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2nd May, 2011

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Perfect planning

This past week the whole world has been transfixed by two events that could not be more dissimilar from each other - except for one common denominator; planning.

Billions parked themselves on their living room sofas with glass of appropriate liquid refreshment in one hand and a bowl of potato chips in the other to watch Prince William Windsor and Kate Middleton tie the knot in the fairytale wedding of the century. The planning involved in that little affair takes the breath away. The most skilled proofreader will fail to find an error in the official programme. (Go on, I challenge you.) Months and months of preparation and meetings and planning have ensured that no detail pertaining to ceremony, security, catering, or traffic management, no matter how tiny, got overlooked. (I sure hope Prince Harry remembered the ring.)

Similarly, but also dissimilarly, the felling of Osama bin Laden will go down in the annals of fame or infamy (depending on your belief as to the propriety or otherwise of the whole episode) as a set piece of brilliant planning and precision execution. We'll never be given all the details; nevertheless, anybody who has so much as organized a fund-raising raffle will appreciate the staggering attention to detail that must have been applied in planning the operation. One overlooked minute detail could have so easily turned a successful raid into a rout. Admire it or rage against it, all must acknowledge the genius involved.

Picayune paltriness! He who sits enthroned in the heavens would have every right to laugh heartily at the childishness and amateurishness of these feeble attempts to ensure the right people are in the right place at the right time with

the needed equipment. And don't forget the bottle openers. Both royal nuptials and Seals assault pale against the planning required to ensure the universe runs smoothly for billions of years without mishap. Or to set up a dynamically-functioning planet wherein the cycling of elements operates precisely as needed to maintain life over long periods of time. And imagine the fix we would be in if some form of cosmic ray from space caused a buildup of toxic chemicals in the atmosphere. Of if a renegade asteroid smacked into our planet, causing a final, fatal extinction event. In making sure that nature runs smoothly, the Creator had to think of the tiniest of details, such as endowing flower petals with a velcro surface to help bees hang on while going about their business.1 Where would we be if the rates of mountain building and weathering were out of sync with each other? One hates to think. What if water didn't freeze until the temperature got down to -100? Or boil until it reached 500? We'd all be in minestrone soup, that's for sure. I retract that. We wouldn't exist.

No number of parallel processors could keep tabs on what goes on in nature, let alone plan it all. All the wheels within wheels within wheels, the near-infinite interconnectedness of the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms. The mind of God knows no limits in its capacity to perform floating point calculations - the stuff of computer operations. How true are His words in Isaiah 55:9:

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts .

Hmm. Now just how "high" are those heavens?

1 How Bees Hold Onto Flowers: 'Velcro'-Like Structures On Flower Petals Help Bees Stick


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