As the news focused on commencements around the country, David McCullough’s speech got the most airtime. “You are not special,” he announced to a group of high school graduates.
The pundits debated if the speech was appropriate or not but no one debated if it was true or not. As I listened to his speech, I wanted to leap on stage to address those high schoolers and say, “You are special and here’s how I’ll prove it…” As I am not able to time travel, I lay it out below and hope it reaches anyone who has heard the world’s opinion that we are common.
“We’re not sure who discovered water but we’re pretty sure it wasn’t the fish,” is a great quote from Marshall McLuhan. It may be difficult to see the miracle when you’re surrounded by it from the moment you are conceived. Quantum physics has given us a bird’s eye view, however, to see just how special we are.
We now know that we have won the lottery several times over just to be here. If the energy of the Big Bang was off by 10 to the 120th, there would be no life in our universe. If the electromagnetic force was off, atoms wouldn’t become molecules, thus no life. If the strength of the nuclear force that holds nuclei together were off there would be no life. If the force of gravity was off, if the mass of the Big Bang, or the temperature, or the rate of expansion…yep, you guessed it, no life.
That is a lot of lotteries all within the first moments of our universe. Michael Turner said,”It’s as if one could throw a dart across the entire universe and hit a bullseye one millimeter in diameter on the other side.” This is just a sample list of the fine tuning and the statistical improbability that life in any form exists at all.
What quantum physics has done for our understanding of the universe, molecular biology has done for our understanding of biology. The human body is made of roughly 75 trillion cells, composed of a thousand million, million, million, million atoms. Each cell makes 2,000 proteins every second. Right now your body is selecting 500,000 amino acids containing 10 million atoms, bending them into shape and shipping them off to sites inside and outside of the cell. EVERY SECOND, EVERY CELL!
At the moment of conception, somehow packed within the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, sulfur and phosphorous the we are composed of, there is Wisdom to combine, organize and order cells to become your heart, your brain, your lungs, your skin and on and on. How do these elements seem to have a mind of their own? How do cells know what to become and how to become it?
Most amazingly, science has discovered as it looks into the make up atoms, that the largest component of an atom is nothing or NO thing. All matter, whether living or not is 99.9% empty space. Einstein proved matter is made from energy. E= MC2.
Well, we now know that energy is made of what science calls information or an idea. From the moment of the Big Bang, a Wisdom has been behind it all. Robert Jastrow summed it up best, “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance, he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
The first definition of special is, “surpassing what is common”. Well when you grow up in water, like the fish you probably don’t see anything special about it. However, when you expand your view and glimpse the Wisdom at work, you begin to see that Earth and your life does indeed surpass what is common in our universe.
The second definition is, “arranged for a particular occasion or purpose. ” Science is seeing the Wisdom in how we and our universe is designed for life. For those of us who believe, we know that God not only arranged for us to be, and numbered the hairs on our heads, and has our names on his palm; He has also given each of us a “particular purpose” for our life, Jer 29:11.
A third definition of special is, “regarded with particular affection or admiration.” Again, for Christians we know Jn 3:16, “for God so loved the world that he gave his only son.”. There you have it. You are special, not from anything you have done on your own, but because you have the fingerprints of God all over you and his Wisdom within you, and around you.
Let’s be smarter than the fish!
Sheree can be found writing at A Mother’s Epistle.