“I have written your name on the palm of my hands.”
—Isaiah 49:15, NLT
“Under the current system, a new species does not officially exist until the scientific report of its discovery appears in print.”
—“Biologists wrangle over how to name every living thing,” Edmonton Journal, September 7, 2008, E6
The world is teeming with life. There are millions of species that even today remain unnamed. Out there in the mud, in the desert, in forests, rivers, lakes, oceans, there are birds, plants, and microorganisms without a name. Millions of them. And even those that scientists want to name are deemed not to exist until a report appears in print. Adam surrounded by the animals might as well not have bothered doling out names (“You are antelope”; “You are giraffe”; “You are hedgehog”) because nothing was in print yet and therefore, did not exist.
But there is a different way of being in print that honors the complexity in the world we can only hint at. While we play at trying to name things, trying to categorize and list every living thing, God holds it all in his hands—literally. His hands are marked over with names. “I have written your name on the palm of my hands.” The names of his children Israel, the names of his beloved people, the names of every living thing—all find room enough to be remembered on the hands of God. He’s got the whole world in his hands. Room enough on those hands to write every maggot, every bird, every fern, every living thing. Yet even with all those millions of things, it never gets crowded. Because while all of us are written there, there is also only just me. Quiet enough for just me, cradled in the hand of a loving God who has always known my name. Written on the palm of God’s hands, I exist. Whether I am worthy to appear in a scientific journal or not.