Let’s use the opportunity of #GivingTuesday to remember that it is more blessed to give than to receive – be it today or at any other time of the year.
Although “virus” means “poison”, and we associate the term with diseases such as Ebola, AIDS or flu, among others, certain viruses are instrumental in the growth of our nervous system.
While pecking a tree the woodpecker is subjected to impacts of up to 1400 times the force of gravity. Human beings can only withstand impacts of up to 8 times the force of gravity before becoming unconscious.
The varying and changing climate in the Bible lands allowed for a wide variety of trees, which took root everywhere from the high, and very cold, mountain regions of Mt. Hermon to the hot Negev desert and the shores of the Dead Sea.
As a relict species it has only managed to survive on a handful of isolated mountain-tops.
There were insects that could be eaten, such as various types of winged locusts, which the New Testament also refers to as the food that John the Baptist ate.
The caper is native to Southeast Asia, but it is common throughout the Mediterranean basin and in many other parts of the world.
The ancient Egyptians tamed them and trained them to collect fruit from the tallest trees, like palms, and even to look after flocks of sheep, just as certain breeds of dog are trained to do nowadays.
It is a strong, timid, solitary and hard-to-find member of the heron family, whose brownish-red plumage bears a number of dark streaks, and which lives among the reeds in marshy wetland.
In the Bible, saffron is only mentioned in the Song of Songs, as one of the most prominent aromatic spices, and with the aim of highlighting the beauty of the beloved.
Why is it that, despite feeding on decomposing animal flesh, vultures never catch any diseases?
Henna is only referred to twice in the Song of Songs (chapter 1:14 and 4:13), in relation to beauty, fragrance and love.
There is only one verse in the Bible where cotton is mentioned (Esther 1 v 6), although many versions translate it as linen.
The term was translated as “cedar”, “poplar” and even “cypress” as it was thought that fir trees did not exist in Biblical lands.
In ancient times carob pods were used to feed horses, donkeys and pigs, though they could also be used as a source of food for humans.
Debora means “bee”, an animal regarded by the Hebrews as organised, wise and hard-working.
How could a life-long atheist abandon evolutionary materialism and embrace the existence of God?
The Dead Sea area - situated some 400 metres below sea level - only gets 150 to 200 per square metre per year.
How sad it is to have heard the word of God, and to allow it to be snatched away.
The greatest madness, the supreme stupidity of the human being consists in hearing the Word of God, delighting in it, but without wanting to put it into practice.
These insects are mentioned in the Bible ten times, in the Old and New Testament.
They are ruminating animals, capable of running more than one hundred kilometres a day without eating or drinking anything. Hence they were trained in Arabia in the 13th century before Christ, as the basis of what has come to be known as the "camel civilisations".
Being so ugly, bald and having a taste for dead meat, they tend not to be seen as the most charismatic of animals. Nevertheless, they have certain features which make them unique.
The common deer (Cervus elaphus) often appears in the Bible as an illustration.
In other words, just as the partridge, which covers eggs that are not its own, will probably lose the chicks later on, so anyone who stores up riches that do not belong to them will end up losing everything.
In Jesus God became human, thus bringing himself into proximity with the nature that he had created. Animals were the silent witnesses of this unique and mysterious event.