Endowed By Their Creator
by: Ronald L. Dart
I honestly donít know what the founders of this nation believed about God. Thereís been a lot of conversation about that. I only have their words to go by and thatís quite a bit really. They signed their names and pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to a document that states: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." A self-evident truth is one that needs no argument, no explanation; itís as plain as the fact that we are held to the earth by gravity. These truths include the fact that man was created by a Creator and is endowed with rights.
I Am Fearfully And Wonderfully Made
That man is created is beyond dispute. King David, in an exalted moment in Psalm 139 verse 14, wrote this: "I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are your works; and that my soul knows it very well." It was a self-evident truth to David: "I am fearfully and wonderfully made." I donít think you can really appreciate these words until you get old and the incredible system, that is your body, starts to break down. You begin to realize how interdependent everything in the system is on everything else. Young people can have the luxury of taking a fully-functioning body for granted; old people simply cannot.
The Human Eye Is Incredible
It was when I had to see an ophthalmologist because something wasnít working quite right, that I first began to consider how incredible the eye is. And it isnít just the eye. The eye is only part of a system of seeing. We donít actually see anything in the eye; we see in the brain. And if any part of that system is broken, we donít see at all. It requires everything. You know what happens when you tilt a camera a few degrees when youíre taking a picture. The end result is you get this skewed, tilted picture. Try that with the eye. Just tilt your head a few degrees either way as you sit or stand. Does the world tilt? Does your picture change? No, not really. Your vision corrects for that and you still see the world as right side up. The room doesnít appear to move because the eye compensates for that small movement. Thereís a tiny pulley in your eye that can roll the eye a few degrees each way to keep the world still, and it works all the time. One day I was in a doctorís office studying a diagram of the eye, and I noticed something that didnít look right. Light falls on the retina where it activates sensors, but there are many more sensors in the eye than there are conductors to take the information to the vision center in the brain. Itís like the phone line that you see outside your house. All messages are carried down the same phone lines and they never get garbled up. They all go where they are supposed to go. I asked the doctor, "How do all these signals coming from the back of the eye share the same wires?" He said, "Well, thereís this little computer chip in the back of the eye that handles all that." I laughed, he laughed, and he examined my eyes. But I went home and looked that up. Imagine my surprise when I found that he really wasnít joking. There really is a tiny bio-computer, a bio-chip if you will, in the nerve system of your eye that handles all that stuff.
God Designed It In The DNA
David continued his praise of God. He said, "My substance was not hid from you, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth."
That last phrase is a figurative reference to the most basic part of the womb. That becomes clear as he proceeds, "Your eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; and in your book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them." Itís astonishing David said that. Of course, he was speaking poetically, but we now know scientifically how it works and that itís true. We know that from the moment cells begin to divide in the motherís womb, all the information about who this child is, is there, is written. We might not be able to find it, but God found it and itís there. Every single member is written there in the DNA, in the code, in those cells, and they all know where they are going from the time they start dividing. One will become part of an eye, another will become part of the brain, another will become part of the foot, and they all know where to go. The color of your eyes, the color of your hair, a determination of maximum height, the color of your complexion, all that stuff is written in Godís book from the moment of conception. And we now know that the body is fashioned in a continuing process. We can now look to see what a child looks like at each week in the gestation period. We can even see when the markers of gender begin to show.
Recently, while watching Strategic Air Command, I was struck by one thing. There was a baby on the way and the mother and father were saying, "Well, if itís a girl. . . if itís a boy. . ." It crossed my mind that, when I first saw that movie, gender could not be determined until the baby was born and someone came out and said, ĎCongratulations! Itís a boy!" People should understand this: The identity of this new person is already determined and written in Godís book right from the start. Itís a terrible responsibility to consider terminating that life before he or she ever has a chance to do good or evil. David led into this thought from the beginning of the 139th Psalm: "O LORD, you have searched me, and known me. You know my downsitting and my uprising, you understand my thought afar off. You compass my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, you know it altogether. You have beset me behind and before, and laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain to it. Where am I going to go from your spirit? or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend up into heaven, you are there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there will your hand lead me, and your right hand will hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness will cover me; even the night will be light about me. Yea, the darkness hides not from you; but the night shines as the day:. . .." This is both encouraging and frightening, for if one does evil, there is no place to hide from God.
Abortion Is Morally Wrong
Just before Davidís remark about how fearfully and wonderfully made man is, David said this: "For you have built my innermost being. You have knit me together in my motherís womb." It just seems impossible to me from any Christian perspective to support abortion. You may not want the state involved in the process, but letís get one thing perfectly clear: abortion is morally wrong. And I figure as a nation we are going to pay for it. And we will find, like David, there is no place to hide in the dark.
