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Discovery Magazine 3/1/2008

Sweet Sym-bee-o-sis

On a football team, a quarterback benefits from having good receivers, who can catch difficult passes. Likewise, receivers benefit by having a good quarterback to throw them catchable balls at the right time. The relationship between a quarterback and his receivers is a symbiotic (sim-bee-AH-tic) relationship. A symbiotic relationship is one that is mutually helpful or dependent. A quarterback is helped by having good receivers, and receivers are helped by having a good quarterback. They depend on each other to succeed.

One of the most important symbiotic relationships on Earth is between honeybees and various forms of vegetation. God made many kinds of fruit trees and plants that need to be pollinated in order for them to bear fruit. 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.

It is estimated that nearly one-third of the American diet comes from fruit trees and plants pollinated by insects. Amazingly, about 80% of this vegetation is pollinated specifically by honeybees. Needless to say, bees are important to many kinds of vegetation (and to us, as well, since we eat fruits and vegetables).

Honeybees, however, also benefit from plants. Honeybees use pollen from plants as a source of protein, especially for their young. Honeybees 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 honeybees) to reproduce, then both vegetation and insects would need to have been 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 being pollinated and bees that needed pollen and nectar from flowers, have been separated by millions of years and still survived? They couldn’t. In truth, the sweet symbiotic relationship between honeybees and vegetation is just another proof for Creation and against evolution.  

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