Designed

This is Torch Ginger. I took the pic in Kauai. Stunning and bold and beautiful, whispering. Life whispers it everywhere. We can’t fail to hear it if we pay attention. If you are quiet enough, you will hear the testimony. Even if you live in a concrete jungle without a green thing in sight, it will peek up at you from a sidewalk crack to seek a moment with you. Even the grass has something to say.

Life whispers, “Designed”, in green and auburn chorus. In Scarlet Gilia and Torch Ginger. From the blackfish on the ocean floor to the translucent Amazonian frog.

Or maybe it isn’t whispering, maybe it is playing a quiet little concert. A silent grand symphony with billions of DNA violins and protein cellos in each cell, with their patterns and irreducible complexity, resounding in a music that we lack words to describe. So we call it beauty. It feels like sacrilege not to notice, to just walk past. But symphonies have composers.

There are those who believe that the driving force behind this design is randomness and a pressure to reproduce – survival of the fittest. In that view, billions of letters of genetic code is being tossed around like those old lottery balls in the hopper, and just happened to pop out Shakespeare – or, in this case, Torch Ginger. Take a close look – lucky mutations?  I lack the faith to believe that.

To be sure, we evolved and continue evolving, hopefully in a good direction! Certainly phenotypes are derived from genotypes, and those do change through mutation. It’s true that sequences in gene promoters summon transcription factors to switch genes on and off in a synchronization that allows a cell to differentiate into… well, Torch Ginger for one. And we can now tinker with that code to make it less torchy or gingery, like making seedless watermelon, for our use or pleasure (we genetically modify lots of plants now). Somehow we seem to think that understanding the molecular biology of Torch Ginger tells us how she came to exist. But we make a choice when we say, “it adapted” (a self-organizing force) as opposed to, “it is fitted” (an exogenous composing force). And that choice, regardless of whether one believes in God, is a faith choice.

Life’s beauty demands something of us in her whispers. Listen. Guard your mind from the clamor, slow your moment and focus on one petal, one leaf, one feather or fingerprint. What is it saying?

Let me calm your anxious thoughts. Let me fill your senses with sweetness and show you what resilience looks like. Let me show you seeds that only germinate after fire. Here are my forests that talk to each other through their roots. Let me make you wonder at my harmony, patterns and the sticky purposes of each petal. Let me whisper something both frightening and assuring to awaken your soul, “Designed.” And that means you.

Notice something beautiful today!

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