MUD AND SPIRIT
Your hands fashioned and made me; and now you do turn about and destroy me. Remember you have made me of clay; and will you turn me to dust again? Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese?
You did clothe me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews.
For you did form my inward parts, you did knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you for you are fearful and wonderful. Wonderful are your works!
You know me right well; my frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth. Your eyes beheld my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.
The Psalmist and Job attribute God having formed their bodies in the womb. God had a "hands on" approach in their growth and development.
Scientists already have, and are gaining a great understanding of the physiological processes of the human body; from the conception and implantation in the uterus through the growth and development to birth and so on. The way the DNA is a master macro chemical program encoded with information for thousands and thousands of biochemical functions and inherited traits. The DNA controls the cellular processes, how to grow or manufacture what, where and when. There are numerous feedback mechanisms and controls in this communication of chemical compounds and complex biochemical pathways for information to be read and implemented, to manufacture a particular enzyme for example. The DNA has the information how to be a blood cell, a bone cell, a nerve cell and any other type of cell as well as whether to be one of these cells. There is even a mechanism for proofreading in the assembling of more DNA.
Do the discoveries of science refute the claims of Job and David that it was God who formed them in the womb?
Is science lying and it is God all along forming people in the womb, the genetic biochemical processes are fictional?
Is it that God forms some people and other people are formed by biochemical means?
The answer to each of these questions surely is "No!"
God versus the natural order is not the case here, God created the natural order. The genetics, the myriad of functions and biochemical interactions and reactions are all the functions of the formed mud. There is a tendency to think of the formation of the clay at God's "hand" to be an external one only where the clay is formed into the physical shape of a man. "You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also?" Lk1 1:40, (although this verse is about the spiritual inner, not the internal organs, the understanding of the physiological processes may be great but it is not known how the spirit comes to the bones in the womb). The mud was formed in a deeper way than just the physical shape. The inner structures of the body, and of the organs, and of the cells were formed as well. The forming of the mud was an ordering and organization of the mud. There was also a programming of the mud done at this stage. The instincts, reflexes, capacity for feeling and intelligence were all instilled at the forming of the mud. The emotions and intellect are most developed in man than in the other animals but animals have, at least the higher animals, some degree of emotion and intellect. It is not the capacity for emotions and being intelligent that make people unique. Some apes have been trained to communicate using sign language and if a dog is teased enough it will get angry and bite, so we see intelligence and emotion in these animals.
Genesis chapters two, verse seven says-"then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."
It was not at the point of God breathing the breath of life into man intelligence, emotion, instincts and reflexes came to be in man. God also formed the beasts of the field and the birds of the air out of the ground Gen.2:l9, but did not breathe his breath into their nostrils, these living creatures have instincts and reflexes programmed into them and attributes of intelligence and emotion to a degree. In the second chapter of Genesis the beasts of the field and the birds of the air are referred to as living creatures whereas man is called a living being. What makes man unique is God's breath of life. Man has something of God in them. So it was at the formation of the clay stage that man came to have emotions and intelligence.
After God had formed man from the clay but before God breathed his breath into man's nostrils man was a living creature just as the animals are. Man was alive as animals are alive, but not with the life of God in him until God brought this being about in man. Even before God inspired, (God breathed), man, man is called man, the bible does not say, "God formed man's body from dust", but "God formed man of dust". Man is categorized among the other living creatures in the bible, the cherubim have a face of an eagle, a bull, a lion and a man, (it is sad that for some inane reason they have been depicted as babies with wings in the classical paintings). Zoology classifying man among the apes and monkeys is not contrary to the bible, in so far as zoology goes. Or do you need for God to show you that you are a beast- Ecclesiastes 3:18-21? "Man can not abide in his pomp, he is like the beasts that perish"- Psalm 49:12 and 20.
