the instinctive desires: nourishment and reproduction

Recently, I’ve been puzzling over this question, raised entirely anecdotally, rather than scientifically, as part of my perpetual efforts to make sense of this crazy life:

What should I understand about God when I recognize that he has seemingly made only two instinctive desires common to every living thing – both plants and animals, as far as I can tell?

Those two things:

  1. The instinct to pursue food, the sustenance of life, at all costs and at great lengths.
  2. The instinct to reproduce.

Now, recognizing that chuckles and smirks are running rampant among my few readers right now, partly related to the fact that I’ve just typed, and you’ve just read, the word “reproduce”, and mostly because this is all coming from a guy who has 11 children, I acknowledge the risk in “going there”.

Don’t worry, I’m not raising this question with regard to any agenda about reproducing excessively.

Furthermore, I’m not really raising this question to open the door to an avalanche of sheepish innuendo, though that’s bound to happen.  (I wish I had a quarter for every time someone has asked me if I know what causes babies.)

And furthermost, I’ve predetermined that I won’t offer a full-blown answer to this question – partly just because I don’t know if I have one and what I’ve got would take too many words for a single post, and mostly because I’m curious to know what you think about it.

So, let me just offer this brief primer:

Various and sundry creatures will migrate great distances in a seasonal cycle, sometimes once in a brief life, or multiple times over a lengthy life span, to do two things:  eat and reproduce.

Plants offer extravagant schemes to both seek nutrition through roots and leaves, and to reproduce.  Have you ever taken an up-close look at the elaborate mechanism a dandelion uses to harness the wind and scatter its seed abroad?  It’s fantastic!

If you’re God, and you’re using those same concepts over and over again in your creation with so many variations, you must be really convinced that this is a good thing, a critical thing, a prerequisite thing for whatever it is you’re planning to accomplish.

Of course, we humans tend to think highly of our sophisticated, emotionally complex, dating games.  We hold love – the desire to love and be loved – in highest esteem.  Love is a many-splendored thing!  Seriously!

And, maybe you can say that all of our love games aren’t about reproducing, and I can buy that, but isn’t it part and parcel the same instinct, at its core?

So, that’s enough of a primer.  You tell me, if you dare.  If you dare not, I’ll just continue to contemplate solo.

What’s God driving at?  Is he using these instincts to take us somewhere?  Where?  Is he aware of all the ways we’ve corrupted those instincts and the damage we’ve imposed for their sake?  Does he still think that’s a good thing?  Why?  How?

Thanks for playing.

4 thoughts on “the instinctive desires: nourishment and reproduction”

  1. “our love games aren’t about reproducing” i don’t buy that. in the end our self motivation, i think, IS about love reproducing love. to give and receive love. love that conquers all, forget the food, give me some motivation to eat…LOVE! “i need love, gotta get some love…” (wonderful karla adolphe song) what is God driving at??? you need it, i got it! no greater love. take us somewhere, drive us somewhere, yes i believe he is… to him!!! does he see that we try to drive to the man, woman, child, money, job, self to have our deepest need and desire fulfilled by the one true love, yes. is that good? it stings, but i say yes! is it a good thing, freedom to choose and be chosen, ability to taste the bitter and the sweet??? How? how else would we know the difference! But that’s just my opinion…


  2. You could look at it this way…from the beginning, before the beginning, even, God has existed in community (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and His creation of man was an extension of that community. Then He said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” It seems like God “believes” in community, relationships, and interaction. Maybe that is why He seems to have done that reproduction thing over and over again. Even the food part can go along with the idea of community. We don’t really recognize the significance of sharing a meal these days, but a long time ago, sharing a meal was a big deal, to the point that there were rules of hospitality. To attack or harm someone after sharing a meal with them was very taboo, to put it in mild terms. I think there is spiritual significance in sharing food with someone. Maybe that is part of why Communion is such a big deal. In a way, we are sharing a meal with God when we do that…right? Maybe that’s a stretch. It’s something to think about though. I don’t know. I feel like maybe I’m just rambling.


  3. Angie & Tammy – You are brave souls (apparently the only ones brave enough) to enter this conversation, and your input is great. Yes, the relational aspect of that has to be the key. So much of it reflects God’s heart toward us, and his desire for us.

    Angie – If I imagine the look on your face as you say these things – it’s very animated – it’s a lot more fun, and it helps me understand your point.

    Tammy – Go ahead and ramble. That’s my constant mode, and it really speeds up my learning curve. I love the communion idea. I’m going to think about that more.

    Thanks to both of you!


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