KEY SCRIPTURE Genesis 1:1-2:8
These are the gene-rations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew:
A patent occurs when a government authority or licence confers a right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention. So, how does God patent His ideas?
This thought came while drying the dishes a few nights ago. I noticed a small spot on some Tupperware and looked closer to see if it was a blemish or something I hadn't washed off. I was the dishwasher as well as the dryer, so I guessed the answer.
As I thought about whether to rewash it or scratch it off, I applied my thumbnail to it, and within three scratches, it was gone. This got me thinking about the humble thumbnails and fingernails and how miraculous the entire nail concept is.
Like a rigid tree growing out of the soft ground or an adult person growing from a mushy embryo, these semi-hard, multi-purpose tools grow out of our fleshy hands from birth until the time we die and rarely extract a thought from us. I stopped and thanked God for my nails.
As a matter of interest, Ayanna Williams grew her nails for 28 years, reaching a length of 24 feet or 7.3 metres, according to Guinness book of Records.
We know nails start from atomic and sub-atomic particles—those things we cannot see—and then become matter—those things we can see (Hebrews 11:3 that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.); but these inexplicable inventions are so unparalleled they defy patenting.
For many years, pharmaceutical organisations have spent billions of dollars collectively patenting pills and potions using God's inventions as their base, without so much as a thank you. Even though William Morton, a Boston dentist, discovered that sulphuric ether could safely suppress consciousness during surgery in 1846, and decided to file a patent on the first general anaesthesia. One doctor wrote to a Boston medical journal, “Why must I now purchase the right to use ether as a patent medicine? It would seem to me like patenting the sunlight or moon-shine." (not the distilled kind).
Many in medical science believed that individuals shouldn’t be able to claim monopolies on medical science, but that breakthroughs should remain open and free to the global community of doctors and researchers, with support of governments. In 1955 when Jonas Salt was asked why he didn't patent the polio vaccine, he humbly used the retort from the Boston journal 100 years earlier, “Could you patent the sun?” Many knew they were merely uncovering what God had already created.
There is a running joke about that. Some cocky scientists had an argument with God about the creation of the human being. "We can now create man out of the ground like you did, but better." God encouraged them to go ahead. They got their scientists and bio people together and selected the type of soil they thought would work best. Then, as they were just about to rip the ground with the excavator, they heard a voice from Heaven, "Hey, get your own soil!"
God probably wouldn't be issued a patent in today's greedy world. But His 'patent' is divinely issued in this fact, that everything He has designed and brought to life is so original and self-functioning it cannot be copied.
And yet, the creation of human beings and all the natural things we know to be brilliant in our eyes is still only second-best. As we contemplate the creation story in Genesis, and consider how wonderful creation is, God considered His work to be good or very good. He did not say perfect, and perfect is a word He uses. Why not?
There are many exciting things about following Jesus Christ, and one of those is understanding the magnificence of what lies before us—what we cannot yet see. That will be perfect.
Dear Lord, thanks for the fact that all your handiwork in the heavens and on earth is incomparable. Your designs alone are breathtaking when I pause long enough to look closer. Please astound me with more of your designs and the way you brought them to life.
Photo by Hush Naidoo Jade Photography