I have a friend named Jean. She’s 84, and she’s delightful. Yesterday, we were leaving a women’s retreat, and with happy exuberance, she told me, “There were 100 women here this weekend, and when I arrived I already knew 70 of them! My plan was to find and meet the 30 I didn’t know. And now, by the end of the weekend, I’ve met and spent time talking with 15 new women! I only wish I could have gotten to know those last 15!”
To Jean, people are very valuable. To her, meeting and loving 15 new humans is a joyful privilege. Jean loves as the Lord has loved her (I John 4:19). For Jean, people are not accidental by-products.
Driving away from the weekend where she’d valued so highly the lives of women in front of her, I kept thinking of C.S. Lewis’s words:
Questioner: Materialists and some astronomers suggest that the solar planetary system and life as we know it was brought about by an accidental stellar collision. What is the Christian view of this theory?
C.S. Lewis: If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents — the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the thoughts of the materialists and some astronomers as well as for anyone else’s. But if their thoughts — i.e., of Materialism and Astronomy — are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents. It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milk jug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.” (C. S. Lewis from a question/answer panel on “Answers to Questions on Christianity” as later recorded in God in the Dock)
Listening to details of Jean’s weekend quest — seeking out and discovering women, young and old, who she was sure were each very valuable — delighted my own heart. No accidental by-products there! And hearing her name the names of new women she was honored to now call friends, I wondered if those women had any idea how incredibly valuable they really are. Both to Jean, and to the Lord who created them:
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.”
“The sum of your word is truth…my heart stands in awe of your words.”
(Psalm 139:13-16 and 119:160-161)