Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Random Chance or Work of Art

One of this day's blessings was a phone call from a friend, Ben Siburt. Ben and his wife are preparing for the arrival of their first child and he chronicles the sojourn on his website His reflections reminded me of an article that I wrote after the birth of my second son. So, in honor of Ben, his wife, and child I want to spin this old classic from the fall of 1998 . . .!

I have often thought it would be a real kick to approach the parents of a newborn, look at their baby and say, “Wow, that’s the cutest random assemblage of molecules I've ever seen. A baby like that can only come from the hard work of protein slime, amoebae, walking fish, and primates over millions of years. You must be proud.” At that point the parents would likely call the police.

Of course, I am being ridiculous. No, I have never thought about doing that. But do you see the point I am trying to make? Perhaps I am biased or I have developed the eyes of faith, but seeing a newborn hardly elicits thoughts of random generation. Rather, I am drawn to thoughts of the creative genius of God. Every new life and every birth calls us to consider the miracle of human existence. The very fact that we are here is some proof of the existence of God.

Are we here by random chance? Human life doesn't seem all that random to me. A friend reminded me recently of the Christ of the Ozarks statue in Eureka Springs and the silliest question ever asked about the statue: “Is that a natural formation?” If it seems so ridiculous to ask that about an obvious work of art, then why would we assume that the masterpiece in God’s gallery is just a “natural formation?”

If life is random chance then I have won the lottery twice with the birth of both my sons. But I don’t have that sort of luck. Maybe that’s because I don’t believe in luck. I do however believe in fine art.

For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.Romans 1:20

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.Psalm 138:13-14


Anonymous said...

Is birth really a "miracle"? While it is a nice, sentimental view to hold, how could the common, predictable result of sex be "an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs"? In the birth process, as in the theory of evolution, "random generation" doesn't play a role; natural selection does. (For example, which sperm gets to the egg first?) There is nothing random about birth (or natural selection). Is it at all possible for God's "creative genius" to be manifest in many ways, such as natural selection, that aren't strictly supernatural miracles?

Chris Benjamin said...


Good question you raise. I do in fact believe that God's creative genius is manifest in many of the seemingly natural ways that we often take for granted.

Using the analogy of art once again, I may be able to explain in intricate detail how Georges Seurat used tiny points of color to create his portraits, but that in no reduces my admiration of his work or an appreciation of his genius. Quite the opposite, it may enhance my appreciation.

Regarding creation, discussion of the subatomic structures of matter or DNA as the building block of life does not mean that one has to dismiss God. In fact it might enhance appreciation and understanding of the creator.

On nitpicky point if you will allow, my use of the term miracle is certainly less technical than your definition; even a bit cliched perhaps. The overall point of the article is not the miracle of "birth," but the miracle (i.e. wonder and awe) of human existence.

Thanks for your comment.