Posted by: Mike Willoughby | January 4, 2011

Snowflakes and DNA (Part 2)

Last week on Intersections, I mentioned that I was watching the coverage of the East Coast Christmas blizzard and how happy I was to be in Nebraska far from the winter action.  Apparently I spoke too soon since by Friday I was watching a foot of snow fall from the sky whipped around by 30 mph winds.  Our own mini-blizzard trapped my family in the farm house 20 miles from the big city of Sidney Nebraska.  The farm house is not equipped with cable, satellite or any other form of live television and so we resorted to making a pie from scratch and pulling together what ended up being a delicious New Year’s Eve dinner.  After dinner, we discovered board games and playing cards in the closet which provided the entertainment for the evening – no video required.  Apparently the ball dropped in Times Square without any help from us and 2011 was ushered in with subdued fashion in Sunol, Nebraska.  Worked for me!  I think the kids missed the video.

I also mentioned that I would pick up the topic I started in Snowflakes and DNA (Part 1) with this challenge:  As a Christian seeking to have the same attitude as Christ, knowing how God feels about each individual person He created should change my perspective and affect how I treat my fellow man. 

One of the characteristics of snowflakes is their transience as they appear and quickly disappear with the changes in our weather.  Of course we know that the flakes start as water and turn back to water, but in their frozen state they are with us a brief time.  Similarly, we are very transient and we appear and quickly disappear in this life.  The Apostle James actually uses water in gaseous form to make this point in James 4:13-15.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

Like snow, we also survive in a different form after we disappear.  Our souls were created to survive our physical lives.  Even though I have poor visibility into that future state, my Christian faith provides assurance of that invisible reality (Hebrews 11:1).  The reality of the existence of my eternal soul is where the snowflake analogy falls apart.  Even though the snowflake is a beautiful even wondrous creation of God, it has no inherent value.  In the end, a snowflake is made up of atoms that are two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen and ultimately neither element will survive the end of time.  However, each of us will survive to experience a new reality according to II Peter 3:10-13.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.  Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.  But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

So how does this knowledge change the way I should treat my fellow man?  First, knowing that every created human possesses an eternal soul should motivate me to seek after the best interest of that soul which means I want them to share my residence in the new heaven and the new earth.  According to Jesus in John 14:6, the opportunity to participate in that existence only comes through faith in Jesus Christ and I should be sharing that message of hope with everyone willing to see and hear.

Second, I need to remember that uniquely in all creation the human soul has inherent value!  After creating everything else in the universe, God took a different approach with man.  Genesis 1:26-27 records this approach.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

I believe the “image of God” human attribute refers to our eternal soul which separates us from all other creatures.  The fact that we are created in His image gives us each inherent value.  Too often, we allow these temporary bodies we inhabit to affect the way we value each other.  Since we appear to be temporary, we many times treat each other like disposable commodities with little more value than a snowflake.  It disturbs me to see how pervasive this low view of the value of human life is in our society.  From the gratuitous violence embedded in almost all of our entertainment including movies, television and video games to the casual regard we have for the unborn, we cheapen the value of human life which I believe has an inevitable impact on how we perceive and respond to our fellow man.  God cared enough about each human life to create that life in His image and who am I to devalue that creation? 

In addition to the value He imparted to us through the creation of our souls, God raised the stakes even further by purchasing each individual human soul with the blood of His Son.  If the value of the image of God is not impressive enough for me, how about the value imparted by that sacrifice?  Knowing that every person I meet is worth enough for Christ’s to sacrifice His life for their eternal life, how can I treat them with any less inherent value than I value myself?  Obviously, I can’t!  That is why Paul encourages me with these words from II Corinthians 5:16-21:

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:  The old has gone, the new is here!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

So there is the bottom line.  Although we are unique individual creations like snowflakes, we are not limited creations like snowflakes.  We are each potential new creations in Christ and that knowledge forces me to change my perspective and affects how I treat each and every one of my fellow human beings.  That knowledge makes me an ambassador.  This week and every week, I hope to live up to the calling!

Until next week (on Wednesday),

Meet me at the intersection!

Previous Intersections Articles

Snowflakes and DNA (Part 1) Safe and Secure Impressive Stonework


  1. WONDERFUL article to begin the New Year you covered it all glad to have you and family back safe

  2. Amazing thoughts Mike! loved it and will continue to re-read it often

  3. Thanks for sending these to me, Mike. Very good spiritual thoughts for all of us!

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