Jacob, an Early Geneticist

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Picture of peas in a pod

In today’s Bible reading*, we see that Jacob is an early Geneticist. When most people think of the Father of Genetics, they think of Gregor Mendel, the mid-nineteenth-century scientist who experimented with pea plants. He observed that in cross-pollinating the plants, predictable results would follow. But Mendel was not the first person to experiment with Genetics. In fact, Jacob, the trickster, did just that long before Mendel came on the scene.

Jacob was a trickster for much of his life. You’ll remember that he tricked his twin brother Esau out of his birthright and his Firstborn Blessing. In today’s reading, we see that he also tricked his father-in-law, Laban. He said he would only take the non-white sheep as his payment for shepherding Laban’s flock. Then he crossbred the sheep and prevented Laban’s sheep from breeding with his sheep. The result was a smaller white flock for Laban and a growing multi-colored flock of his own sheep.


I’ve said before that The Bible is very relevant for today and that we shouldn’t pit Science and the Bible against each other. As you read through the Bible, you may see things like this that you’ve never thought about before. But if/when that happens, remember that your goal in your daily Bible reading isn’t limited to learning more facts. Instead, your goal is to get to know the God of the Bible better and to love Him more every single day.

So don’t get distracted from the new insights you learn this year. Yes, it’s important to learn more facts, but spend a little time asking God what those newly-learned facts reveal about Him and His relationship with His creation, and His relationship with you.

Today, one thing we can see is that the Bible is very timely; it was back then and it is now. Another thing is that God, in His glorious wisdom, created the world with patterns and systems that can be used to do new things. Look at the new vaccines. Science has enabled us to have vaccines so perhaps millions of people’s lives will be saved. But Science didn’t do this alone. God answered the prayers of a lot of people and used Science for His glory. Don’t forget that!

Now, I’m not saying that all of Science is always good. There are a lot of ethical issues when it comes to Science and manipulating living things (this is called “bioethics“). For instance, Jacob used Science to his advantage and damaged a relationship in the process. If he had had integrity, he would have encouraged the breeding of Laban’s flocks, not just his own.

Look at the created universe. See the order. See the patterns. And praise God for revealing Himself in His General Revelation. Use that curiosity to spur your passion for seeing how God has revealed Himself in His Special Revelation, the Bible, to get to know God better.

* Chapters covered in today’s reading:
– Genesis 30
– Genesis 31
– Genesis 32
– Genesis 33

This devotional was originally published on January 15, 2021.

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