God Is The Creator
The human body is a great starting point for coming to understand the Creator because, actually, itís the closest thing to you. But where do you go from there?
I live in a country subdivision and we have a lot of trees-some gorgeous oaks, sweet gum trees, pines all over the place-and for some reason I am most often struck by the wisdom of the Creator when I look at a tree. It seems such a common thing, but a tree is anything but common. Imagine for a moment you had a thin little pipe standing 100 feet straight up in the air, and youíre at the bottom of it with some kind of a pump. Letís say you want to pump water up that 100 feet up. Youíre going to have to use quite a bit of energy, even with a thin tube, to run that up 100 feet. The tree does it every day without using any energy at all. At least thatís what the article said. How does it do that? The only source of energy this tree has is solar, and itís provided in those marvelous little chemical things we call "leaves." This is going to be really hard to get your mind around, but when you look at a tree, you are seeing something that used to be carbon dioxide gas. How did it get from being a gas to being this gorgeous, tall, strong tree that defies gravity every day? It doesnít run along the ground like a watermelon vine. It struggles against gravity, grows away from gravity going upward toward the sun. Why does it do that? The tree draws up water from the soil. Sometimes 100, or maybe up to 300 feet into the air. The leaves take carbon dioxide from the air and they use the green process of photosynthesis to combine carbon dioxide with water to make sugar (and this is very important to you and me) and oxygen. Thatís that. The sugar is food for the tree and itís the primary reason why tree sap tends to be sweet-as in that wonderful Vermont maple syrup. It, too, was just CO2 and water until the leaves of the tree worked their magic on it.
Another fact about trees evident from the equation is that they require carbon dioxide to grow. A tree canít grow without carbon dioxide. You may have heard on television, or you may have read in the newspaper about rising CO2 levels in the earthís atmosphere. If you look at this very carefully over time, you will see the increasing of CO2-which some scientists think will increase the heat in the earthís climate, others believe there will be little effect. However, most scientists will agree that increasing CO2 will allow trees to grow faster-the elevated CO2 acts like fertilizer, and the trees grow faster. Now thatís really fascinating. Everyone is worried about all the carbon dioxide in the air. The trees arenít worried about it. They rejoice every day. An important thing to know also, it isnít just trees that grow faster. All food crops will as well, because every food crop draws water and nutrients from the soil, carbon dioxide from the air, and the process of photosynthesis powers all this to make everything from strawberries to lettuce, to apples, to wheat, to you name it.
Making Climate Issues Political
Making climate issues political is a very bad idea. I suppose itís too late to point that out, but maybe better late than never. Most scientists know that they are not nearly as smart as journalists make them out to be. Journalists want to sell news; not to tell the truth. Thereís one other thing you should know about this photosynthesis equation: oxygen is produced as a by-product. This is a great by-product, since animals (that means you and me) must have oxygen to survive. The oxygen is produced when a water molecule is split during a specific chemical reaction. Bingo! We get to breathe another day, thanks to the trees, the plants, the grass, and even the algae in the ocean. All that conspires together to provide us with oxygen we can breathe. And we breathe out carbon dioxide, which makes all the plants happy as well. Itís incredible! Itís part of a system designed long ago by God so the earth could go on-human beings could eat so plants could live, and plants could live so human beings could eat.
The Trunk Of The Tree
Just as human vision is not merely a function of the eye-itís a system-so is the ecology of planet Earth. Itís not just plants and animals and species and subspecies, it is a system. And the spooky thing about it is, if you mess with part of the system, you can wreck the whole. Not that man is a big enough player yet, but who knows what we may eventually do. When you understand the trunk of a tree, youíve got a key to understanding how it works and one of the primary reasons why the things are so useful. The trunk is that part of the tree which connects the leafy crown with its roots. Roots absorb water and nutrients from the soil, they are then transported up the tree trunk in little cells that are just like pipes. This allows the leaves to obtain water and nutrients they need for the manufacture of food from light energy. Food made in the leaves is then transported down to the roots and other parts of the tree for growth. And those pipes in the tree (actually called vascular tissue) is what we exploit to make paper, forest products, and even burn in a wood stove to keep ourselves warm in the wintertime.
Some time during your life you must have seen annual growth rings in a cross section of a tree, and you know that each growth ring represents a year. What makes the rings? Well, an annual ring is one yearís growth of the cells. In most trees the xylem cells formed in the spring are larger than those formed later in the summer. The difference in size results in what looks like a ring. In some species, like an oak, the rings are so wide you can actually see them with the naked eye. Now maybe you can see why I sit back and look at trees as a marvel in design and seemingly getting. . . well, something from nothing-just water, air, and sunlight. We use trees to build houses, grow fruit to eat, keep us warm in the winter, and, as some people once did, carve into idols. Joyce Kilmer saw them as poems; I see them as a perfect work of a perfect and powerful Intelligence, who was, incidentally, providing us with exactly what we need.
