Who taught the salmon to swim upstream?

Dan and I hiked up above the town of Seward and crossed a creek where pink salmon were fighting their way upstream. This isn’t the first Alaskan creek or river we’ve discovered with salmon finding their way back to the place of their birth.

Resting in the shallows

Last week, we took a seaplane over to Katmai National Park in a remote corner of the state.

Katmai is bear country. The bears run wild and free while we, the visitors, are given strict rules and regulations about staying quietly on the viewing platform, and what to do should a bear appear on the trail back to the lodge.

So close to real live bears, but not interfering with their comings and goings.

The bear hierarchy is interesting. Apparently the prime fishing spot is at the top of the falls. We observed a good-sized bear scamper out of the way when a larger bear lumbered toward this premier location.

A mama and her two cubs arrived at water’s edge. They sat and watched the bigger guys fish before mama ventured into the shallows to do some fishing herself. Having no success, she called her offspring and they moved on downstream — the cubs splashing and romping in the water.

Just a mama bear and her cub

A day or two later, we visited Denali National Park named after the tallest mountain in the United States. Denali is broad with the south peak standing at 20,322 ft (center in photo below).

And just past the park’s welcome sign, we spotted our first moose.

A mama moose munching on the salad of her choice

On a hike over a tall ridge to a small lake in the national park, we came upon an amazingly engineered beaver dam.

Extra wide beaver dam

Glaciers and fjords and waterfalls. Moose. Tall mountain peaks still dressed in winter white. Migrating salmon. Purple fireweed. Brilliantly engineered beaver dams. And bears and eagles sharing their favorite fishing holes.

There is so much beauty and magnificence in this magical land called Alaska.

In his book, The Problem of God, Mark Clark writes about the design of the universe as evidence to consider for the existence of God:

There is a strange and mysterious design to the cosmos, an anti-randomness, that points strongly to a designer who created and crafted the world with very intentional precision and balance.

Mark Clark

Denying the evidence and claiming it as chance takes a leap of faith that Clark isn’t willing to do:

Scientists tell us that when one looks at the DNA of any living organism, it is packed with coherent and information-filled code. Not random but intelligent, structured information.

Mark Clark

Who told the bears and the eagles where the best fishing holes were? Who structured the DNA in mama bears that makes them so attentive, so protective?

Who taught the beavers how to store up winter supplies within a dam system?

Who colored the glaciers a mysterious blue?

Who tinted the salmon pink and the fireweed purple?

Who came up with all those shades of water, mountains, sky?

(What is God’s favorite color, I wonder?)

Intelligence. Precision. Balance. Nothing random in any of God’s creation.

In an ancient story, a man named Job lost his health, his wealth, and his ten children within a short period of time. After his wife advised him to curse God and die and after his friends sermonized—“Surely you must have done something wrong to deserve all this”—Job reminded God of all the good he (Job) had done.

Then it was God’s turn to speak. By my count, God asked 71 questions of Job:

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?”

“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail?”

“Does the eagle soar at your command and build its nest on high?”

“Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?”

Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck with a flowing mane?

Job, chapters 38-40

The anti-randomness, the intelligence and structure, the precision and balance—these things are obvious in this great northern wonderland called Alaska, just as they are where we live in central Oregon, and I would imagine wherever you live.

Back to Clark’s book, The Problem of God:

We can look at the universe and the world around us and see that it is littered with evidence of design.

Mark Clark

And because the universe and the world contain evidence of thoughtful, intelligent design, then there is a thoughtful and intelligent Creator who wants a loving relationship with His most prized creation—us.


Why best-laid plans go awry


Why you should tell your story


  1. Yes, what a fabulous creator!

  2. Allison McCormick

    Beautiful photographs and a wonderful reminder of God’s awesomeness!

    Enjoy your adventure!

  3. Marlys, your words and photos have captured God’s creation. Thank you Marles for taking us along. Larry and Linda.

  4. Rita Weick

    Your reflection and photos have made my day! Thank-you, Marlys. -Rita

  5. Cheryl White

    That was beautiful! You are not only a captivating writer but an amazing photographer. But I don’t go away thinking, “what wonderful writer and photographer Marlys is” Instead, I am overwhelmed with the thought “what an amazing God !”

    • Yes, overwhelmed with our amazing God! We’ve visited quite a few museums and visitors centers and have taken in so much interesting information about the history, geography, and wildlife. When we consider how everything intertwines and how there is order and reason, this amazes me.

  6. Carol Sherman

    Thank you Marlys, for the beautiful pictures, story, and testimony of God’s beautiful creation.

  7. Peter Howe

    Amen to your herein message. So much to take with us into each day, thank you. Our love, Bx P & family. PS : I won’t forsake you.. my time has been for my Barbara.

  8. Your pictures tell the story of grandeur and majestic views. What a trip you and Dan have experienced! What a wonderful Creator God we serve- Who shares- not only His love with us but also His fantastic creation.
    Thank you for this awesome depart from the ordinary, Marlys.
    Your writing style is so authentic and enjoyable!

    • I love how you said this, Julie: “What a wonderful Creator God we serve – who shares – not only His love with us but also His fantastic creation.” Thank you.

  9. Lisa Frye

    This is such a beautiful message (and fantastic pictures)! Praise Him for His creation! It is truly a blessing to teach about his creation every day during the school year! I will be trying to read Mark Clark’s book before school starts again in a couple of weeks. Continued prayers for your travel safety! <3

  10. Janice Kimbrough

    Your God given observations are written and shared beautifully. I’m thankful to beable to read them. So very happy for you and Dan.

    • Marlys P Lawry

      Thank you for your kind words, Jan. Coming from you, a fellow widow once upon a time, that means a great deal.

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