Friday, November 25, 2016

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

The psalmist said, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (Ps 139:14). It's easy to understand what he meant by "wonderfully made," when you consider all the wonderful aspects of the human body like the eyes and their ability to see, the skin with it's smoothness and ability to feel, the tongue that enables us to speak and taste, the ears and their ability to hear, the lips, reproductive organs, fingers and toes.

Moreover, DNA is another wonderful aspect that God has made, which contains the genetic code. DNA is a fine thread with a spiral-like coil shape found in the nucleus of every cell in your body -- which contains all the information each cell needs in order to function and serves as a tiny blueprint with instructions for what each cell is supposed to do. Merely a single gram of DNA can store 700 terabytes of data! In fact, the entire human body with its estimated 100 trillion diploid cells contains about 150 trillion Gigabytes of data. If you were to uncoil all the DNA in all the cells of your body to form a straight line, and place them all end to end, they would extend for over 744 million miles. Your DNA would stretch to the moon and back over 1000 times. It would reach to the sun and back about 4 times!

Furthermore, the amazing human nose can distinguish 50,000 different smells. Amazingly an adult human body contains 100,000 miles of blood vessels, which would circle the earth four times, and is made up of about seven octillion (7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) atoms.* Just to give you an idea how large that number is, if you were to count to seven octillion, it would take you over thirty-two quintillion years without any sleep to do so. Just think of how many atoms God has arranged inside your body! There are only 9,096 stars visible with the naked eye across the entire sky from earth. If each of the atoms from just one single human body were a star, that would equal seven million times as many stars as scientists estimate there are in our entire universe!** Therefore, the seven octillion atoms in the human body is equal to the number of stars in seven million universes. Put differently, the Lord has given you seven million times as many atoms in your body as there are stars in the universe. He's certainly packed a lot into you! Dear friend, you are much more valuable to God than all the stars in the entire universe.

If each of the seven octillion atoms in the human body were the size of an average apple, and we laid them all on the ground, side-by-side so that there was no ground showing, and they were only one-apple deep, they would cover the entire planet earth 79,701,133,174 times over. We could cover over seventy nine billion planets the size of earth with that many apples!*** There would be no room in our solar system for all those planets. In fact, there would be enough to create a whole galaxy of apple-covered, earth-sized planets. Praise the Lord!

But what did the psalmist mean by "fearfully made"? The Hebrew word for "I am fearfully" is "yare" meaning "cause astonishment and awe: of Yehova himself."  Truly there are aspects of our existence that cause us to be in astonishment and awe of the Lord. Let's consider some of those aspects now. Blood is one of them. It's no wonder that some people faint at the site of blood, the red fluid that performs critical functions like carrying oxygen and nutrients to cells throughout the body. As the Scripture says, "The life of the flesh is in the blood" (Lev 17:11). According to Wikipedia, the average adult has around 5 quarts (~5 litres) of blood. A loss of only 2 quarts or 2 litres (just over 40%) of your blood, will lead to death in most cases without treatment.

The heart is another fearful thing that God has made. It beats about 100,000 times per day and about 35 million times in a year. During an average lifetime, it beats more than 2.5 billion times. Since God has made the heart to beat automatically, He is the one that keeps it beating. You don't even have to think about it. We personally have no ability to make our own hearts continue beating or to make them stop beating, except for those who make the terrible choice of suicide. Since life comes to an end without a beating heart, we should be very grateful to God, whom we are totally dependent upon to keep it pumping.

Likewise, the lungs perform a critical respiratory function, bringing oxygen into the body and exhaling the exhausted air with its toxins. The total length of the airways within the two lungs is 1,500 miles or 2,400 kilometers. Scientists estimate that the total internal surface area of lungs in an adult is about the same as the area on one half of a tennis court. The lungs do their work without our giving it any thought. While we can force ourselves to breath faster or more slowly, we cannot make ourselves continue breathing when respiration stops. Since no person on earth can survive without breathing, and we are dependent on God for every breath we take, that's definitely something that He has fearfully made, which we should be thankful for.

Furthermore, the human brain with all its complexity enables us to think, reason, speak, and remember. Although the brain operates on the same amount of power as a dim, 10-watt light bulb, nerve impulses travel to and from the brain at speeds up to 170 miles per hour, and one single brain cell (not the entire brain) can hold five times more information than any encyclopedia. Scientists estimate the storage capacity of the brain in electronic terms to be between 3 or even 1,000 terabytes. As a point of comparison, it only takes 70 terabytes of memory to store over 900 years of history in the National Archives of Britain. In addition to all of these wonderful aspects of the brain, it is also fearfully made. It does not take much to injure it, and if it is injured traumatically, it can cause severe problems in a person's life, including headaches, seizures, blindness, deafness, personality changes, behavioral changes, memory loss, speech loss or impediment, paralysis, unconsciousness, and even death.