Ron, Youíve Got To See This!
But there is one other time when I stood in awe of the great Creator. I was lying in the forward hold of a fifty-foot racing yacht in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. It was cooler there with a breeze coming down through the forward hatch and I was trying to get some sleep. A voice called down from topside, "Ron, get up here. Youíve got to see this!" It was very dark when I came on deck and the only light was coming from the compass. The moon had not yet risen. I looked up and saw a sky the likes of which I had not seen since I was a little boy. No matter where you are in the United States, there is so much light pollution these days you can see but a fraction of the heavenly host. I sat back in total awe. I worked my way around the familiar constellations and saw the Milky Way as I had not seen it in so long I had almost forgotten it was there, if you can believe that.
God Is The Great Designer
I couldnít help but think of David who said in Psalm 8, "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained; What is man, that you are mindful of him? and the son of man, that you visit him?" I donít know just how much David grasped about the sky he was looking at. The sight is awesome; itís beautiful just to look at. But what is truly staggering is, when you come to understand what it is youíre looking at and the distance it is to all those lights in the sky. I donít think King David had a clue about that. Itís hard to get the grasp of the distances between objects in the universe. Letís say youíre driving your car right now. How fast are you going? Sixty miles an hour maybe? Well, not really. You are actually traveling at a relative speed of 860 miles per hour. Now, you donít need to worry. The highway patrolman is traveling at the same speed and he wonít even notice the difference between his car and yours. That is the speed you are moving because of the earth rotating on its axis. It takes 24 hours to make a complete circuit, and we make that complete circuit at 860 miles per hour. Fortunately the atmosphere goes around with us and we donít get blown off the surface. But we still donít have our speed correct yet. Weíre not really going 860 miles per hour. We have another relative speed to factor in. The earth is moving in an orbit around the sun. Everyone knows it takes a year to make one circuit around the sun from spring to spring. But how far is it that weíre traveling and how fast are we going? In that vector, weíre moving at 66,661 miles per hour around the sun. Thatís burning speed to get around there, isnít it? Why does it take a whole year, going that fast? Well, the answer is, the journey around the sun is something close to a half billion miles-plus or minus a mile or so. So, weíre really moving on now, but you still, literally, donít know the half of it.
Thereís another speed we have to factor into this. The sun itself is moving as a part of a galaxy of stars. It actually moves in a circular fashion around a center of stars, looking like nothing so much as a giant whirlpool in the sky if you could see it all. Our sun is about two-thirds of the way out of that galaxy and itís making its way around the black hole in the center at a speed in the vicinity of 700,000 miles per hour. Now weíre really moving. How long do you suppose it takes our sun to go, from where it is today, completely around the galaxy and come back to where it is again. A year? Oh no. Ten years? No; more than that. Twenty years? Still not close. Traveling at 700,000 miles per hour it will take 188 million years to make the complete circuit around the galaxy. And, on the scale of the universe, we havenít gone anywhere. If we could travel at the absolute speed of light, we could travel 186,000 miles per second. If you happen to have a pulse rate of 60, with every beat of your heart, light has traveled 186,000 miles. That works out to be something in the neighborhood of 670,000,000 miles per hour. I told you all that to tell you this: You would think that, at these speeds, you could go anywhere you wanted in the universe. Youíd be wrong. You donít live long enough. Once you passed the outer planets in our solar system at the speed of light, it would take you four years to get to the nearest star in our own galaxy. Thatís why scientists began to calculate these distances in light years. Now, consider that it is something like 13 billion light years to the far edge of the universe and you have gained a little bit of perspective.
The Big Bang
So, when the founding fathers spoke of the rights of man being guaranteed by a Creator, they said a mouthful, because at some time in the distant past there was nothing. No universe, no stars, and, certainly, no you and me. Then at one moment in time suddenly there was. . . well. . . everything. Everything that ever would be came into existence at that one split second of time. This is not the imagining of a religious guru; this is hard science. Itís been dubbed by some the "Big Bang" and, at the moment of creation, everything that makes up everything we see was made.
Now, how big does your God have to be to make that happen? When I hear people talk about flying saucers and visitors from another planet, I have to laugh. Not because I doubt that thereís life somewhere else in the universe. Frankly, if I had to make a guess, Iíd guess there is. I laugh because if there is, itís obvious God quarantined us from one another by distance and by time, for physical objects travel at a fraction of the speed of light, and light itself takes longer than any man would ever live to go anywhere. I say, God bless those men who founded the ideas of this nation and its ideals on the truth of a Creator. It has shaped the greatness this nation has come to.
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This article was transcribed with minor editing from a message given by Ronald L. Dart titled: "Endowed By Their Creator" (07EBC) 8/14/07
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