April 12, 2022
“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…” (Psalm 139:13-14, NIV).
Last Thursday I was rounding with my fellows outside the room of a patient with advanced lung cancer. We began a discussion of checkpoint inhibitors. “We were created with an amazing immune balance,” I said. “Just enough activity to fight off foreign threats to our bodies, with just enough inhibition to prevent our immune system from attacking ourselves. Our bodies are designed to stop an over-active immune process at ‘checkpoints.’ We now have drugs that can inhibit those checkpoints and turn up our immune systems against our cancers.”
Friday night I was given tickets to hear Ellie Holcomb in concert. I don’t know her music well, but several of her songs struck me as deeply meaningful. One of them was “Wonderfully Made,” based on Psalms 139. The chorus of her song goes like this:
“You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
And you say I have never been hidden from you
And you say that I’m wonderfully, wonderfully made.”
As an oncologist, deeply focused on molecular biology, I am convinced it is unreasonable to think our complex bodies are developed by “accidental collocations of atoms.”1 The intricate balance within the systems of our bodies at the molecular level makes such a proposition mathematically impossible.2 We are “fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Therefore, the question for me regarding our fantastic design is not, “Are we created by God?” Instead, the questions that matter are: “Why are we wonderfully made?” and “What do we do with this knowledge of our fantastic design?”
The answers to these questions for me are: “We are made because we are loved.” and “We are made to love the God who created us and to love the people He created in very active ways.” By living out this purpose, we glorify God, we care for the people He loves and we bring others to love Him as well.
Accidental molecular interactions and the people that such “collocations” might create (even if mathematically possible) could have been formed for no true purpose. Thank God we are created instead with a purpose worthy of our incredible design.
I stand amazed at your creation and your love.
1Bertrand Russell, A Free Man’s Worship
2Granville Sewell, A Mathematician’s View of Evolution