The world is guided by two very different perspectives. The secularist believes that life is just a series of random events, with no deeper meaning or purpose. The religionist, on the other hand, believes that we are all the product of a thoughtful and purposeful Creator. So, either nothing means anything or everything means something. Either life is an accident or it’s replete with meaning.
These two sets of opinions could not be more diametrically opposed to one another. Surely, the evidence must point in favor of one over the other. Here’s one for the life is full of meaning category.
We’ve long known that the best way to identify a person is by the unique loops, ridges and whorls that make up their fingerprints. That’s because the odds are one in several billion that any two people could have matching fingerprints. But these patterns, also known as dermatoglyphics, may be used for more than identifying crime scene suspects. New research indicates that the fine details of our fingerprints may also tell the story of our individual ethnic origin and even predict our medical destiny.
According to Jessica Firger with NEWSWEEK:
For some time, anthropologists and forensic scientists have used fingerprints to learn more about identity … Anthropologists examine what’s known as Level 1 details, a close look at the pattern types and ridge counts. Forensic scientists focus on Level 2 details, fingerprint “minutiae,” or the specific variants of fingerprints …
A study published recently in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology is one of the first joint efforts to bridge the gap in the two fields by examining ... ancestry with a look at pattern type variation of Level 2 detail … While they weren’t able to detect any notable variations in the fingerprints of men versus women, the researchers did find Level 2 differences in the fingerprints of African-American people versus those of European-American descent.
[Also] a growing body of research has found that … there are some patterns, shapes and repetitions of fingerprint patterns that are unique to certain diseases and health conditions. One study suggests people with Alzheimer’s disease have more ulnar loops (loop patterns that flow toward the little finger) and fewer ridges and arches. Another study, published in the American Journal of Genetics, found that women with breast cancer were more likely to have a pattern of six or more whorls (coils or spirals) on fingers than women without the disease.
We use the expression “It’s written in the stars,” to speak of something that is predetermined or certain. Perhaps, what we should be saying is “It’s written on your finger tips!” For it appears that it is there, not in the stars, that we discover where we came from and what the future may hold for us.
Before these recent studies, we knew that the random loops and ridges on the tips of our fingers offered a unique identifier, but they didn't seem to hold any meaning beyond that. What an amazing thing it is to discover that even these fine details hold specific meaning for each of us.
This raises an important question. If even the smallest details of our fingerprints can hold such personal and profound meaning, could there be a deeper meaning to the other small details of our lives? Is it possible that the circumstances and people we encounter, easily dismissed as happenstance, might hold deeper meaning, too? The Apostle Paul certainly believed this to be the case when he wrote, "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Just as your fingerprints are meaningful to you and to you alone, so your circumstances are meaningful to you and to you alone. It may not be immediately apparent how the finer details of your life will prove themselves to be God's will for you, but the earnest seeker discovers that everything has a purpose and so everything means something.