The Journey series
This week's Mustard Seed examines creation.
When birds or bees create nests they act by instinct. They gather naturally occurring objects and arrange them according to an innate ability. They don't draw plans, use tools, or fashion parts.
But man's capacity to create is far greater than any animal's. When humans build something, they desire an end. There is an abstract ideal against which the accomplishment of the artisan is measured. For a carpenter to build a chair, he must understand the chair as something comfortable to sit on. To be successful in building the chair, he must understand the ergonomics of a seated person, the structural qualities of the materials used, and the proper operation of the tools employed.
In both examples, there is an intended function for the product. Nests can been used as decoration. Chairs, while they can be used as makeshift tables or ladders, are most profitably used for their intended purpose. In both examples, the quality is limited by the understanding, experience and abilities of the builder and by the available resources.
In both examples, context also plays a role. Nests and chairs will not be built if sufficient quantity and quality already exist. They will not be built if there is a more pressing need. Nest will not be built in easy reach of predators or far off from food. A chair is not built for a bathtub. Context is, of course, dependant on awareness. Many items are found to be inappropriate after the fact.
God's ability to create is exponentially higher than man's. When God creates, His knowledge of the ideal is perfect. He is not limited in understanding, experience or ability. He has no scarcity of resources. He, being the creator of all things, is fully aware of all context. There is nothing to prevent Him from creating what is absolutely best. We must assume every element of God's creation is absolutely the best it can be when and where it is. If we do not recognize it as so, it is a fault with our understanding. We must also accept that there is a desired end, a purpose, for every element He creates. For God's creation to reach His intended perfection, we must each, as one such element, discern our purpose in context with our environment rather than decide our actions in the context of anticipated pleasure.
Our greatest fulfillment will be achieved by living in unison with God's plan for us, not in hopping from one physical, temporal reward to the next.
Next week: Family in context.
Peter T Elliott