For all of its durability, human life is also very delicate and fragile. Small things like a little bullet, a sword, a knife, a fall, a blunt force, a tiny blood clot, a bacterial infection, or a microscopic virus can easily snuff it out. A person can be here today and gone tomorrow just like that.

However, the physical body parts are not the only things about us that are fearfully made. The soul is another part we need to consider. God is eternal, which means He is without beginning or end, and He has created us in His image (Gen 1:27). When God made us, he created not only a body, but a spirit and a soul. The thing about the soul is that once it is created, it never ceases to exist. While we have a definite point in time when we came into existence, and our mortal life ends at death, we have an immortal soul. Even after physical life ends, the soul continues to live and experience all of the same senses it does while you are alive. It can still feel, taste, touch, see, hear, know, think, and remember as when it was inside the body, but once it leaves the body, the senses become even more acute. This existence goes on throughout eternity forever without end.

It is completely impossible to ever stop a soul from existing. Once it leaves this earth it will exist either in heaven or hell (Psalm 22:26; 23:6; 49:7-9; Ecclesiastes 12:7; Daniel 12:2-3; Matthew 25:46; 1 Corinthians 15:12-19). According to the angel Gabriel's message to Daniel, “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Dan 12:2, NIV). Likewise, Jesus said that the wicked “will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” (Mt 25:46, NIV).

Whether you go to heaven or hell will depend on what is determined at the judgment seat of Christ. "It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment." (Heb 9:27, NASB 1977). That is an appointment that every one of us has with God, and no matter what you do, you will not miss that appointment. You will appear before God for judgment at the appointed time. When that time comes, you will meet the Lord Jesus Christ in person, whether you believe in Him or not, and whether you lived for Him or not. He already knows the exact day and hour when you will die, even though it is completely unknown to you. It is fixed. And when that moment arrives, there is nothing you can do to stop it. That is when we must give an account to God for everything done while in the body, whether good or bad (2 Cor 5:10; Rom 2:6; 14:12). Your entire life will be played back to you like a movie and you will have to give an account for how you lived, based on God's holy and righteous standard.

In my opinion, this aspect about a soul is one that is fearfully made by God. While you cannot add one single hour to your life on earth (Mt 6:27), you cannot end your existence at any point once you have been created. Even if you end your earthly life through suicide, your soul will not cease to exist. That's why we should fear the Lord. Jesus said, "But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him." (Lk 12:5).

Forever is a long time, and hell has no exits. That is why you must repent and believe the gospel. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and trust in His unfailing love. Though each person is worth much more to God than all the stars in the universe, Jesus His Son is exceedingly abundantly more valuable to Him than any other person, and the Father has given Him up to die on the cross as a sacrifice for you. He has raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand. Though it may seem like nobody else loves you, and you don't even love yourself, Jesus loves you. Every breath you take and every heartbeat is from Him. Trust in His grace to save you, and live every day as if it is going to be your last.

In light of all these things, we can surely say to God with the psalmist, "I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well." (Psa 139:14).

Footnotes:
*Each of these atoms has a nucleus comprised of tiny particles known as protons and neutrons. The atomic nucleus is surrounded by electrons orbiting it in complex pathways.

**According to USCB Scienceline, "There are about 10 billion galaxies in the observable universe! The number of stars in a galaxy varies, but assuming an average of 100 billion stars per galaxy means that there are about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (that's 1 billion trillion) stars in the observable universe!"

***This estimate is based on each apple being three inches in diameter, taking up nine square inches of surface area, which is 0.0625 square feet. By multiplying that by seven octillion, it equals four hundred thirty-seven septillion, five hundred  sextillion (437,500,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) square feet, which is equal to over fifteen quintillion, six hundred ninety-three quadrillion (15,693,153,122,130,395,136) square miles. Then we divide that total number of square miles by the total surface area of planet earth, which is one hundred ninety-six million, nine hundred thousand (196,900,000) square miles, and the result is seventy-nine billion, seven hundred one million, one hundred thirty-three thousand, one hundred seventy-four (79,701,133,174). That is the number of times this planet could be covered in seven octillion apples.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like the following other ones: Should you fear the Lord?, The Judgment Seat of Christ, Life After Death, Ezekiel Moses Testimony of Heaven and Hell, Salvation with Fear and Trembling, Angelica Zambrano Hell and Heaven, James Agboola Revelation of Heaven and Hell, Life is Short; Eternity is NotAvoid Becoming a Corrupted Christian, Covenant Prayer, Dare to Believe, Is Obedience Optional?, Drifting Away, The Law of Christ, and Baptized by Blazing Fire. You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." 

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.