by having a great point guard. They depend on each other to succeed.

One of the most important physical symbiotic relationships on Earth is between honey bees and various forms of vegetation. God made many kinds of plants and fruit trees, so that in order for them to bear fruit there needed to be a transfer of pollen. How could pollen get transferred from plant to plant, thus fertilizing vegetation and making the growth of fruit, vegetables, and flowers possible? God made flying insects.

Bees are important to many kinds of vegetation (and thus to us as well, since we eat fruits and vegetables). Bees, and especially honeybees, help to pollinate everything from okra and cucumbers to watermelons and kiwi fruit.

Honey bees, however, also benefit from plants. Honey bees use the pollen from plants as a source of protein, especially for their young. Honey bees also use the nectar from flowers to make honey. So, honeybees help plants, and plants benefit honeybees—a perfect example of symbiosis.

Have you ever thought about how bees, plants, and symbiosis point to a Creator? If bees need plant life to survive, and many kinds of plant life need insects (especially honey bees) to reproduce, then both vegetation and insects needed to be created at virtually the same time. The Bible indicates that God made all plant and animal life within three days of each other. On the other hand, evolution says that everything evolved gradually over millions of years. Yet, how could flowers that needed help pollinating and bees that need pollen and nectar from flowers have been separated by millions of years and still survive? They couldn’t. In truth, the sweet symbiotic relationship between honey bees and vegetation is just another proof for Creation and against evolution.



Jesus designed His Church to form symbiotic relationships among themselves and with those who are not Christians. Think about some ways in which this works.

Some saints are very gifted public speakers and preachers. They can build up Christians by teaching God’s Word, and they can help those outside of the Church by showing them God’s plan of salvation and leading them to Christ.

Other Christians are good businessmen or businesswomen. They can earn money through their businesses and give it to the Church. The Church can then use that money to help feed poor people, give clothes and medicine to those in need, or provide shelter for those who might not have a place to stay.

There are others in the Church (such as older, retired Christians) who might have lots of free time. They can use their time to visit people in hospitals or nursing homes, or to take food to shut-ins.

Still other saints have special skills that they can use to help others. Some members of the Church are doctors who go to foreign countries and take care of sick people.

When we think about symbiosis, we should not forget that humans can be very helpful to their fellow humans. Those of us who are Christians should always be looking for ways that we can help our fellow Christians, as well as those who are not Christians (Galatians 6:10). Many times, those who are not Christians will see how we try to help people, and glorify our Father Who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

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