What is ‘life?’

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The other day I was driving along and a large brown planetree leaf fluttered down from its branch at the exact moment that my car drove past. Its detachment from the tree punctuated the end of its life and its final voyage was disrupted by the whoosh of my car as it was swept upwards away from my windscreen, changing direction, finding another place to settle.

A lot of my weird, profound thoughts happen while driving. Driving under a falling leaf is nothing extraordinary, but for some reason, on this day, I was struck with a question about the nature of life.

The leaf was dead. It was once alive. I looked at a flourishing gum tree and wondered, ‘what is it that makes it alive?’ ‘What is life?’

Sure, we know how to distinguish death from life, animate from inanimate, but do we actually know anything about life?

I looked it up in a dictionary. Life is a condition, a distinguishing phenomena, a state.

I think that’s code for ‘we have no idea.’ We know a lot, but we don’t know that. We can create a lot, but we can’t create that.

For the Christian, it’s profound, but not so difficult to understand. Life is the unique, breathed out, creative power of God. He gives it, and he takes it away, and we just exist within it and watch.

 

 

 

 

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The glory of Vegas

eiffel-105506_960_720I was recently in Las Vegas. I had low expectations of glitzy facades attempting to cover seedy bars and casinos, and filthy streets; I wasn’t expecting to love it.

But love it I did. It was fabulous: glitter and glamour, bright lights and creativity and a central strip that never sleeps. It was like a giant, adult carnival, and the seediness, while certainly present, wasn’t as overt as I’d feared. I remember walking down the strip one night, past the extraordinary fountains of the Bellagio and the soaring spire of the Eiffel Tower and thinking that human creativity had outdone itself. Here in Vegas, was everything that man had to offer.

Two days later, I drove out of Vegas and went to the Grand Canyon. The contrast was immense. Not just in size and in grandeur, but in heart. In Vegas, human creativity was at its peak, at the Canyon, we caught a glimpse of God’s. And it won, hands down.

The next day we were in Monument Valley, and we rode through the desert on horseback.20160104_074834 The silence was overwhelming. The monuments rose, towering trough the frigid air. They were so sure of themselves. Their majesty did not need the adornment of bright lights, or the lure of naked women. They didn’t care whether people came to look at them or not. They reflected the glory of their creator, and they will likely stand in worship of him, long after Vegas falls.

Who Tells the Creators of Technology When to Stop?

I’ll admit it. I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to being glued to my phone. Yes, I’m distressed when I look around at a group of friends out to dinner and see them all on their phones, but what can I say? I do it too.

What really gets me though is that I know I don’t need it. Somewhere, deep in a drawer, is my old Nokia 3315. Gosh I loved that phone. It did everything I needed it to, and for years I refused to upgrade, until eventually I did, because everyone had, and somehow that created a need.7261754de66a72c34aa64c7e5cb41d26-red-technology-background

Technology changes lives, saves lives and improves lives, but like many things that can be used for good, it can also be just plain bad.

Companies, driven by the desire for money and success, create, improve and reinvent. And like lemmings we lap it up. We pour out our hard earned cash to buy the newest thing, because it’s new.

We don’t need it, but the very fact that everyone buys it creates a need.

There is no accountability; no one who looks at new technology and asks: Will this be truly beneficial for society in the long run? They just create and we consume.

Could we be lining our graves because we follow without thinking, people who are creating without thinking, and there is no one to tell them when enough is enough?