Saturday, January 26, 2019

Made New.

I've been ruminating over several posts I want to undertake, but today I had a great analogy (or at least a partial analogy) that I thought would be interesting to think about and share.

I can't get over how fascinating all the rock and mineral science is. It seems so odd to me! How can something without organs, cells, or blood be living? I know rocks aren't really living, but as a child, my idea of what counts as living was fairly limited. Humans are alive. Animals are alive, but not as "awake" as humans, without the same kind of soul God gave people. Plants, well, that was weird to think of them as being alive... they don't even have brains! Plants breathe? Even weirder.

As I've grown in my knowledge in various fields of science, it makes more sense how these other things live. Their cells operate in ways they are pre-programmed to operate, which makes them count as being alive even without a brain telling them what to do. It's actually crazy to see that still today, people cannot figure out HOW a plant seed gets its RNA all pre-programmed to do the things it is supposed to do. As a Creationist, I chuckle. If I were a scientist who did not believe in God, I would be philosophically stumped. It has to start somewhere!

But rocks are different. They don't have "their own" cells. They are comprised of elements and minerals, which don't do what cells do. They don't have genetic material or RNA to tell them what to do. How they form is more based on chemical or atomic level reactions to each other and the environment they are placed in. So while rocks do change, and minerals interact with the world, and crystals grow, they are not alive in the same way.

All this started to form an interesting idea in my brain after I browsed the petrified wood gallery at the Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals. Some of the same kinds of wood had been petrified in different circumstances, different places around the world, and had totally different coloration. So even though they started out with the same material, they were changed and made new with completely different minerals.

This is like how God changes us.

Now, my analogy definitely breaks down (as most do), and my analogy can kind of be flipped backwards in another sense (we don't become dead and hard, but more alive with God's Spirit in us). But here is one way to look at it.

We are all human, and we all start out being made of the same exact material. All these materials come together in a unique way to make something different, but the fundamentally the same. Like Conifer trees, we are all the "same" but all slightly different too. Put that same tree in a different location, bury it under different materials than its brother tree and give it lots of time and pressure, and you will have a tree that is filled in and made different than the original used to be, or than a brother tree buried in a different place will be.

We all undergo change. God puts us in all kinds of circumstances throughout our lives that no one else will identify with 100% of the time. As we break down, He fills us in, giving us what we need in the moment. And what we get filled with might be different than what another person gets filled with. Multiply that process 1000 times over and you get people who started out with all the same material but become completely different.

My life will look different from yours, because God is filling it in with what He knows I need. God is filling in the parts of you that are dying, or no longer supporting life with the pieces of Himself that He is giving through the other people or circumstances in your life. It adds a different coloring, a different sheen, a different look. Your life may end up looking brilliant, with glorious and varied colors. Or, it may look a bit dull to some, with consistent marks of a steady, perhaps even monotonous, life.

We cannot compare them as worse or better. If you are a Christian, your life brings glory to God, no matter what ups and downs you encounter. All the petrified wood was amazing because it is an incredibly fascinating function of nature, and all lives that chase after God are glorious because they reveal the wonder of the Master. Pink, blue, brown, white, or black, the petrified wood was a testimony of what nature does with dead things: it makes them into something else. Something amazing.

God does the same. He makes our lives amazing, not just because of what they consist of, but because He is using it to bring glory to Himself. If that glory is through hardship, death, or toil, it is still glorious (and often is even more so). If that glory is blessing, beauty, and miracles, it is still just as amazing. Why? Because God's glory is not about your individual story in the end. It's about revealing Himself. And what an amazing gift it is to be a part of that! The petrified wood got to be a part of nature's preserving process and it beautiful because of that process, instead of just dead and gone as it would have been without having first died and been buried. We too will become glorious forever despite the natural process of being dead and gone, all because of God's unfathomable goodness.

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