The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Understanding God: His Obsession with Complexity & Variation

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God fills our lives with experiences that help us understand Him. Among humans, we notice a pattern that the more intelligent someone is, the more they are drawn to complexity.  We reserve the label of “genius” for people who show remarkable cognitive abilities.  Often geniuses stand out a young age by their ability and desire to perform highly complex tasks.  Take the young math genius who prefers to work out calculus problems instead of playing simple video games.  Or take the young computer genius who is found writing complex programs just because he can.  The greater someone’s cognitive abilities are, the more complex tasks and problems need to be in order to hold their interest.  We observe this pattern in ourselves, and then we come to God: a Being who has infinite cognitive abilities. 

When we look at the things God creates, we find a consistent pattern of extreme complexity.  Extreme variation is a basic way of increasing complexity. God’s creative style has an almost restless feel to it—He is so relentless in His pursuit of variation that we can’t help but conclude that complexity is an absolute must for Him. Even things that appear simple on the surface reveal endless layers of complexity once we put them under a microscope. Take the simple snowflake. It just looks to you like a fuzzy piece of ice, yet under the microscope, a wide variety of unique designs are revealed.

snowflake

How your eyes perceive God’s creation is drastically limited by many factors. One of those factors is focus. Snowflakes don’t look amazing to you because your eyes don’t have the ability to magnify images to the degree that a microscope can. When you look at sand, it looks pretty monotone and dull. But if God had given you microscopes for eyes, you would suddenly realize that there is a whole world of variation and color that you are missing out on.

sand

When God was in the mood to wow us even more with His creative abilities, He taught us how to build electron scanning microscopes—devices which are able to magnify things up to a million times. When we look through these puppies, the world around us becomes not only unrecognizable, but downright freaky.

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Look at enough electron microscope pictures, and you’ll have trouble sleeping tonight—especially on that pillow that is more alive than you know. God is not only keeping you blind and out of touch with most of the world around you, He’s also made you unable to handle the full knowledge of it. When it comes to pics of what He has crawling around on our skin and swimming in our bloodstreams, we’re much better off not knowing. But He knows, and He sees His creation from an entirely different viewpoint than we do.

When we think of God’s love of variety, we think of all the shapes and sizes He’s created. But then there is the world of color. God has equipped you with an eye that can only see a tiny portion of all the colors He has invented. Your limited color vision limits your experience of God’s world and blinds you to much of the variety that He has on display all around you. If you could see ultraviolet light, for example, you’d discover that God has dressed His flowers in multiple colored costumes.

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Bees can see ultraviolet light. This means that bees see flowers quite differently than you do. Here’s another fascinating insight about God: He first creates a world filled with incredible complexity and variation, and then He makes creatures who will each perceive His world very differently. The world looks very different to you than it does to an ant, for example. Your personal size drastically affects how you perceive the things around you. Your limited ability to perceive various colors and sizes also affects how you see the world. But then there’s another variable that we rarely consider: time. What would the world look like to you if we slowed things down?

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You are stuck in time. God is not. As we can see from these slow motion pictures, the fact that we are racing through life means we’re missing out on incredible displays of yet more complexity and variation which God is putting on all around us.

Everywhere we look, there is endless variety and complexity in the things that God has created, yet He is the only One who is able to enjoy every possible perspective simultaneously. As He gives us glimpses into whole worlds that are hidden within the world we live in, we realize that we are oblivious to most of what God is doing. We are totally out of touch with how He perceives reality. Our most complicated problems don’t begin to compare to the complexities He has built into a single leaf. Clearly this is a Creator who craves complexity.

Variation isn’t an option to God, it’s a must. When we look around at what He made, we are seeing what He preferred to make out of infinite options. He didn’t assemble this universe from someone else’s preexisting materials, He built it all from scratch. It’s His original design, and it is just the way He wanted it to be. As our loving Creator, He is carefully sheltering us from being overwhelmed by more complexity than we can bear. We don’t have God’s intellect—we can’t begin to handle knowing all that He knows. Yet while we live in a world of very simplified perceptions, God is basking in endless complexity.

When you take a step, you don’t think twice about it. Yet every time you step, God is making sure that 200 different muscles in your body are working together with perfect coordination to make that one simple motion happen. Really?? What kind of Being finds it fun to make creatures who can’t take one step without having to use 200 different body parts? Isn’t that going just a bit overboard? Not to God it isn’t. It requires 17 muscles for you to smile and 43 for you to frown. When you’re born, you have 300 bones. But then God starts fusing little bones together until He gets the number down to 206. Apparently, this is His idea of fun. And by the way, 52 of those 206 bones are in your feet.

Can God make anything simple? He could, but He just doesn’t want to. This is His universe, and He is obsessed with complexity. He likes to keep things in a constant state of flux, which is why He put cartilage between your bones which compresses as you go throughout your daily activities, causing you to end your day 1 centimeter shorter than you started it. But don’t worry, during the night, He stretches you out again. Obviously God prefers to take care of creatures who require constant maintenance and supervision.

Your body is just a body to you, but to God you’re a little universe within a bigger universe. Astronomers estimate there are about 300 billion stars in our universe today—you’ve got 7 octillion atoms in your body (that’s a 7 with 27 zeroes after it). God has packed you with 600,000 miles worth of blood vessels—enough to circumnavigate Earth two and a half times. Every time you gain a pound of muscle or fat, He causes your body to produce seven more miles of blood vessels—as if you didn’t already have enough. Your body makes 25 million new cells each second. You literally glow in the dark—you just can’t see it because the light you emit is 1,000 times weaker than the light your eyes can detect. You completely replace your outer skin every month. Every day your blood travels 12,000 miles around your body—the equivalent of crossing the United States coast to coast four times. You’ve got 300,000,000 capillaries in your lungs—about 1,300 miles if you stretched them all flat. If we turned your brain into a computer, it would be able to perform 38 thousand-trillion operations each second. The best supercomputer in the world can only perform about .002% of that. Are you getting the picture? You’re such a complex little thing—and all of these stats are just describing your physical earthsuit.

Your earthsuit is just a temporary vehicle that God has provided for your soul to get around in while He has you in this physical dimension. As far as the composition of your soul goes, we don’t have the first clue. The human soul can’t be seen, touched, or magnified, and yet we know it’s there because you are your soul, not your body. Is your soul complex? Well, if your earthsuit is any indicator, your soul is fantastically complex. There’s just no getting our minds around all of these incredible things that God has made. All around us, we see Him constantly creating new things, and changing things that are already in existence. Everything has to be ultra-complicated and in a constant state of flux. God is obsessed with complexity, and variation enhances complexity, therefore He loves variety. So when we humans pick on each other over things like skin color and body shape—when we insist that things be unisex and act like differences are bad—well, we’re just showing how out of touch we are with the One who made us. God says differences are fabulous. He says variety is a must. So the next time you look in the mirror and think that your nose is too big or your gut is too large or your hair is too kinky, ask God to help you see yourself through His variety loving eyes. God made you the color, shape, and size you are on purpose. He personally selected every feature you have. He doesn’t think moles, birthmarks, and scars are ugly things. Differences are fabulous. Variation is a must. Those little details about yourself that you don’t like are setting you apart like a rare flower in the woods. God doesn’t make ugly, flawed, and deformed. He only makes fascinating variations. The closer we get to Him, the more He helps us see things from the viewpoint of a Creator who finds beauty in everything He makes.

FURTHER READING:
The Timelessness of God

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