Finding Faith with Ferns and the Fibonacci Sequence

D7K_5095D7K_5088 D7K_5100 D7K_5104My grandpa Stephens used to say that he found the dividing line between church and nature elusive. Though he was a faithful Methodist he found it easier to connect with God in the field than in the pew. He saw God best in God’s own handiwork.

I can go there, and I would add music, to that list of the unmistakable proofs of a loving and all powerful creator. Did you know that the mathematical ratio of numbers that creates the spirals found in the springtime fern frond is the same mathematical ratio of the harmonic series of pitches that is the foundation of all tonal harmony? In other words–the scientific system for the scales and chords that has been the building block of music from Bach to u2 is the same formula found in the spiral shells on the beach. That is no cosmic accident. Look up the fibonacci sequence.

Music, ferns, shells, hosta plants and lilacs–the fingerprints of God are everywhere. Add in the fact that a composer like Mozart can take those scientific ratios and create music that touches our souls, and I don’t know how there could be an atheist left in the room.

Did you know there are pine trees in Montana that only release their seeds in the heat of a terrible fire? God loves and protects what God made. And those pinecones? In the shape of the fibonacci sequence.

God must have had so much fun creating. And he must be so smart, to align the planets with the music and the ferns.

When I’m feeling small and wondering if there could possibly be a God out there who knows us by name and cares about the fall of the sparrow–I think about Beethoven and Bach and ferns and the way even our bones share the same fibonacci ratios–and I feel more confident that the answer is yes.

“Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely his eternal power and deity, had been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.”  Romans 1:20.

I’m still gonna go to church faithfully, but when spring comes I’ll probably spend at least one Sunday morning in the church of the garden. I’ll listen to the message of the ferns and the fibonacci sequence which is almost as good as an Easter pastor’s sermon.

Sara Stephens Kotrba

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