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A quite fascinating article by
an eminent medical specialist in Creation, Technical Journal, pp.
37-44, Vol. 13, No 1, 1999, shows
a matter for meditation, both physically and in the area of
those eyes which see far more than those of the brilliant ocular orbs
which make us so aware of so much ... and yet!
(See also A Spiritual Potpourri 7, on eyes.)
1. THE ARTICLE AND RELATED INFORMATION
Dr Peter Gurney presents the point that the inversion of the image which is presented to the human brain, by the optical equipment in our eyes and optical nerve, is not at all a case of bad design. Quite the contrary, it is an example of highly sophisticated technical finesse on the part of the Creator.
To some this may be news; for all, the news behind the news needs pondering.
At length Dr Gurney deals in detail with such matters as the environment necessary for the receptor cells (rods and cones) which receive the impact of light and transmit the signals to be interpreted in the amazing equipment which gives to us both colour, mobility and enormous sensitivity to our field. In terms of design, it is desirable to protect these cells from the impact of illumination from rays including the ultra-violet. Readily they could be damaged and rendered a pass passé, a finesse finished for the eye which did NOT have protection!
In our variability of need and exposure to many things in the course of our many endeavours, the human race needs and GETS a special CHOROID area behind the retina which enables a huge flow of blood, many times in excess of that normal (called in this article, its "torrential blood flow"). It would appear that not least among its services rendered in this way is the simple but vital act of COOLING the area, whilst of course its provisions of supplies and removal of waste are as usual significant feature. This heavily supplied area in turn supplies the cells which make up the backing to the receptor cells, the so-called "retinal pigment epithelium" (RPE). This is sustained from the choroid, and itself in turn sustains the receptor cells, with highly complex provisions of materials for regeneration, recovery and sustained function.
Thus there is an option: put the RPE with its choroid layer attached, IN FRONT of the light receptor cells, or behind. If you put it in front, you do not get light, and so do not see. If you put it behind, you get what we have, which has this advantage in design, that you see.
This design arrangement, falsely criticised and absurdly attacked in view of its superb performance alone, is then a measure to protect and enable, to facilitate and increase durability. The CHOROID however being a brilliant and "torrentially" equipped place of action, is not to be forgotten as in fairy tales, like organic evolution. On the contrary, intelligence is needed, design, that combination of command, executive ability and structure, and executive bodies to perform the commands in the structure. The complex of regenerative, functional-aids currently behind the photo-receptor cells could indeed be placed in front of cell structure. As we see, it would prevent vision. And is this not a parable: the criticism if implemented in terms of its "insight", would prevent vision. How visionary can you get, through lack of vision of reality! Such a result would hardly be serviceable, or an example of good design.
Thus the choroid area is placed BEHIND the cells, a supply for the RPE which is a supply for the light-sensitive cells. Necessarily, it is out of the way of light (which can thus pass) yet in rather close contact with the receptor areas, their own structure being therefore IN FRONT of the sensitive area, and in fact, and therefore between the light source and the cell receptor. Little loss is found in this, but much gain, and necessary advantage is thus conferred. It works and keeps on working under very demanding circumstances. Other advantages in terms of absorbing potentially damaging elements of the incoming rays, and providing other inhibitors (such as pigment which directly meets the incoming light, before it strikes the prepared surface) make the design yet more brilliant!
Again, with the cell-light-sensitive surface turned AWAY from the light, reducing dangers, there is an inverted image. Next wonder phase: the human BRAIN is so equipped with advanced programming that it is ABLE to RESTORE to normal the inverted image. This is precisely that integral combination of concerted elements which constitute design by definition; and its capacity to absorb all queries is merely the counterpart of the facility of the Designer. Everywhere there is one attestation: PURPOSE, with program, susceptibility, provision, interaction, combination, communication.
As to that last element, one might add that the millions of insulated nerve fibres which are found in the optic nerve continue the progress of this ultra-magnificent marvel, the eye apparatus and its communications equipment. The miniaturisation and optimisation are alike the twin features of capacities this constructed race does not share: we cannot do these things. Yet our OWN capacities, though far smaller then these, are yet able to APPRECIATE these, and THAT, it is a wonder of intelligence, imagination and correlation with the activities of the Creator. That ability to UNDERSTAND (and of course, if oblivious, misunderstand!), it is not a mere program (however incandescently brilliant such may be, and in the body often are). Rather is it an ABILITY which works , if exercised wisely in that glorious FREEDOM which is uniquely provided for our race. (WE ? we CANNOT invent freedoms! try! we can merely assist them not to be baulked.)
