There’s something else we learn by observing creation carefully. Despite its brokenness, it seems to fit our needs just perfectly.
Our planet is in the solar system’s “Goldilocks zone”: like the fabled baby bear’s porridge, it’s “not too hot, not too cold—just right!” Further, the temperature is finely tuned by the planet’s slant on its axis, which gives most of the inhabited areas seasons—whether 4 or 2—and furthers the thriving of plant and animal life. And unlike its sister planet Mars, ours has an atmosphere, an ocean of air, with just the right amount of oxygen to support human and animal life, and just the right amount of nitrogen to keep the oxygen from causing us to burst into flame at inopportune moments. (And from what I’m told, all moments are inopportune for that.)
The balance of the biosphere is a remarkable thing; as we breath oxygen, we exhale carbon dioxide, which the plants use to produce more oxygen. Helpful little critters, no?
And it turns out that the sun that warms us and lights our days is also something of an enemy; it sends out radiation at levels that are harmful to us from even more than 90 million miles away. But invisibly surrounding our planet are streams of charged particles, driven from the sun but held in place around us by the planet’s magnetic field, that serve as a shield to divert the lethal levels of that radiation away from us.
Let’s see; what else?
Well, areas of the planet feel really crowded, and sometimes folks in those areas wish there were more land. I grew up in the West, “big sky country,” where we didn’t feel that pressure so much—and preferred it that way. I note that the planet’s average density of humans per square mile is just over 39—though of course, much of the planet’s land surface is uninhabitable (think Antarctica) or nearly so (think Sahara). But the Creator was being kind to limit the extent of the land mass, because the rest of the surface—ocean—is a gigantic water purification system that collects, distills, and then delivers drinkable water right to our feet.
Now, our environment’s not perfect. I mentioned a few words back that the system is broken. Lions choke wildebeests to death—I’ve seen it happen, up close and personal—without mercy and without apparent regret. Some people are inclined to focus on the brokenness; Jack London made a living writing stories about a nature that was “red in tooth and claw.” I think it’s important to note the brokenness, first, for our own preservation, and second, for evaluating the brokenness that we’re causing and then remedying it. After all, the Creator has made us responsible for the care and preservation of the planet as well as its wise use.
But the obvious brokenness makes creation’s general kindness all the more impressive. We deal everyday with things, creations of fellow humans, that don’t work at all when any little thing goes wrong. That’s why so many people make such good money repairing and maintaining expensive systems.
But creation just keeps doing what it does so well—supporting life. It amazes me how desperately life wants to continue. You can be out in the middle of a lava field, and there’s a little weed growing up through a crack, clinging to a few grains of something resembling dirt, raising its tiny leaves to the sky and soaking up the sun, yearning to grow.
Of course it’s true that by foolish mismanagement we humans can interfere with the Creator’s systems and make life difficult or even impossible (think Chernobyl). But it really is astonishing that a system so complex continues to support life after millennia of inattention or even abuse.
Whoever made all this must really, really like us.
Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator (1P 4.19).