WEEKLY CHRISTIAN BIBLE STUDY AND DEVOTIONAL FROM GOD’S WORD, FOR THE NEWLY SAVED AND MORE SEASONED BELIEVER, AND FOR OTHERS SEEKING TRUTH. OUR PRAYER IS TO ENCOURAGE YOU AND STRENGTHEN YOUR FAITH IN GOD’S INFINITE MERCY, LOVE AND GRACE, AND IN THE GOSPEL OF THE DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION OF HIS SON JESUS CHRIST, THAT ALL WHO SEEK HIM HAVE ETERNAL, ABUNDANT LIFE.
Saturday, March 9, 2019
God’s Signature: The Crucifix Fish
Photo by Laurie Collett 3/8/2019
When signing his paintings, Pablo Picasso typically underlined
his name and placed the signature at a slight angle to the frame. Albrecht
Dürer always identified his art, whether a sketch or detailed masterpiece, with
his famed “AD” trademark that was part of the artistic composition.
Some artists use a signature to indicate that the work is
complete, as a reminder to themselves not to return to it and “gild the lily.”
Others sign their work on the back or on the side of the canvas that is
stretched over the frame, so as not to distract from the subject of the
Although art lovers can easily recognize the distinctive
greatness of a painting by Leonardo da Vinci, this Renaissance master never
signed his works, because they were commissioned by others. Rembrandt signed
his paintings but very seldom his drawings, so most of these are attributed to
him solely on the basis of style.
Regardless of whether or not they included their signature,
the amazing creativity of all these artists and the beauty of their works can
be explained by the fact that they, like all mankind, were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27). He is
not only the Creator but the Master Designer (Psalm 19:1). Anyone who draws, paints, sculpts, designs clothing, or even decorates and beautifies their home is reflecting God’s
creative genius. The same is true for writers, composers, performing artists,
As the supreme Artist, God takes pleasure in signing His
work by leaving a subtle or gloriously replete reminder of Who He is and what
He did. The sheer number of plant and animal species and variations within
species attests to His greatness (Genesis
1:11-12; 20-26), and even those numbers are dwarfed by the number of
grains of sand in the earth's deserts and beaches (Genesis 32:12).
Yet scientists estimate that there are 10 times more stars
in the night sky than there are grains of sand on our planet. Astronomers
currently believe that the number of galaxies in the observable universe exceeds
170 billion, occupying a sphere with a radius of 13.8 billion light-years. Multiplying
the number of stars in our galaxy by the number of galaxies in the universe results
in an estimate of 1024 stars, or 1 followed by 24 zeros, and our God
knows each one of them by name! (Psalm
But God is great not only in His vastness, but in His
attention to the most minute details that add meaning to His creation in ways
that could not possibly be explained by any postulated evolutionary advantage.
What advantage could there be to a sunflower or seashell having the Fibonacci
sequence, or golden ratio, incorporated into its structure? Rather, it
testifies to the mathematical precision and perfection of the One Who created them
(Deuteronomy 32:4; 2 Samuel 22:31;
Evolutionists might argue that the bright colors and
patterns in various flowers attract birds and insects that aid in pollination.
But only God would design flowers to look like dancing ladies or intricate
animal faces, to bring pleasure to us as well as to Himself! Only God would
design healthful fruits and vegetables to look like the human organ they
benefit, as a prescription from the Great Physician. For example, eating pomegranates
enhances breast health; walnuts boost brain function; and kidney beans not only
resemble kidneys but promote renal health, just to name a few.
The number three, reflecting the Trinity of God the Father,
Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew
3:16-17), is prevalent throughout nature. Matter exists in three
states; space consists of three dimensions; and time is either past, present or
future. Everything we see is either in the sky, on land, or in the sea, and can
be describes as animal, vegetable, or mineral.
God’s story is told even in the lowly sand dollar, adorned
with engravings of the Easter lily, the pointsettia, and the Star of Bethlehem
(Matthew 2:2-10). It is
pierced by five holes reminding us of the wounds in Jesus’ hands, feet and side
as He suffered on the cross (Luke 24:39-40;
John 19:34), and it contains dove-shaped fragments as a symbol of
peace and the Spirit (Mark 1:10; John
I have thought about these various ways in which God “signs”
His creation for quite some time. But as my husband and I were beachcombing
last week, an unusual find really brought this concept home for me. Sticking up
and partially buried in a mound of sand was a sharp, bleached object I did not
recognize. As I gently unearthed it and rinsed it in the sea, I was amazed to
see an intricately detailed sculpture of what appeared to be Jesus on the cross
on one side, and Christ ascending into heaven (Acts 1:9-11), seen from behind, on the reverse side!
Further research revealed that this was the skull of a sail
catfish, also known as a “crucifix fish.” Urban (or should I say maritime)
legend is that God’s blessings will come to one who finds a sail catfish skull,
particularly to fishermen. When shaken, the skull makes a rattling sound
because of calcified otoliths, or ear stones within it, which has been likened
to the sound made by the dice thrown as the Roman soldiers gambled for Christ’s
robe (John 19:23-24). On the
reverse is said to be the imprint of a Roman shield, and the hilt of the sword
is visible where it plunged into His side.
Like other members of the catfish family, the sail catfish
would be considered unclean in Mosaic law because it has no scales (Leviticus 11:10-12), and this
designation is fitting as it is a bottom feeder that predominantly scavenges rather
than capturing its prey.
How astounding that God would tell His story by sculpting
it into the skull of an unclean animal, as if to emphasize that He came not for
the righteous, but to save sinners (Matthew
9:11-13). Although we are born unclean because of the curse of sin Adam’s disobedience
brought upon the world, Jesus Christ was the perfect, holy Sacrifice Who died
on the cross to pay for all our sins (Romans
5:12-21), and to rise again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) so that all who trust in Him have
eternal life (John 3:16).
1: 20 For the invisible
things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood
by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they
are without excuse.
God speaks to His children primarily through His Word, but
may we be attuned to and blessed by the amazing messages He has carved into His