#394: Fingerprints: Personality

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Reflections by the Pond
May 11, 2009


God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

Genesis 1:31-2:3

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God's creation would not lead us to Him if it did not reveal Him to us—if it did not offer us a glimpse into His personality.

An old friend once showed me two seemingly identical end tables in his home. With a sly grin he challenged me to guess which came from the factory and which he had made as a matching companion. On close inspection the two tables appeared the same—as if both had been manufactured by the same person. Upon even closer inspection, however, one seemed to be slightly better constructed, with joints that were fit together more precisely, and a finish more carefully applied. I guessed correctly that the one better-constructed had been made by my friend.

His work revealed his personality. He is meticulous and patient, dedicated to doing quality work. Beyond that, he is someone determined to do more than is expected. For him, "just good enough" is not good enough; he always pushes himself to do better.

My dad, too, loved working with wood. In our basement we had an old lathe, a simple jigsaw, and a collection of basic hand tools. And the objects he created—whether candlesticks, bookends, picture frames, or more utilitarian objects for the house—were all crafted with great love and affection for the recipients. His work, however, revealed a personality decidedly different from my friend's.

Somewhere on each piece of Dad's handiwork would be a rather obvious flaw. If a picture frame, at least one of the corners would not join properly. If one of his stately candlesticks, it would be handsomely turned, but perhaps leaning a bit to one direction. If a salad bowl, somewhere around the lip could be found the gouge created when his lathe tool had slipped in his hands.

My dad's woodworking revealed his personality. Dad would get the job done, but he was not meticulous; he did not have the quiet patience needed for perfecting his craft. Those things he created were infused with love and dedication to his family and friends, but for him, "good enough" was good enough. (And I fear I inherited my dad's woodworking genes.)

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There is no personality revealed in an object stamped out by machine, for a machine has no soul. There is no energizing spirit dwelling in a metal press, or lathe, or band saw. A machine does not love. A machine is not dedicated to the well-being of family.

There are no fingerprints left behind on a machine-made object.

The Print of His Personality

A ruler questioned Him, saying, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone."

Luke 18:18-19

Our God's creation reveals His personality. Everything in this world, and especially the natural world, reveals something of who He is, His motives, and the depth of His love.

Everything in God's creation bears the print of His personality.

"In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness."

Acts 14:16-17

Do you marvel at the granite mountain, its broad base strong and firm, the fingers of its peak rising skyward in soaring majesty? It speaks of its Creator.

The Lord reigns,
He is clothed with majesty;
The Lord has clothed and girded Himself with strength;
Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.

Psalms 93:1

Listen as the robin's hatchlings give voice to their hunger. Does the same God who sculpted the mountain range hear the tiny voices of young birds?

"Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God."

Luke 12:6

Do the flowers of the field gladden your heart? Do the spring blossoms of the cherry and apple trees cheer your soul after the long, cold winter? Does their beauty spread a clean brightness into your life? He who invented them is also beautiful.

And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying:
"Praise the Lord,
For His mercy endures forever."

2 Chronicles 20:21 nkjv

Does the glory of the sunset or dawn take your breath away? Do you stand in awe of the holy palette from which such other-worldly splendor comes? That glory comes from God, from the One who paints it across the skies to declare that He, in all His glory, is still on His throne.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.

Psalm 19:1 nkjv

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When we come to review our works we find, to our shame, that much has been very bad; but, when God reviewed his, all was very good. The work of creation was a very good work. All that God made was well-made, and there was no flaw nor defect in it. It was good. Good, for it is all agreeable to the mind of the Creator, just as he would have it to be; when the transcript came to be compared with the great original, it was found to be exact, no errata in it, not one misplaced stroke. Good, for it answers the end of its creation, and is fit for the purpose for which it was designed. Good, for it is serviceable to man, whom God had appointed lord of the visible creation. Good, for it is all for God's glory; there is that in the whole visible creation which is a demonstration of God's being and perfections, and which tends to beget, in the soul of man, a religious regard to him and veneration of him.

Matthew Henry