I take a walk every morning. My obsessive-compulsive personality prompts me to follow the same route every day. At one particular point I turn onto a street lined with townhouses. Though these are simple structures, I love the feel of this neighborhood. It is neat, fairly new, and well-maintained, with nicely mowed grass and beautiful shrubs in front of each home.
Frequently as I look down this street it dawns on me that this represents one tiny manifestation of God’s secondhand creation. He did not create this neighborhood directly, but he did so by creating human brains, eyes, arms, and legs with the capacity of visualizing, planning, building, and maintaining such a neighborhood.
Often we find ourselves in situations where rather than have someone else do a task, it is just easier to do it ourselves. Imagine, for example, that you wanted a room painted in your house. Most would agree that it would be far easier to do it ourselves than to have a 10-year-old son do it. Imagine the hours of oversight that would require, and even with that what the final product would look like. It would no doubt require a lot of scraping before you could see out of the windows again.
I am sure the same is true with God, and way beyond, in the matter of His building those homes Himself as opposed to creating human beings who could do it. It is one thing to build homes. We can do that. But imagine the challenge of designing people with brains that can design homes and neighborhoods. That would be infinitely more difficult. Yet that is exactly what God did.
Of course, this little neighborhood is nothing compared with New York City skyscrapers or NASA rockets that can take people to the moon or any number of others human creations. But even the amount of human capability that goes in the creation of that small neighborhood is amazing. For example, if you got stuck out in the middle of a large deserted island in the Pacific and had to start from scratch, how long would it take you to create a kitchen faucet? It would take me a lifetime, and I still would not have come close. All of this know-how God preprogrammed into human brains. Fantastic!!
But God’s secondhand creation goes way past that. That neighborhood is supported by a human society. That, too, is part of God’s secondhand creation. I am frequently amazed as I think of the organization of towns and cities that provides streets, electricity, water and sewage services, police, trash collection, schools, and many other services. Then there are a wide array of businesses that provide a variety of other goods and services making life livable. That didn’t just happen. God had to design human beings with a set of inclinations that makes that possible.
It is of special interest to me that the human physical creations like homes and the societal creations like towns and cities find their best representation in cultures that are essentially Christian. When we seek to live God’s way we are most successful at being His secondhand creators.
We could consider countless other manifestations of God’s secondhand creation, but let me just mention one more. As I walk through that little neighborhood and frequently think about how God has provided human beings with sufficient capability and sufficient resources for everyone in this world to live in a nice little home like one of those. If all this just resulted from happenstance there might only exist sufficient capability and resources to provide a small segment of people the opportunity to live in such a community. However, God in His design provided enough for everybody. The reason everyone on this globe does not have access to such a nice home is human sin that misuses talents and wastes resources.
As you observes the phenomenal human accomplishments that can be seen all around the world, realize that you are looking at the work of God as He has coached humanity functioning on the level of a 10-year-old boy painting a room. We may view these achievements with awe. I wonder how often God has thought, “It would be a lot easier if I just did it myself.”