Thus we turn to Psalm 75 for instruction
on the background in the arena of the Creator and His thoughts.
In VERSE 1, we hear this:
In this verse (Psalm 75:3), He also declares that "WHEN I CHOOSE THE PROPER TIME, I WILL JUDGE UPRIGHTLY".
As in Psalm 72, 100, there is a
time when the Messiah assumes His rightful place on a chastened earth:
people shall be willing in the day of Your power"
- Palm 110:3. Similarly, it is when the "SET
TIME IS COME," that the Lord will act (Psalm
102:13-16) when He will "redeem their life
from oppression and violence" (Psalm 72:14),
in the company of the earth, when the nations have had their opportunities
It must be realised that there is a terrible toll of folly in the world, and that it has had imposing preludes of folly (cf. Genesis 6:1-6). There is a retardation of final judgment (II Peter 3:9). There is however no lack of divine reminders in terms both of mercy (as in Romans 2:1ff.) and judgment in the interim. Read Amos 4 and you will begin to understand the divine perspective, if not before. Then read Revelation 9:20, and you will find yet more: the AFFLICTIONS are frequently designed to promote repentance in hearts dull as the depths, hard as diamond, but far less lustrous! They are to shock into reality, and warn of it also.
Indeed, rebukes may explain by their complexity, the turmoil and complexity of the offence, though grace outpoured may hinder the full impact of folly. Again, divine restraint may suddenly be withdrawn when offences mount to the skies, or folly returns to a former situation of deliverance (cf. II Chronicles 36): God can do as He pleases, does justly, and could well turn all the world to hell - for who is up to His standards! and who has not sinned ? (Romans 6:23).
In fact, He has done the OPPOSITE. He has turned HIS INTENSELY BELOVED SON to the EXPERIENCE of what is tantamount to hell, on the cross, with the AGONY of the suffering of His SOUL in isolation because of the sin VICARIOUSLY borne for others. And so has He humbled Himself to APPEAL to the children of men to COME to this FREE salvation (cf. Isaiah 55, Matthew 11:27ff.). He knows His own, and misses none; and if you love Him take Him, and if not, where is there ground for grumble!
There is pervasive design. Yet the PURPOSE of the design, something concerning which many often seem to be quite oblivious, may be multiple.
It is NOT a matter a prime or activating purpose of survival, that graceless slob-fest of rats! It is good to continue, but not in an irrational thrust of power to hand. It is a matter of being what you are made to be (Biblical Blessings Ch. 7, Beyond the Curse) - godly, in the presence of God in a world with enormous liberty, both to do and to suffer rebuke, to experience mercy and to learn to love; or to forget it. As noted in That Magnificent Rock Ch.6, the issue is not survival but ENDURANCE OF THE BEST. Already 'the best' tends to do this in our thoughts, however misguided the concept of goodness may be in some; and in the end, the One who made the mind which makes computers, is well able to reward what is true and noble, and to condemn what is fraudulent, whether in religion in in other ways (cf. Matthew 25:31ff.).
The naying of neighs, the instinctive desire to subtract God which sin instils, this is so much noise. The eyes have it - design on any definition (see SMR 252A-Lff.; 739, 424-427, 451ff. *1, *2, 422K-L, 412-413, 112-113, 400-402, 208 *2; 422Eff.; That Magnificent Rock, Ch.7, pp. 149ff., Predestination and Freewill, Appendix, and *1 below); the neighs have lost it. Their insistences are mere persistence, their arguments are invalid (see SMR Chs.3,10), their claims to truth are manifestly absurd (see That Magnificent Rock, Ch.5, Barbs, Arrows and Balms Item 7, SMR pp. 579ff., 934ff., 100-101), and their end is such that one writes, in the hope that some may be won before their lost way, issues in its due end (cf. II Corinthians 5:14-21).
Design is not then, merely in the marvels of our bodies and world; it is in the curse, its content and its modes; and it is in the historical implementation of many lessons (cf.*2), including the almost inextricable complexities of false creeds governing false actions in a false world-view leading to confusion, delusion and moral bankruptcy.
Such is the case, increasingly with this world, as it approaches the gulf where goodness knows it no more, and mercy is, summarily rejected on earth, eternally lost in that hell where insistence on the absence of God, becomes fulfilled with an ignominy of horror, justly called by Daniel, "everlasting contempt". It is also in the Gospel, in the grace of God, in His mode of pardon and in His magnificent outreach to man, by many means, in the gospel that does not die, will not alter and throws out over mankind its gossamer beauty that does not bind, but invites.
