A photograph like that of Oban on the cover can stir a multitude of memories; in this case pleasant memories of the ferry crossing to a holiday in the Isle of Mull. What a precious faculty is the memory and what an amazing evidence of the infinite wisdom of our Creator.
In the early days of computer science the memories of those enormous machines filled specially constructed and temperature controlled rooms; today the city-bound commuter can carry a far larger memory in the small personal computer in his brief-case. Now there is much talk of artificial intelligence and of electronic brains for near-human robots as the micro-electronics becomes increasingly microscopic and amazingly more powerful. But what strange robot could think in colour, scanning instantly along the coast of a Scottish island, remembering the sight of a golden eagle, the beauty of a sandy beach, and the joy of climbing Ben More on a sunny day? What sophisticated machinery could reproduce the sense of wonder on visiting Fingal’s Cave or seeing the quaint faces of the puffins on the Island of Staffa?
But at a far deeper level, what combination of computer, recorder, and video camera could tell me of the spiritual emotions stirred when hearing the gospel preached on the Lord’s Day by that gracious man of God, the late Douglas MacMillan, whom we never expected to meet there, let alone hear him preaching? No, there is something altogether different and infinitely more wonderful about the human mind. Could we not echo David’s song of gratitude as we say, ‘I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.’ Psalm 139.14. The amazing fact that the mind can begin, by God’s wonderful grace, to think of God, to worship Him we cannot see, and to love His only begotten Son, is evidence of that amazing wonder that God originally made man in His own image and for His own praise.
The achievements of the human intellect, and often the intellects of the ungodly, are very great indeed. But ‘not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called’, for ‘eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God'(l Cor. 1.26; 2.9,10).
Let us thank God for the wonder of the human mind and its many happy memories, but thank Him more because we see beyond this present world, beyond all that is only natural, to that which is spiritual and eternal, so that even when mind and memory fail we have the certain prospect of seeing the Lord as He is and being made like Him.