Creativity in the Unseen World
by Samuel T. Lanford
Retired Professor of Architecture, Univeristy of Illinois
Agnostics, along with God-fearing folk, may marvel at such great phenomena because their size alone makes them undeniable. But there is far more to His works than those we can see, touch, hear, or smell. Even we who give Him credit for such wonders have scarcely "touched the hem of the garment."
For example, how can a rock-hard seed, seemingly lifeless for many seasons, have within itself the capacity to germinate and spring upward in fresh, tender life? How can its roots know to reach downward, with the power to split boulders? How is this growth able to take lifeless inorganic material and convert it into vitality?
What causes a seemingly simple leaf to breathe, produce sweet fragrances, absorb carbon dioxide and exude oxygen, as well as to perform the process of osmosis. What motivation is built into it to bring about such complex processes?
Why should a human egg, from the instant of fertilization, burst forth frenetically to divide, multiply, and diversify in countless programmed ways? How is it that the intertwining DNA helix knows how to guide future performance? And how about the tiny defense mechanisms that gather against harmful bacteria and viruses deadly to our survival? All these speak eloquently of the miraculous in the micro-world that surrounds us, and of which we are made.
I once had a student who had earned his Ph.D. in math speak of the sheer beauty of higher mathematics. He tried to convey the remarkable relationships between numbers, of what happens when ciphering with different bases than the taken-for-granted decimal system, such as those based on six (so common in God's nature), or on bases of five, four, and three. He enhanced my fascination with the kinship in the Fibonacci series, in both organic and inorganic forms.
Let us recognize that none of these relationships in the world of numbers just happened: God spoke them into existence, along with numerical systems unknown to man to this very day. They are almost certain to exist--after all, the principles of calculus existed before Sir Isaac Newton, the truth of the decimal system were in place long before brilliant Arabs puzzled them out, and the connections between trig tables, angles, and geometry simply lay dormant until a bright student of God's creation reasoned them through! It would now be fitting for us to await in excitement for the discovery and utilization of other mathematical laws put in place along with the rest of creation. The multiple kinds of waves that we observe, use, and enjoy all obey rules that humans did not devise. Because of these laws, we can thrill to the harmonics of symphonic music, our beings resonate with rhythms that stir us emotionally. The principles that govern waves permit us to appreciate the richness of colors all across the masterpiece of a rainbow; they permit us to distinguish the flash of a scarlet tanager against the dark greens of a deep forest. Similar waves disappear on each end of the spectrum into a world beyond our vision. Through wave motions, we can measure distances unimaginable light years away, and virtually see happening that predate human history by eons. Only the great Creator, far more than a genius in physics, could provide both utility and artistry in wave motions to enrich our lives beyond imagination.
Many of us have been dazzled by the cleverness and miniaturization displayed in our communication age. We are astonished by the so-called memory made possible with micro jolts of electricity and the storage of information via silicone chips tattooed with seemingly aligned atoms of metal.
But must we not, in all honesty, acknowledge that an omniscient One is sovereign over every sub-particle, and that He ordained that some of them should tenaciously adhere or interlock while others repel or attract? Why should some form "permanent" hardnesses (such as diamonds or steel) while others are so evanescent as to approach nonexistence?
How dare we take credit for positive and negative charges? None of us invented the basic laws that continually whirl electrons around a nucleus (talk about perpetual motion, said to be unachievable by us mortals)! How can we be so arrogant as to explain the balance between centrifugal and centripetal forces, or the great magnetic fields that encircle our earth, without thinking of their why in the first place?
Many of these creations are either so small that we cannot see them or so inexplicable that we, like Job of old, can only accept that they are. Man says that they obey a particular law of thermodynamics or--based on our observations--that is the way they have always behaved. Yet our inventions (or rearrangements of God's elemental stuff) are all based on intricate rules and physical materials which we accept as given.
At this point, an appropriate question would appear to be: given by whom? And a second logical query should be: why have we not credited Him for such a marvelous array of gifts, largely unseen but no less wondrous than the immense and obvious ones?
Humbled by such wonders, we can then be excited at the prospect at uncovering long-buried treasures of His creation, lying dormant for our discovery, delight, and use.
Back to Contents Does God Exist?, MayJun02.