Many years ago whilst working in a drawing office I found that my boss was slightly taller than me standing exactly 6’3” [1.905] and I was one eighth shorter than him [I’m talking imperial measure for that is what we used at that time]. To prove this we stood back to back and a ruler was placed across our heads. It sloped downwards just marginally in my direction which proved he was a tad taller. It’s good that I was not affected by this or else I would have a major mental issue over that discovery! A modern sociologist could argue my life was blighted by such a revelation. Just one-eighth or about 3mm made the difference. I came up short. No amount of stretching would increase my height; it was 1.902 and his 1.905 metres. Perhaps if I had been put on a medieval rack it might have made a difference!
My grandfather was 6’2.5” [1,882] and the smallest in his family of seven boys. The tallest was 6’7.” I clearly follow Grandad. I have twin grandsons who are both six feet at just 16, and might exceed me in stature – we shall see. They clearly follow me as I followed Grandad. I have one son who is six feet, and my other grandsons have not fully grown. However, research has concluded that mankind is shrinking. I have just read an article that explains we are getting smaller and that includes our brains. Cambridge University experts believe mankind is now past its peak, and that modern-day people are ten percent smaller and shorter than their hunter-gatherer ancestors who also had larger brains. This concept now reverses perceived wisdom that we are taller and larger.
This change has occurred over the last 10,000 years and is due, say scientists, to agriculture with restricted diets and urbanisation compromising health and leading to the spread of disease. Fossils found in Israeli caves dating back 120,000 to 200,000 years reveal a people who were tall and muscular and this continued until relatively recent times. An average person 10,000 years ago weighed between 12st 8lb and 13st 6lb – today the average is 11st and 12st 8lb. They say this change started about 9,000 years ago for, whilst farming would have made more food available, it was restricted in its vitamins. In China for instance the early farmers relied on cereals such as buckwheat, rice and maize, all of which lack niacin, a B vitamin vital for growth.
The brains of those men who lived 20,000 years ago measured 1,500 cubic centimetres but now they measure 1,350 cubic centimetres a decrease the size of a tennis ball; female brains have decreased proportionately. This has not made us less intelligent, but helped to use our resources better. However current levels of intelligence can never be measured against past levels; they could have been less intelligent but may have been wiser, and had a better God consciousness.
This leads me to say “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? [Matt 6:27]. You can’t, so stop worrying, and it further says in context “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing.” [Matt 6:25-26]. People fret about time-restricted things, but unfortunately not about eternal things.
People have over the generations struggled with who they are, endeavouring to change their shape and size, and clothe their frame with garments that enhance their figures and accentuate their beauty. This vain stab at personal glamour and glory tends to consume their time and money inordinately as they fritter life away on non-essentials. I am sure hunter-gatherers were not interested in fashion parades; perhaps they were too intelligent for that!
We may be smaller today than in previous generations, but let us not forget it’s how big we are inside that counts. Let the Bible speak: “Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;” [Eph 4:13]. He fills eternity, he can fill you. You can be like a Tardis, bigger inside than outside.