What does it mean to be fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)?
Psalm 139:14 makes the well-known statement, "I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well." This verse is often quoted, especially in discussions regarding the Christian pro-life position, but what does it mean?
First, these words are a clear statement about the amazing capabilities of the human body God has created. Our bodies are made of billions of cells and a myriad of parts that can only be adequately explained by a loving and wise Creator and Designer (Genesis 1:26-27).
Second, this verse gives an indication of our value from God's perspective. He designed us. Much care is involved in the creation of each human being. As the verses immediately following Psalm 139:14 say, "My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." (Psalm 139:15-16).
Third, this verse reveals the inestimable worth of all human life. A direct application of this verse is the protection of life at all levels, from the womb to the final breath of a person's life. This is why Christians care deeply about the protection of life in the womb (Psalm 139:13), caring for those mistreated or undervalued by others in society (Proverbs 31:8-9), and for the elderly and those with terminal illnesses. As 1 John 4:19 shares, "We love because he first loved us."
Fourth, God's qualities of having all power (omnipotence) and all knowledge (omniscience) are revealed in this verse. God asked Job, "Who has put wisdom in the inward parts or given understanding to the mind?" (Job 38:36). It's a rhetorical question; the answer is, of course, "God." No one else can take the credit for creating every person. No one else knows each person at the most intimate level. The same God who created the universe (Genesis 1:1) also knows the number of hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30; Luke 12:7).
Finally, in this verse we find yet another reason to worship the Lord Almighty. He has created us in such wisdom, power, and love, and the only proper response is to honor Him and glorify His name. As the Psalms note elsewhere, "There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God" (Psalm 86:8-10).
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