Does he do well to ARREST what he did not create, molest what he did not make, infest what was clean with his immoral self-centredness, irrationally imagining he is the centre, and other events the result for his will and pleasure ? Does he do well who is proud and arrogant, using force as his wisdom and blind desire as his guide: he who was born without his permission and is to go without his advice! No, in the end, God makes the plans for history, and controls its outcomes, exhibiting its vices, investing with His mercies, attesting His plans.
THAT is what Nebuchadnezzar found from the solidly saintly prophet Daniel (Daniel 4:17). Indeed, at God's own searching will, He "rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men." That is what Nebuchadnezzar experienced and it is likewise the lesson for the whole world. In the scope and amplitude of God's wonder in conducting a history which is both free and governed, so that what is chosen is given an admixture in the grand plans which neither abort freedom nor let it be god: what happens! There is attestation of the empty follies of the endless seeming but actually not so unlimited, plans of the godless, in their politics, philosophy and military powers. It is exposed.
It is revealed in the laboratories of history.
It is indeed, littered on the littoral
of human invention, the shores of events, where men leave the wreckage
of their idle thoughts, their idol moments (cf. Joyful Jottings 24,
Arrows and Balms 30,
Cor. 1:20-25, II Cor. 10:5, Isaiah 46:10, 43:8-14, 41:21-24, 44:24-28,
Galatians 4:7, Colossians 2:8, Romans 1:28,16-22; II Cor. 10:12; Jeremiah
10:11-15, Ezekiel 28:17, Jeremiah 44:16,28, Deuteronomy 32:16-21).
There will be no answer for its desolation, nor any to heed the cries for that devastation; for that, it meets merely its due.
On the other hand, the answer it would not have or hallow, to which it was as if deaf, the answer of reality is constantly being marked, marked in the annals of time, the torrent of history, the brilliant failures and the awesome triumphs: of man in his own ways, in the first case, of God in His ways which do not change - in the second (Habakkuk 3:6).
Thus , "All the horns of the wicked
I will also cut off,
But the horns of the righteous shall be exalted" (Psalm 75:10).
We wait for it: when the righteous shine forth as the sun in the time of total deliverance to come (Matthew 13:43), the designed time for that glorious phase. We work as we move towards it, while souls are being saved from the irrational ravages of failed philosophies and odious actions: souls saved for, by and in Christ (cf. Colossians 1:27-28).. Truly "the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea" (Habakkuk 2:14); but even now, there is a wonder of design in the world, in the book, in inter-personal dealings; and even now, the Messiah has shown the way home. Sad indeed those who neglect His door, and the glory within (John 10:9, Psalm 45, 145).
Indeed, even now, to how many is the Lord saying this, declared earlier to Israel as a nation:
"Oh that you had heeded My commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
And your righteousness like the waves of the sea" - Isaiah 48:18.
How patient He is, and how ready! (I Timothy 2:1-3). How apt and how wise! How ready to forgive (cf. Luke 13:1-3, Isaiah 55:6).
Small wonder then that the Psalmist adds this:
"But I will declare forever,
I will sing praises to the God of Jacob!" (Psalm 75:9). How otherwise!
Let light fail and the world be still, its judgment come, its sentence be effected, as it will: yet His glory is not only in this, that He has designed the brilliances of this world's construction; indeed, it is not chiefly in this. It is rather that He who did such things, did far more; He brought light for His people and invited all people.
He designed far more and incomparably more personally. It is through this design, expressed in the everlasting Gospel (Galatians 1-3, Rev. 14:5), that He is rescuing from wrath and vanity the ones who come to Him freely. He has pre-paid their redemption and pre-arranged their course (Ephesians 1:4), so that now in abundant life, as also then in His presence, the purpose of life is fulfilled. And that ? It is nothing less than this, that we who receive His wonderful PERSONAL DESIGN in the salvation of Christ, should become the very CHILDREN OF GOD, adopted by grace (Ephesians 1:5).
For me, there is a splendour incomparable in this same Lord, this same Jesus whom men crucified, who is resurrected, who will return, who grants peace inconceivable, joy unspeakable, who governs, who knows, who has compassion and plan, but never bureaucratic plan, always personal. This splendour is one which some may not desire. Do not then be disappointed if - neglecting God, you lack Him.
too, it is design. Do you really desire to follow it, that one ?
