Friday, May 13, 2011

Amazement in a Tiny Package

Sometimes it is easy to forget just how amazing God’s creation is. I planted some seeds the other day. I looked online to see how long it would take for them to come up. What I saw indicated that it could take from two to four weeks—a whole month. Why does it have to take so long? I wondered. But when you think about it, seeds are an amazing thing.

A seed can lie dormant for weeks, months, or even years. It doesn’t do much, it just sits there. We pack them in little envelopes and ship them around the country. They sit on store shelves, waiting for someone to pay a couple bucks for the package. And then we put them in the ground. We may add water or wait for God to, but that’s about all we do. Then from that tiny little speck comes a green shoot. Some will grow several inches in a day. Roots form. Leaves unfold. The plant continues to grow and branches form. Before long, the plant has flowers, beautiful in their detail, that form. Then as the flower withers, fruit begins to form and inside are seeds that are ready to begin the whole process again.

We humans struggle to produce things. We design them to be exactly alike so that they are easy to make. But plants begin with a single seed. Cells divide so that they can grow, but the cells aren’t exactly alike. They don’t communicate, and yet the organism functions as if they do. I cut all the limbs off of a tree a few weeks ago. The leaves were gone. The buds were gone. All that was left was the trunk. It looked dead, but then a single shoot came from that trunk and then another. Somehow, several cells in that tree knew that when they reproduced they need to grow leaves instead of growing bark like they would’ve done, had I not removed the limbs. Now the tree has many leaves on it. That is amazing!

A plant doesn’t just grow one long shoot, it grows until it needs more energy. Then it stops and grows a leaf to absorb more light. But the leaves aren’t oddly shaped and random, they all have a similar shape. They’re all different, but the same. It is obvious that plants are designed, but they each is different. That isn’t an easy thing to accomplish. For engineers to accomplish something similar, it would take billions of dollars and the machines required would take up a large amount of space. But when we look at a simple little seed, it contains all the information it needs to produce a plant millions of times its size. It is small enough that we can store millions of them. And it is inexpensive enough that we eat them, feed them to the birds, or throw them away. God is amazing.