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Clue #4: Complexity
Nature around us is full of complexity. When we were kids, we were awestruck by the wonder of it. As adults we should be awestruck and wonder about the mind behind the complexity. Part Four of nine.

For an introduction to this series of nine clues, see Clueless.

Our third clue was beauty – beauty that points to an artist who loves and creates it. That points to a beautiful God, Christians say.

But there’s a problem. Did you spot it? If we’re spiritual detectives, we face a problem.

Here it is: it’s not all beauty around us. There’s ugliness too. Lots of it! Nature gets ugly – like the earthquake in Haiti. So many killed, so many! Thousands of students crushed to death, sitting in their classes. How awful! That's the total opposite from beautiful.

There’s more. The ugliness of babies born with handicaps. The ugly way people treat others – mean and nasty. Slavery. Torture. People even abusing little children.

Then there’s death – that’s the ugliest of all. Death is never pretty – never beautiful. It makes a detective ask, if there’s a God of beauty, where did this ugliness come from? Can you think of an answer? (It’s a hard puzzle. You’ll need to be a really good detective!) We’ll come back to this in the future, okay? After you’ve thought about it.

So far, we have three clues: design, information and beauty. Let’s add the fourth clue – complexity.

All around us, everything’s complicated. Incredibly so! When we were little kids, remember how we’d squat and watch ants and caterpillars? So tiny! So soft! All those legs! It made us say, Wow! We should keep saying, Wow! even when we grow up, because life’s full of wonder.

Let’s say you picked something to study – that caterpillar in the garden, your left hand, a pine tree, your tongue – anything. You could study that one thing all your life and never learn everything. Wow! It’s that complex.

Your eye, for instance, is so complicated.When a light photon hits the retina (at the back), it starts a chemical trail to the brain. Millions of chemical reactions are going on. Millions! Every minute there are millions. Mind-boggling!

All parts of the eye and all the different chemicals, must work together for us to see. It would take our lifetime to study it – and remember, we wouldn’t know everything. Even if we were to study the retina alone, it’s totally complex. Here’s what one scientist says: “The retina is probably the most complicated tissue in the whole body. Millions of nerve cells interconnect in a fantastic number of ways to form a miniature ‘brain’. Much of what the photoreceptors ‘see’ is interpreted and processed by the retina long before it enters the brain.”

I don’t even understand all the meaning in those sentences, but I know it points to our clue: complexity. Here’s something about the eye I just learned: vibrations. What? We’re spiritual detectives, checking out eyes, and discover, Wow! Our eyes are always moving with three different kinds of movements, in fact. One movement is called tremors. “Tremors… continuously and rapidly wobble your eyeball about its center in a circular fashion. They cause the cornea and retina (front and back) of your eyes to move in circles with incredibly minute diameters of approximately 1/1000 (.001) of a millimeter, or .00004 inch.”

We don’t even know our eyes are moving like this. Here’s the Wow: we couldn’t see if these teeny, tiny eye-wobbles weren’t happening. Totally complex!

Clue #4 makes us say, Everything’s so complicated! There must be a complex mind somewhere. A mind that knows everything about everything, at once! Wow!

Christians say that complex mind is God – beyond brilliant, beyond complicated! A fabulous person! Here’s the best part. He knows everything about us. (There’s a song in the Bible that talks about this). Even though He knows everything, He invites us to get to know Him – to become His friend. To come into His family. Yes, He has a family!

It’s a bit surprising for a spiritual detective, to find an invitation in the middle of a search! Wow! (This wasn’t in your job description as a detective!) One more Wow: God’s infinitely complex. That means we can start to get to know Him right now, yes?

To the end of eternity (which has no end), we’ll not know everything about Him. I get a brain-ache, trying to think that! That’s the God Christians connected to because of Jesus. I’ll do all I can to help you, as you get to know this brilliant, complex mind that we call God!

Paul Johnson, SHARE,, Cell: 403.816.6981.

Related articles

The nine clues appear as a series of nine articles on

Clue #1: Design
Clue #2: Information
Clue #3: Beauty
Clue #4: Complexity
Clue #5: Laws
Clue #6: Word
Clue #7: Scene of the Crime
Clue #8: The Corpse
Clue #9: The Mystery

Originally published on the website, Spiritual Detective Clues, 2009. Reprinted in Baptist Horizon, beginning May/June 2009.

Used with permission. Copyright © 2010

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