Life begins with a single cell.
The zygote. A derivative of the Greek word ζυγοῦν, which means “to yoke” or “to join”.
That’s what the scientist called the cell the first time they viewed this first stage of life through their 17th century microscopes. Imagine the impact that single moment was on their lives; being able to understand how a human body, how they themselves, came to exist.
And that single cell multiplies a million times over to become you. And me.
Even now, my head sways on shaky grounds of human-like logic and simple understanding, and a thousand unanswerable questions come to mind.
“Fearfully and wonderfully made,” my dad used to tell me when he’d peer over my shoulder at my anatomy books. Then he would turn back to his coffee and newspaper as I sat in silence, astonished that his curiosity wasn’t piqued further than that simple statement.
I’d nod, swallow the lump in my throat, and try to refocus on the studies before me, the intricacies of a cell and how all the itty-bitty organelles within it worked.
“He doesn’t get it,” I told myself at the time, “He’s past his prime. No sense in learning this stuff at his age.”
But somewhere deep within me, some dark corner where scientist had never discovered, knew my dad was the smart one.
At that time, I didn’t really care if there was a God or not, although I laughed at my professors who were determined to call the unexplainable the handiwork of a higher power. “Why not just say God?” I asked my microbiology teacher one day while cleaning my microscope. “Because I might offend someone, and I personally believe in a higher power, not God,” was her reply.
“You seem like a religious person to me,” I told her.
“Oh, I am! I’ve been teaching this class for 23 years, and not for one second has my amazement dwindled for the handiwork of the higher power.”
“So basically, God. Your amazement comes from God.”
“You could say that,” she replied, “But if you study it out, in every language since the beginning of time, there’s been a different name for God. It doesn’t really matter what you call the higher power, as long as you believe.”
Leaving the classroom, her last words stayed with me.
As long as you believe…
Two weeks later, I sat in the same classroom, using the same microscope. I stained the cells, this time live cells, and placed the blue-stained slide beneath the eye piece.
I watched as cells lived and breathed, miraculously carrying on as if they were following a schedule of sorts. In awe, I marveled as cells divided before my eyes. But most of all, I believed.
“The Designer,” I whispered to myself. “Only The Designer could make this happen.”
And in that moment, I understood the simplicity of my dad’s understanding.
Because he believed, he didn’t need all the answers.
Today, I’m the same way. I recently had the opportunity to go to the Bodies World exhibit at the science museum. As I marveled once again at the handiwork of the Creator, I kept thinking to myself…
“I can’t wait to sit in that grand lecture hall and listen to The Designer… as he explains the unexplainable.”
It always seemed sort of funny when so many people would criticize Thomas calling him “Doubting one” and yet wanting to do exactly the thing that made Thomas “Doubting” – to actually have physical proof of Jesus’ power.
And it’s amazing to me that there are people who still keep saying “I don’t see God” – I keep wanting to tell them “How can you NOT??”
The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. (Psalm 19:1-2, NLT)
@zenichka:disqus … I’m definitely a Doubting Thomas, but I’ll keep working on it. Reminding myself of this story that happened over a year ago is a good way to deal with that doubt. 🙂
Great post, Duane.
I have to learn over and over again that I’m not meant to understand it all, at least not this side of heaven.
I love education and I think it’s a great thing. But the value our culture lays on knowledge can impede our relationship with God.
“The value our culture lays on knowledge can impede our relationship with God.”
Write that one down. That can be in your own book of quotes. I love it!
Awesome! The Grand Designer is such a Master Craftsman. Science is merely the attempt of man to discover the reality of God. Thanks for sharing this story…and for acknowledging the wisdom of your Dad. 😉
@twitter-29347922:disqus … it’s hard for me admit my dad is smarter than me… but when it comes down to it, I have a lot to learn.
Don’t we all?!
when i saw my first daughter hands and feet in 1979 and saw the intricacies of them… i knew there had to be a God to create this beautiful baby.. how can one not believe in the Great Designer? My God. My Papa!
Thanks for taking the time to comment. Ironically, this last weekend at Body Works, I was also impressed at the intricacies of a baby. You are definitely justified in your reasoning. 🙂
Because he believed, he didn’t need all the answers.” – That’s our faith, bro. This was a great read – thanks for writing it.
Hey man, @twitter-19933909:disqus … Thanks for your support.
I see this in the story of creation with God as the master artist as He creates it all and calls it “good”. Just like an artist who paints a masterpiece than stands back and says, “that’s good”.
What’s great is that WE get to be curators for the masterpiece of the Great Artist.
@taterhouse:disqus … Wow. I hadn’t thought of that. Isn’t it wonderful! And here I am laying out in the sun as I write this comment, quite possibly acquiring skin cancer. 🙂
Wow. Good stuff Duane. I’ll never understand a fraction of how complex our bodies truly are. I always enjoy hearing stories like yours.
@openid-19924:disqus … if you get the chance, take an anatomy class. Worth the money, even if you aren’t planning on being a doctor. 🙂
i stopped looking at Thomas as the Doubter but as the Historian. He wanted the facts before he would believe. He got first hand knowledge. 🙂 Me? Since that type of knowledge is (as far as I know) I have to hang my hat on trusting that what has been handed down to me in written form is true. In that i will have faith in the story of God being true. Therefore…I believe.
@aa511effd1b39a6c2ccd0a6ef85e4a08:disqus … That’s a great way to look at it. I’ve never thought of Thomas as the Historian, but I do love the way it explains that I need to just trust in faith. 🙂
and when i believe, i feel i have all the answers combined into one.
A few things came to mind as I read this . . . James 2:19 : “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.”Now that’s a humbling verse! :OAnd though the professor was right to believe . . . it doesn’t get you far if you don’t BELIEVE and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord. ;)”If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9And as for the “doubting” part . . . stick to a statement made by Pete Wilson in “Plan B” . . .”There is too much evidence of God’s existence for me to spend very long questioning it.”Quite frankly, the evidence is just overwhelming!Blessings,Cherie
Great post, Duane. Love how intricate creation is. Thanks for bringing attention to the beauty of how life is designed (and the Designer behind it).
Simply beautiful. I’m so glad Glynn highlighted this, Duane.
Of all the wild stuff I’ve done (like skydiving), and despite the incredible pain, NOTHING is more exhilirating than giving birth, or of the experience when those cells are stetching and growing and hiccupping and carressing a mothr’s heart from the inside.