NEWPORT — Four things at the Oregon Coast Aquarium that indicate God has a sense of humor:

1. Boots the harbor seal darts like a Japanese train through her spacious tank, habitually screeching to a halt at the same window to gaze tenderly at humans through her dear little dark eyes, pressing her rich short fur against the glass as if to be caressed — please oh please — by the onlooker.

2. Never mind that the word halibut is worth a pre-teen snicker, look at those sideways faces, which started with the standard fish alignment but by age six months had an eye migrate around the horn, outdoing Picasso. There is plenty of vertical and horizontal puzzlement when one encounters a halibut.

3. All clownfish are born male and go through early life that way. But when a group’s female dies, one of the males changes sex to become the dominant female. This offers all kinds of implications we’ll leave up to the theologians and activists, a debate we are sure amuses the Almighty.

4. Lumpsuckers are bumpy spherical fish the size of ping pong balls whose fins whirl at the speed of a hummingbird’s wings but whose clodhopper maneuverability would make even a high-strung hummingbird erupt in laughter. I personally witnessed a lumpsucker in a matter of 10 seconds slowly bump into the glass, then a rock and then the side of an eel that seemed accustomed to the watery klutz.

Nature’s continual adaptation has God’s fingerprints all over it. As with stunning Oregon flowers and the human mind itself, capable of creating sonnets that make one’s knees buckle and cantatas that send a soul straight skyward like a rocket engine, the wonders of the sea could be less extravagant and still do the trick in promoting survival. But evolution has baked into it extra stunners that help us understand just what God is sometimes: a loving jokester.