Some carpenters are called “wood butchers” because they hack and chop a piece of wood to make it fit, and if it doesn’t look pretty nobody will care. When putting together a house there’s a certain amount of that which is just going to be covered up, so nobody will ever know if it doesn’t look good. Too much of that, however, will come back to haunt you.
When our family was building houses we took special care to use the best pieces of wood where the kitchen would go. If there was even a little bit of a bow in the studs, you’ll find out when hanging the kitchen cabinets. They just won’t fit right.
Other places you could use three pieces of 2 x 4 where normally one piece is preferable, because it just needs to hold those other pieces in the right spot, then it gets covered over and is never seen again.
Back in that day, if you were on the top of a ladder and “that” piece didn’t quite go in, you could take a chisel and knock off a corner of it. There. Now it fits. Hence, “wood butcher.” Why pry out the piece, take it down the ladder, cut off a sliver, and lug it back up the ladder? Nobody will ever see it, and it makes no difference anyway.
Six or seven times in one wall, though, and the minuscule bits can add up. The wall might end up just a slight bit crooked. The carpet guys will notice. Or the folks hanging drywall. If it pushes the exterior wall out an inch, the siding will look buckled. Maybe the rafters won’t set right.
Perfection isn’t attainable, though, so a certain amount of that while putting up the frame of the house is okay. Don’t try it with finish work. A cabinet that’s an eighth of an inch wider on top than on the bottom will look horrid. That piece of trim around the door better be a whole lot closer to “right” than even a sixteenth of an inch.
Most people go through life with the attitude of “close enough.” That’s why folks who live a good life think they’re going to heaven because “that’s close enough.” Though history most of the gods people worshiped were purported to think that way too. Is it any wonder skeptics think gods were invented by humans?
From the earliest times the God of the bible demanded perfection, though. The entire system was set up to acknowledge that humanity would never measure up. But a perfect God can never be satisfied by an imperfect human.
Building inspectors are trained to look for flaws in a construction project. Too much sand in the concrete used for the foundation will inevitably cause problems. Too little is an issue as well. The tolerance is wide enough that there is a “close enough.” God, though, is the inspector of humanity. He demands perfection, and “close enough” doesn’t cut it.
Yeah, but what difference does it make, Mark? Anything that’s not perfect is a sin and drives God away. Since He is the One who sustains everything, he can’t put up with imperfection. After all, what would the universe look like if the Plank constant was just a little different? How about “close enough” for the gravitational constant? What would it look like if the quantum fields were just slightly different?
God demands perfection because anything other than exactly right, anything “close enough,” and the universe falls apart.
So when Adam and Eve thought, “That looks good. Eating that will be ‘close enough,’” the fate of the universe was sealed.
What makes you think an imperfect being - you or me, or your favorite sports star - can ever satisfy a perfect God?
Only the ultimate price can pay back what our imperfection caused. As an imperfect being we aren’t qualified to pay that price.
Only the perfection of Jesus can satisfy the demands of a perfect God.
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