Friday, November 10, 2017

The Inescapable God (Psalm 139) by Rev. Dr. Alan W. Deuel

Since it's opening in 1874, the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, England, has been the place where many extraordinary discoveries in physics have taken place.  They discovered the first electron, they laid the foundations for the discovery of quantum mechanics in the 1920s, and laid the groundwork for the discovery of the double-helix structure of the DNA molecule in the 1950's.  What surprised me is that at the entrance to the old lab is a quote from the Bible, Psalm 111:2 “Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.”  What further surprised me is that the scientists again voted to inscribe the same quote, from Psalm 111, over the entrance to the new lab that opened in 1973.  Despite the skepticism in our society, there are scientists who delight in, who recognize God’s mind and hand, as they study the world and human beings.  The works of the Lord.

As the book of Genesis in the Bible testifies, God created human beings in His own image.  This means many things, but one thing it doesn’t mean is that God made people all alike, that God used a divine cookie cutter.  No assembly line production here.  Quite the contrary; God has created us very differently.  Just sit at a park and do some people watching and you will be quickly reminded.   Here are three biblical truths about us based upon Psalm.

First, being created in God’s image means we are unique.   The psalmist in 139 says: “For it was you Lord who formed my inward parts.”  Christians believe there is one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  After God created the world and human beings God threw the mold away.

I am unique!  You are unique!  You are one of a kind, without parallel.  For instance, look at identical twins.  They have the same genetic makeup, but they also have slightly different physical traits, distinctive personalities, and different fingerprints and footprints and eyeprints.  There’s not anybody in the world like you.  There never has been.  There isn’t now.  There never will be.

I know we have Doppelgängers, a double, a counterpart in this life.  Have you ever met your doppelganger?  I have seen doubles of other people and I recall someone who said he saw my double.  Now that’s kind of an eerie thought.  But they are still not the same as we are.  God does not create carbon copies.  God only creates originals.

If you were to search the whole world, you wouldn’t find two people who have the same footprint or fingerprint or voiceprint or eyeprint.   Our genetic blue-print is unlike anyone else in the world.  That is how special you and I are in God’s eyes.  That is how much we matter to God.  So don’t compare yourself to others, it will either make you feel superior or inferior.  Your creation, by a personal God, gives you your worth, your value, your esteem, your dignity, your humanity.

Second, being made in God’s image means that you and I are incredibly complex!  The psalmist says in psalm 139: “I praise you God for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.”   God didn’t make us simple.  God created us as complex persons.

For example, there are 11 major organ systems in the human body, such as the respiratory, immune, and digestive systems.  The mysterious thing we call a brain weighs about 3.3 pounds.  It can perform what 500 tons of electrical and electronic equipment cannot do.  It contains 10 to 15 billion neurons, each a living unit in itself; it performs feats that absolutely boggle the mind.   How about the amazing red blood cell which is created in the bone marrow?  It immediately gives up its nucleus when it reaches the bloodstream.  For any other cell, this would mean death.   A red blood cell is formed with a thin membrane, without a nucleus it is able to carry more oxygen for the body.  Or think of the complexity of the human eye and all the myriad of functions it performs.  The eye can differentiate between some 10 million colors.

We are emotionally complex.   Think of a good friend of yours who continues to surprise or sometimes shock you; just when you think they were predictable.  How many of you married somebody who is wonderfully complex?  Have you ever thought, “Ah, there’s a side I haven’t seen before!”   How many of you have a brother or sister or son or daughter who is wonderfully complex?  Just when you thought you had them all figured out - they surprise you.

Of all God’s creatures, we alone are made for a spiritual relationship, for divine fellowship, for communion with God during our earthly journey.  The 5th century church father St. Augustine wrote: “Our hearts are restless until they find rest in thee.”

Sometimes we are a mystery to ourselves.   Have you ever acted in a strange way or said something which startled you, not to mention someone else?  And a little while later you thought - “What is wrong with me?” Why did I do that?”  “Why in the world did I say that?”  There’s nothing wrong with you or we hope not.  We don’t even know ourselves fully.  God knows you far better than you know yourself. God has made you marvelously complex.

Finally, being made in God’s image means you and I are known by God.   Hear again the words of the psalmist: “O Lord, you have searched me and known me.  You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.  You are acquainted with all my ways.  Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high I cannot attain it.  Where ever I go there you are.  Your hand shall lead me and your right hand shall hold me fast.”     God knows you better than your best friend, better than your wife or husband, better than brothers or sisters, better than you know yourself and God is with you wherever you are.  God is inescapable.

God, your creator and mine, desires for you and me to live with a single focus: “To live out our uniqueness, our complexity, God’s knowledge of us for God’s glory.”  I close with a quote from the late author Og Mandino, a Christian motivational writer, in his book, The Greatest Salesman in the World:

I am nature’s greatest miracle.  Since the beginning of time never has there been another with my mind, my heart, my eyes, my ears, my hands, my hair, my mouth.  None that came before, none that live today, and none that come tomorrow can walk and talk and move and think exactly like me.  All men are my brothers and I am different from each.  I am a unique creature. None can duplicate my brush stokes, none can make my chisel marks, none can duplicate my handwriting, none can produce my child, and in truth, none have the abilities to sell exactly as I.  I am rare, and there is value in all rarity; therefore, I am valuable.  I am not on this earth by chance.  I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand.  No beast, no plant, no wind, no rain, no rock, no lake had the same beginning as I, for I was conceived in love and brought forth with a purpose.  Let us use our uniqueness to glorify God.  Amen!

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