An Excerpt for Wider Coverage
While we are at this maritime
area, let us look at an adjoining inlet, from
The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, Vol. 2, Ch. 7, Part 11.
Put with the above, it tends to make one continuous seascape,
an eloquent littoral,
in that not only are now seen the wrecks of time, but the things of children.
As a matter of fact, more than mere childishness, the spiritual obesity, the heavy-mindedness of so much of the human race never ceases to amaze me. I do not refer to technical slowness, but to spiritual sloth. True it is foretold, the Bible analyses it; but the extent of it is a marvel! What a confirmation of the scripture that man without Christ is dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:8, 4:19, Romans 1).
Of course the whole world, with its hundreds of millions of Moslems, Romanists and sects relating in various ways as heresies of Christianity (the Jews, according to the apostles, being also added in general terms through their rejection of their Messiah), makes an enormous percentage testimony to one God, but which ?
Except for the Jews (*1), those above do attest Jesus Christ in one way or another; indeed cannot escape Him (while the Jews for their part cannot escape the predicted consequences). As Paul says, some preach Christ out of contention: that is, their relationship is not spiritual, pure; but they still relate to and forward the name, even if by devious means.
But why did we earlier refer to 'obesity' ? Why is this term used ?
Consider one fact. Here is a human being, an infant, unfolding, yes more than that, developing machinery (but self-repairing to an extraordinary measure, as well), growing equipment before our very eyes, integrated circuits, synthesised operations; and on top of the physical marvels of minute members performing microscopic or sub-microscopic programs at supra-human levels of miniaturisation, there is the fascinating fact of learning. Impressive as are the computers, with their parameters, their 'tasks', their 'methods' of 'learning', this is dead, sterile, merely a matter of performing labour to detail and deliver someone's brain child, some conception already held in principle and programmed into fulfilment.
With human beings, learning is more, far more than this. It involves the development in mind, as automatically in body, of what was not there. Thoughts arise which are novel, parameters not implicit in earlier ones: Creation in the thought world, in fact occurs. Think of making what can create! genuinely and utterly, create! It does not create that with which it is to create, it is true; but with what it is given, it does create.
More than that! It can resist, oppose, and do so irrationally or with ostensible logic, carefully shrouded in distancing mechanisms, directed to keeping the... Maker at bay! Think of creating what did that, and did it in ways not programmed! Creative obstruction, what a testimony, what a witness to the Maker's skill with freedom, is that.
But the mechanisms, the programs, the developments decay. Behold, what had been wrapped and unwrapped, potential and then actualised if you will, now here and now there: it warps, it wanders, it runs down - but not before it has created folly and ruin, brilliance and wonder, rationalisations and woes, banes and blessings or whatever may be its line. It changes the surface of the earth, investigates and distorts or develops and exhibits; but it runs down. This it does, unless God picks it up, restoring, renewing or redeeming, as it is written, and as it is found by Christians, operationally:
But they who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wing like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint (Isaiah 40:31 - cf. Isaiah 51:6!).Just as the unwrapping revealed incredible splendour, as the babe matured, the child grew, so the wearing out exposes incredible vulnerability, sensitivity, emphasising the marvel of the balanced, self-protective procedures inbuilt, and reminding the growing adult that he or she is not a 'god' but a product; yet what a product... one that can think and oppose, even wilfully! One wonders in retrospect how it all was accomplished, whatever for good or evil the little midget human being did, after infancy, and before wearing out! That little weakling, eminently vulnerable, did this!
Have you never considered just what it does, from mushroom clouds to penetration of space... ? but then: it withers, and it is gone from the surface of the earth which it attacked, for wonders or woes, with such vigour. If you have not, it is high time to ponder.
particle, this potential,
this human property, this self-activated potentate,
this semi-automated marvel,
so precious that people may want to adopt one, bring it up, feed it and educate it, learn from it, listen to it, consult it... ?
This devastator, this procrastinator,
this aspirant to divine glories
in many cases: it dies.
It stops breathing.
You look for its place and it is not.
You consider its future, and it has departed from your sight.
You reflect on its past and look how it mounts; but now that is past.
Where did it come from, whose was it, from what did it come, whose construction was this invisibly manufactured being, this imaginative creation, this creative product, this mentality, this will, this purposeful performer!... it appeared without the noise of its construction, and wore out as it used itself, or was used, whatever was the case.
