Have you ever noticed how humanity is always arriving after God?
We climb a tall and difficult mountain like Everest only to find God has already been there. We finish a long slog through mechanical developments or industrial inventions or technological innovations and discover God has already done it.
This was all strangely and beautifully pressed upon me again earlier this week when I stepped out into my backyard. As I passed from the relatively quiet indoors to the outdoors my ears immediately picked up a strong buzzing sound. Before I could completely settle my mind on the sound's source, I looked up and into the underbelly of a fat dragonfly hovering three feet overhead.
But the sound that had caught my attention was not the dragonfly. The sound turned out to be an old WWII fighter plane out of EAA rumbling and droning along beyond the tree line just out of sight. For a couple of seconds though my mind played a delightful trick on me, attributing the plane's engine noise to the dragonfly. Seeing-hearing that souped-up dragonfly was a strange momentary experience but in the end not so surreal after all.
The dragonfly and the airplane are two flying creations made by intelligent beings with one clearly preceding the other. One clearly inspired the other and there need be no quarrel about which one. The Wright brothers are not so old and original when compared to the flying dragons.
It is not a stretch to imagine that even boys of the ancient world looked dreamily upon the dragonfly wondering what it would be like to fly like that. Men now wonder about this less for we have done it. Man can now fly! Our dreams have come true. But it is God, the Great Creator, the Creator of men, who set this dream in our hearts through the glorious display of his own creation.
God is first in all things. No honorable and useful ambition like that of making a flying machine enters the heart of man that has not already issued from the mind of God. God alone is original in his works. Man is not. We are but creatures ourselves. We are the made ones not the Maker. All that we do is derivative of God's prior doing. Habitat, health, knowledge - God leads us in all these things, we but follow
Should this cause us discouragement in our own ambitions? No, of course not. Man is not in competition with God. If we are offended by God being first inventor in all things, we certainly have an inflated view of the work of our own hands. We do not exist to boast in our originality. We exist to see our human dominion as a blessed extension of God's own dominion. We are blessed to enter into his works and being one ourselves.
"Man goes out to his work and to his labor until the evening. O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures." - Psalm 104:23-24