Awesome life!

As we age, we find that we can’t do all the things we used to.  I can’t hear as well as I could, and my eyes have reached the stage of needing vari-focal lenses. On the plus side though, we learn a lot too, and one thing we learn is that we don’t know as much as we thought we might when we were younger.  We learn to look more deeply at questions, perhaps because unlike a child who keeps asking ‘why’ we have learnt not to take answers on complete trust.

But when bits of our body stop working we begin to remember how amazing it is when they do, and to wonder if we really do understand all that’s going on in the universe.

Our bodies have incredible and almost unbelievable systems and components.  If someone were to describe how our bodies operate, I doubt that we would believe them but for the fact that we have seen them and we live in them …. and take them for granted!  There was a time when there was no life, and now there is ‘us’.  So my mind wandered:

  • Was there a time when our ancestors didn’t have all of the components and systems that we now have as humans?
  • Was there a time when they had all but one?
  • Was there a time when they had all but two?
  • Was there a time when our ancestors didn’t have blood?
  • When they didn’t have an immune system?
  • When they didn’t have nerve cells?
  • When they didn’t have joints in the skeleton?
  • When they didn’t have a heart?
  • When they didn’t have a blood clotting mechanism?
  • When they didn’t have a bone restructuring system?
  • When they didn’t have lungs?
  • When they didn’t have the little hairs in the lungs that clear out the mucus?
  • When they didn’t have mucus?

I don’t doubt that the answer is ‘yes’, but that further magnifies the amazing fact of our existence.

Not only do our present bodies have to grow in just the right sequence from the very first cell, but the process of developing to our present state must also have occurred in a sensibly ordered sequence. There would be no point in having a blood clotting mechanism without blood but an animal which has blood but no clotting mechanism would be rather fragile. Both mechanisms and components must have developed in parallel.  But the blood itself would be of little benefit without veins and arteries, and the veins and arteries would be of little benefit without the heart, and the heart would be of little benefit if it didn’t respond to the ‘operational needs’ of the body.

So we have a body that constructs itself in a way that at each stage of development it is fully operational (albeit in the controlled environment of the womb), and we have a generation to generation development process that ensures that each entity at each stage of its own development is operational in its own right.

I don’t doubt that this happens, and has happened over millennia.  I don’t have a problem with the principles that Darwin proposed.  But I do wonder if all this can happen just as a result of the properties of matter and the laws of physics.

Of course “the truth is out there” … but whether we can ever find out is another question….

About Minimalist Christian

Phil Hemsley is a graduate of the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in the UK. He works for a multinational company in the power industry, has presented technical papers at international conferences and holds many patents. He has published two books, the most recent is "The Big Picture, an Honest Examination of God Science and Purpose". He has lived on both sides of the faith fence. He is married, with two daughters.
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2 Responses to Awesome life!

  1. Robert Moores says:

    “But I do wonder if all this can happen just as a result of the properties of matter and the laws of physics.”

    I certainly have to give you this: whatever is required above and beyond matter and physics to make all of this happen one might certainly call ‘God’. But I believe that the pure (non-politically motivated, truth seeking) process of science is capable of revealing whatever this definition of ‘God’ happens to be, and I remain skeptical that this ‘God’ has the sort of personality which any of our ancient texts have attributed to him. The concept of a God with a human personality seems like textbook ‘projection’ to me.

    I really like your approach to understanding this difficult concept. I like that you ask genuine questions and have a genuine reason for believing in what you believe. I wish this was the common approach, rather than an exceptional one.


    • Thanks Robert. Indeed I think we can learn a lot about what God must be like from science – or maybe what he is not like. It has been written that man was made in the image of God, but I don’t feel that is what we normally think of as image – I imagine it is more in the ‘spiritual’ (immaterial) image. When we feel and act in love we are reflecting the pure essence of love that Anselm is talking about – so we are behaving in the image of God. I think most/all of us would like to think of ourselves as ‘good’ – which is in the image of the supreme goodness….


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