One can never cease marvelling at the blindness of man, the simple fat-heartedness, that so many do not face this simple fact, nor seek to know the One who made this manufactured being, this highest of all designs amid creations visible; nor find it a desirable, an intensely desirable thing, a consuming passion indeed, to know that Being, and to be acquainted closely with that person.
They may line up at the dead body of... Lenin, a gross murderer, or seek an audience with this or that man of fame and name; but as to the Maker of themselves, the One who thought them up, contrived them: man in millions seems urbanely indifferent, confused or simply rebellious. Why know Him ? But He is there. Why approach ? but the blind are leading more and more of them to rejoice, before they die, in their blindness; and to be 'liberated'... that is, to use the wonder of created will with which to rebel against this Maker, ignore Him, and act as if totally... mad, recklessly irresponsible.
The other striking marvel here in view, is simply this: that men despite all this, often loudly marvel that things 'don't go right' and complain, or use this to rationalise disbelief, or reject the Maker. Yet anyone should be able to see that this is just what to expect: to reject the Maker of this magnificent midget, this often prayerless and careless particle, this not quite automatic and frequently lustfully autonomous agent of antics: to do that... it must require ruin, just because He is the Maker, and He does not abdicate every time a wonderful prodigy of His creation goes beserk through will and desire.
He provides for the particle, makes concession to the person, makes communication to the communicator, man, whom He created, sends Jesus Christ for the redemption of this spoiled serviceable unit, and condemns what will not come to this same Lord Jesus Christ. (Amos 4:13, Isaiah 48:16, Zechariah 2:8, 12:1, John 5:39-40.)
Indeed, are there not superabundant grounds for this. Firstly, that condemnation was what it deserved anyway, being fallen short of the standards on which alone heaven is haven - the standards of God; and because, secondly, to refuse remedy is to be unremedied, and to be unremedied- it is ruin. To reject remedy is to requisition ruin. (Cf. John 3:18-19 - notice the crux of the condemnation, its elemental principle.)
Further, there is another marvel which remains. It is this: that these persons, these pondering particles, these magnificent midgets, when they come to Christ and accept His cancellation of their conduct by the Cross on which He suffered, bearing the sins of all His own, securing the ultimate justice and providing grounds for restoration, making available to all, this remedy which is applied and active only for those who do so come: what ? then they have joy.
There is no more this other kind of marvel: the sadly unsuitable, the grossly unspiritual, the madly immoral, the intemperately trifling, the tediously self-preoccupied, the deliriously confused little midget, sad in the midst of the wonder of its creation. Instead, there is cohesion instead of confusion, confession for repression, and a beautiful code of conduct for a morass of immorality: there is relief instead of ruin, and acceptance instead of divorce ... acceptance by its maker. Not only does Romans 3:21-26, 4:25-5:1, 10:9 and John 10:9, 5:24 say so; but people find it so, as it is written.
And that involves perhaps the greatest marvel of all, of which we are reminded in Romans 10:9 and John 3:16: that God, beyond any most understandable interest in His prodigy, His fascinating but often repulsive freedom-man: God actually loved enough to take action, investing in the format of the product personally, dying for the misdeeds of those to be covered - and all are invited - and being resurrected from the dead. Not leaving the deceased body around to rot, but before the eyes of hundreds, showing Himself, He demonstrated the truth that He Himself is the Lord of Life (Acts 3:14-15, 2:23-24). Able and willing to defeat the woes, wanderings and wickedness of His creation, He does not impose the remedy by force, but provides it by favour.
Nor did the Lord stop at demonstration. Just as His Cross provided redemption through His offering of Himself as the ransom for believing sinners, so His resurrection is the foretaste of the same work to come, and for His people, it will be in keeping with His own:
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself (Philippians 3:20-21).The remaining marvel ? it is that so many, in the very presence of such love and sanity, prefer to ignore God as if He lacked the wit to speak to His wayward product, and so, implicitly dub Him an imbecile of inattention, indifference or inarticulation.
Yet many imagine that any God would
find this satisfactory. A marvellous being, man, but marvellously prone
to be... obese, spiritually obese; and such fatness kills.
END-NOTES for NEWS 71
*1 See summary note on Causes.
Pain, Suffering and Evil
These are by no means contrary to design, but a major feature in it,
This topic is in this excursion given a broad overview, with some detail, and may therefore profitably be pursued in the context of our current interest in purpose and design, through the presentation hyperlinked above as Pain, Suffering, Evil.
It is in some respects a development of that originally
presented in Scoop of the Universe 55, added here for convenience.