Robots and Clay

By Catiana Nak Kheiyn

The other day, I came across a great article on Redemption Pictures (completely unrelated to this one) about the societal lie that men and women are so inherently different that they are doomed to never understand one another. As I read, I nodded to myself, thinking, "This is good stuff..." Then I stumbled over this line:
"No. Men and women are not wired by God at all. We are flesh and blood and breath and electricity all bound up together in skin. We are whole human beings fully alive. Wires are for robots." —Micah J. Murray, I Am Not a Sex-Fueled Robot
A pinprick jabbed my good senses. Not wired by God? I don't think so. I firmly believe God had every intention of making us the way we are, including our flaws, foibles, and conflagrations. Wiring does not mean He made us all the same. He gave each of us certain genetics and allowed us exposure to specific environments, events, etc. In a sense, He "wired" our hearts and lives to make us into the individuals we are.

But I saw what the blogger was getting at with his robot analogy. He didn't want to use the term "wired" because we are definitely not robots. This got me thinking though. If the soul is not something that can be programmed, wound up, and sent off into the big world like a robot wrapped in a cloak of flesh, then what is it? Maybe we aren't so much "wired" as we are "shaped" with God's artistic precision and skill—less like metal and more like clay.

After all, the first human being came from the ground pressed between God's fingers. The Creator drew together handfuls of dust, worked the mud, and lovingly formed the man's body, knowing all the while what he would accomplish and how he would eventually betray Him. Then He held the man's face, leaned in close, with lips inches from the new creation's closed eyes, and breathed life into him (Genesis 2:7).

This was no cookie-cutter sculpture coming off an assembly line. Adam was made with love, made with God's hands, made in the Creator's very own image (Genesis 1:27). Each muscle, the curve of his arms, the way his hair hung over his forehead, the pulse of Adam's heart—all had been formed and given purposeful existence.

Although God now forms each new human in a mother's womb, He still takes divinely exquisite care in constructing every individual, one cell at a time (Psalm 139:13-14; Job 33:4). Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Not only are we distinctly created beings, but we were made intentionally, each with our own reason for living.

Photo by John Skiba Photography
What unfathomable creativity! Imagine an Artisan who can create billions upon billions of utterly unique creatures over the course of thousands of years, never losing His stride when it comes to originality. No two people are exactly the same. Behold the mysterious magnificence of God's handiwork in you.

Perhaps the word "wires" also implies that things cannot really be changed. Circuit boards are re-wired, re-organized, re-fitted, but they are still essentially the same parts. But that's not what human beings are. You can't just unplug one thing and plug it into another. Every moment of our lives adds to us, becomes a part of us—for good or ill.

God creates us in the womb, breathes life into our mouths, then He gives us the choice of where we walk next. So we wander the earth, these beautiful shapes of clay. We often sit down, listless, and gather dust. We shuffle into the darkness, and dead leaves stick to us. We fall, and our knees get scraped. The rain comes, and we start to fall apart. We try to fill the holes, but the sharp rocks we find to fix ourselves only make our limbs ache.

But one day, we look up and there is a Man standing there with an umbrella, smiling, holding out a hand with a hole that looks a lot like the one in our hearts. If we take that hand, He promises to give us a new heart, smooth out our rough spots with fresh clay, and begin fixing our broken parts. We will be made into new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17).

As cool as robots are, I don't really want to be one. I would rather have the fingerprints of God pressed into my life than have my heart be a perfectly-organized CPU. I would rather have lumps in my life, created by my messy attempts to fix myself which God has made into something lovely, than a shiny chrome exterior that's cold to the touch.

So maybe "wired" isn't the best way to describe what the Creator has been doing since He created Adam. Yet "formed" is hardly adequate either. We are works in progress who will both soar with success and thrash in our insufficiency, all of which God will use to perfect us more and more (Romans 5:3-5).

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed..." — 2 Corinthians 4:7-9

Image Credits
Cameron Daigle; "Are We Doing This, Or What"; Creative Commons
darkfoxprime; "Throwing Clay"; Creative Commons

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Published 8-21-13