It is reckoned in the study of genetics that humans have about 99% of genetic material in common with chimpanzees and 20% with yeast cells, New Scientist, 15 May No.2 186, The Great Apes article, page 26. Obviously insofar as genetics form and physiology goes the chimpanzee is more akin to us than it is to a yeast germ. Monkeys even have social and cultural elements in their interactions among themselves. Theologically speaking though, human beings are further apart from the chimp than what the chimp is to the yeast. God breathed his breath into man not the chimp, humans are in the image and likeness of God not animals. So biologically, that being physiologically, genetically, instinctively and, perhaps intellectually and emotionally apart from the breathe of God, chimpanzees are more closely related to man than yeast cells or a mouse.
People were made for a relationship with God and have needs other than earthy ones, hence the saying "Man does not live by bread alone." "Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God," Deut. 8:3, Mt.4:3-5. Every person has this aspect of God in him or her. It is this dimension that bestows literacy, as it were, to perceive God, and to have a relationship with God. In the Genesis accounts God only ever directly addresses man not the animals. The invisible nature of God's deity and eternal power can be perceived in the things made, (see Rom. 1:20), through this aspect of the divine in a person. God's glory can be seen in a sunset although God is not the sunset. The breath of God in a person enables a person to be acted upon by the Spirit of God and brought to the conviction there is a God, appealing to the mind and heart but it is not the intellect or emotions. The breath of God impinges upon the faculties of emotion and intellect, in the author's opinion these faculties have wrongly been used as the starting point for the ontological arguments to the existence of God. The ontological arguments are a response to explain the conviction of God's existence brought about by the literacy of reading creation's authorship because of this breath of God, after starting with the Spirit they end up with the flesh. It is God's spirit that enlightens the mind and heart to the knowledge of God through appealing to this element of the divine; this is the argument for God's existence. God's breath reflects knowledge of the divine to the person's emotions and intellect.
Everyone has God's breath but not everyone is open to it. Sin closes the mind and heart to God. People also may naturally tend to operate from certain aspects of themselves and not others. Some tend to intellectualize, others are emotional, and some people tend to live in their senses more. The created attributes are not bad and people are created different with different strengths and weaknesses however to be given over to any faculty at the expense of that which is higher is wrong. It is a form of worshipping and serving the creature rather than the Creator.
Humans have complexity to their being with many aspects meshing into each other. God made people to have bodies that are integrally them. The body is not the soul or spirit but these reside by way of the body. If there were two lovers who were parted for a while and one of them wrote a letter to the other with the words "I love you", when the other lover reads the note the first lover's heart's intent is present to the second. The paper and ink are the materials used to embody the intended meaning to be communicated. The intended meaning is not physical like the letter is but is still real. So too the soul and spirit are not physically part of the body but are integrally the person and bound up with the body like the meaning of the letter and the letter. The organization and structure of the ink on the paper is integrally vital to the matter. There can be some errors present and still the desired result is accomplished, the message is still legible and hence the meaning. There may be a rip on the paper or spelling mistakes but if there were only an inkblot on the paper then the intended message would not come through (unless there was a prior understanding to the significance of an inkblot).
The mud people are made of is the material God used to make people. The structures and compounds and the wiring of the body is the mud arranged by God through the forming of the mud like unto a potter molding a vessel from clay. Or like the lover in the above example using the materials of paper and ink giving them a certain form and order so as to carry a certain message. When the love letter was written it was written by the lover's own hand using a pen upon a writing desk- both man made implements. God made the heavens and earth to meet God's own purposes just as the love letter was written using a writing desk and pen so too did the earth and heavens serve in the making of man. And man is composed of them.
Psaim139:15-16 attributes God knowing before hand the frame of the psalmist and could see the substance that the time and frame of the psalmist would be made of. Although the substance that was to be the psalmist was no different from any other substance in the sense of physics this substance was special to God because this was the substance that was to become the psalmist. This substance was formed into time and the elements, molecules of matter dancing through time, giving existence to the psalmist.
Psalm 105:7 says "He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth." God's intent and plan is intertwined in the earth and the properties of nature. The earth is God's writing desk, dust and water are the materials of writing like ink and paper and the natural processes are the pen used to write with. God is immanent in all these things and they are to his purpose. If the pen, or at least some part of the pen, that God uses to write with is an evolutionary process does that refute God's authorship? -No! It is more natural than nature that nature unfolds to its Creators will.