The Wonderful Works of God: Formation

The Complexity of the Human Frame

Imagine designing a pump which in a 24-hour period pumps 100,000 times, sending 7.5 thousand litres of liquid through 96.5 thousand kilometres of tubing without a moment’s rest. This pump is designed to work around the clock, every minute of the 24-hour day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year without stopping. It never takes a rest, rarely misses a beat and often is caused to work under pressure. There’s no inspection window and it doesn’t receive a yearly service – that’s our heart!

How about a camera one inch in diameter, 2 million working parts, weighing a mere 28 grams, with a resolution of 576 megapixels. One million tiny fibres link it via electrical impulses to a processor capable of speeds and focus beyond our understanding, which in turn convert to live visual images – that’s our eye! It’s the second most powerful organ after the brain, taking in about 36,000 pieces of information every hour. Approximately 85% of all information we receive enters into the body via the eye gate, and the muscles that control its movements are some of the strongest in the human body.

Folk are excited when the latest mobile phone contains a 12 megapixel camera, and they understand without question that the camera was the result of careful thought, design and engineering process, constructed with painstaking detail and precision. How bizarre, then, that often the very people who think, plan, design and construct (whose own bodies are infinitely more complex) imagine they themselves are uncreated, objects of mindless fate, cosmic accidents thrown up by the forces of time, chance and natural selection. How tragic that such intelligent beings, possessing a spirit to know God and faced with every evidence of their Creator, “glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Rom 1:21-22).[1]

The Construction of the Human Frame

Think back to the Garden of Eden, when with omniscient genius God stooped to take the elements of a dusty earth and with about 45 kg of water framed the human being with all its complexity and yet sublime symmetry. A unique tripart being, possessing a body to interact physically, a soul to interact socially and emotionally, and a spirit to interact spiritually, the human being is an unspeakable marvel and another evidence of the wonderful works of God.

I encourage you to read Psalm 139, which reveals to us the intimate and meticulous construction of our being. Note that the 24 verses, penned by David, can be divided up into four equal parts that reveal the omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence of God, concluding in the last six verses with an appropriate response as David takes his stand with God against those who oppose Him.

The psalm declares that the mysteries of conception and the detail and intricacy involved in our formation are a phenomena beyond human comprehension. In verse 15 he likens it to a work of embroidery, so perfectly detailed and tailored together on the surface, but turn over that creation and who could understand how all the threads fit together? Mankind would love to create life, but so utterly unknown to us are these secrets that it’s as though they remain hidden in the innermost parts of the earth.

“Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect” (v16). To us, the early stages of a human embryo may seem like a shapeless mass, but God sees a complete human being.  People may destroy a seeming lump of nothingness through the evil act of abortion, but our God thought, designed and constructed that unborn child as an eternal being and knows the soul and spirit of that individual. God delights in children and cares for those He crafted with His own hand, and the Scriptures clearly teach that He made provision for them in the death of Christ. David himself could speak with experience, as upon the death of his own child (2Sa 12:23) he took comfort in knowing that he would see that child again.

God has various books in relation to our lives. The names of those who trust Christ are recorded in the Book of Life. At the Bema, our lives will be judged by the Bible. The Lord Jesus taught that words idly spoken are recorded for the day of judgment, and here in verse 16 we find that God has a book in relation to the uniqueness and construction of every person – “in thy book all my members were written.” We may count the days of our life from the moment we exit the womb, but not so God. With Him our days are written in His book from the moment of conception. “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (v14).

The Care of the Human Frame

As we pause to contemplate the marvel of the human body, let’s consider also the care that God expends upon us. How could we measure what it cost God to send His Son to the cross in order to purchase these bodies of ours? Paul writes that we have been “bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1Co 6:20). As David reflected upon the care of God, Psalm 139 became interspersed with spontaneous worship: “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!” (v17). We would universally agree that the eyes are one of the most vulnerable and yet necessary parts of the human body; however, we find that they are protected by such a thin membrane of skin, the eyelid. Consider how implicitly we trust the functions of the eyelid. Impulses from the seventh and third cranial nerves, respectively, close and open them, providing rest and shade while secreting a unique combination of oils, water and mucus, and by accomplishing this operation at least 10,000 times per day, the eye is kept clean and protected. In Psalm 121, we read the Hebrew word shamar six times, translated “keepeth/preserveth.” From it comes shemeroth, which, interestingly, signifies the “eyelid.”[2] If we trust a thin piece of skin to preserve the eye, how much more must we trust the Eternal Maker of the heart, eye, eyelid and every part of our human frame! God is sensitive to the cares of His people. Unsurprisingly, Psalm 121 teaches us that the One who keeps and preserves us is One whose eyelids never shut, for He neither sleeps nor slumbers. Beloved, the unflinching, unwavering eye of the eternal God is upon you in this moment. Why not bow just where you are to give thanks?

[1] All Scripture quotations in this article are from the KJV.

[2] See Charles Spurgeon’s classic, The Treasury of David