Anna Wagner Keichline was born in 1889 and grew up in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. At an early age she demonstrated remarkable aptitude in art and wood crafting. To help develop these talents, her parents prepared a small home workshop and equipped it with a variety of carpentry tools.
By age 14 Anna won first prize at a county fair for designing and building a small table out of oak. An Oct. 18, 1903, Philadelphia Inquirer article stated that Anna’s prizewinning table showed craftsmanship “comparable to that of a highly skilled mechanic.” It further noted, “Such a liking has she taken to industrial art that Miss Anna Keichline expects to make it her life study.”
After graduating high school in 1906, Anna advanced toward her goal by registering at Pennsylvania State College (now Penn State University) as the only woman enrolled in the mechanical engineering program. The following year she transferred to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, to pursue a degree in architecture.
Among the first women to practice architecture
Graduating in 1911, she became the fifth woman to earn that degree from Cornell and was among the first women in the United States to practice the profession. Throughout her career Anna designed buildings in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Washington, D.C. These included private homes and apartment buildings, a school, an automobile dealership, a theatre, a church and many other commercial structures.
Besides designing buildings, Anna was also a prolific inventor and was awarded several U.S. patents. For example, in 1924 she designed an entire kitchen for conservation of space and user convenience. In 1927 she patented the “K-Brick,” which was a forerunner of today’s standard concrete block.
Although Anna was a gifted inventor, her unique architectural designs were the mainstay of a vibrant and highly productive career. Her successful, pioneering work was honored in 2002 by an official Pennsylvania historical marker placed in her hometown near one of her notable architectural creations.
Architecture requires intelligent planning
Just as it was in Anna Keichline’s time, successful architects today must be highly proficient in planning, engineering and communicating their unique ideas to clients. From the smallest house to the tallest skyscraper, functional, safe and economical architectural creations require intelligent planning and careful implementation through to a project’s completion.
While these are basic requirements for human architects, they are of supreme importance to the Eternal God as the Master Architect of all things visible and invisible (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). From start to finish, He has planned meticulously every detail of His perfect architectural blueprint (1 Corinthians 14:33, 1 Corinthians 14:40).
He says: “From the beginning I revealed the end. From long ago I told you things that had not yet happened, saying, ‘My plan will stand, and I’ll do everything I intended to do’” (Isaiah 46:10, God’s Word Translation).
As you observe the stars sparkling in the night sky or view images of galaxies photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope, a question obviously arises: What was God’s purpose in designing and constructing the vast universe? And equally important, why did He create humankind?
Part of the answer to the first question is that God fashioned the universe to display His awesome majesty and power (Psalm 8:1). “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1, New International Version).
God is creating His own family
But why did God create you and all humanity? The Bible provides the clear, exciting answer: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God” (1 John 3:1). The Lord Almighty is in fact developing His very own family and seeks to share His life and creation with His offspring (Ephesians 3:15; Hebrews 2:10).
Having formed you in His exact image, it is His desire that you and all others have a special, Father-child relationship with Him throughout eternity (Genesis 1:26-27; 2 Corinthians 6:18). Scripture explains:
“But one has somewhere testified: ‘What is man that You remember him, or the son of man that You care for him? You made him lower than the angels for a short time; You crowned him with glory and honor and subjected everything under his feet.’ For in subjecting everything to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. As it is, we do not yet see everything subjected to him” (Hebrews 2:6-8, Holman Christian Standard Bible, emphasis added throughout).
This passage not only describes the works of God’s earthly creation being overseen by human beings, but implies that exceedingly greater responsibility awaits them. The expression “everything” is translated from the Greek term ta panta, which means “the all” or “the universe”—meaning the entirety of creation (John 1:3; Revelation 21:7).
But why will God offer you this breathtaking opportunity? The marvelous answer is that He not only loves you, but is preparing you and all people for significantly greater work and service ahead (1 Corinthians 2:9-10; 1 John 4:7-8; 1 John 4:16).
Human beings are God’s supreme creation (Luke 12:7; Exodus 15:13). The Father’s astonishing architectural plan reveals that you, on becoming one of His newly resurrected children, will serve with Jesus Christ when He returns to earth to rule in righteousness and compassion (Ephesians 1:21; Jeremiah 12:15; Jeremiah 33:16). Everything will be placed under His jurisdiction, and He will share His governing duties with all of God’s devoted, virtuous sons and daughters who have been granted everlasting life (Matthew 28:18; 1 Corinthians 15:49-53).
The perfect spiritual blueprint
Similar to how an architect prepares drawings to portray what a finished project will be like, the Master Architect laid out His perfect spiritual blueprint long before the establishment of the universe (2 Timothy 1:9). However, unlike human architects, who are not normally builders but work closely with them, our Creator is both architect and builder. “For he [Abraham] was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10, New International Version).
In preparing for His future family, God first called a handful of faithful people including Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Joseph, David, the biblical prophets and others. After working closely with these dedicated individuals, the next phase of His divine construction blueprint took place when Jesus Christ came to earth the first time as humanity’s spiritual Savior (1 Timothy 1:1).
And what did Christ begin building at that time? He stated: “I will build My church” (Matthew 16:18).
The Church is not a physical structure, but an assembly of people, few in number, whom God chooses to call out of human society (Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 3:9). Through repentance, obedience and baptism, He gives them His matchless gift of His Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).
As new disciples, they begin a rewarding life of growing in character and helping to spread the good news of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God (Matthew 28:19; 2 Peter 3:18). Like Abraham, they too anticipate the time when they will govern with Christ as kings and priests in God’s coming government on earth (Revelation 1:6).
God does not forget or neglect anyone
While the eternal God is working with these few individuals, He certainly does not forget or neglect the multiple billions of other people around the world. Although every one of them will eventually have the opportunity to become a child in God’s spiritual household, He has chosen to work with them in a different manner. This involves what they experience during their lifetimes, and most importantly, how they later apply what they learned.
While God desires that all people would choose to obey His commandments, which are designed for their good, He has given them freedom to decide whether they will or will not (Deuteronomy 30:19).
He has an important purpose in granting human beings free will. He wants everyone to ultimately grasp that without His instruction and guidance, their way of life—deciding for themselves what is right and wrong—leads to only suffering and destruction (Matthew 7:13). “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12; Proverbs 16:25). To help people comprehend this critical lesson, God has, over the centuries, allowed nations to form and experience every conceivable governmental and economic system.
Through this lengthy process He is demonstrating that all humanly designed governments, including modern democracies, are utterly incapable of equitably and uprightly serving and guiding their citizens (Jeremiah 10:23; Jeremiah 17:9). In a perceptive observation about human rule, the renowned World War II-era British prime minister Winston Churchill wrote: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”
When individuals and nations govern themselves without God’s direction, failure is always the result (Romans 3:10-18). Evidence of this has been witnessed throughout history in the evil, anguish, poverty and warfare that has afflicted humanity relentlessly.
God is planning a wonderful future for you
However, God will allow these terrible conditions to exist for only so long. The situation will reach a final, defining moment near the end of human rule on earth when relationships between nations will grow so dangerous as to threaten human extinction (Matthew 24:9; Matthew 24:21-22).
But just before man reaches this point of self-extermination, Jesus Christ will return to the earth in overwhelming power to prevent it from happening (Revelation 19:11-16). He will do so out of infinite love for humankind and because His loyal, obedient brethren will be living through that frightful period (Matthew 24:22).
Not only will Christ save humanity from destruction, but He will set up the Kingdom of God on earth (Matthew 6:10). Jesus will take over the reins of government from human beings and will rule as King of Kings with the assistance of His resurrected saints (Revelation 19:16; 1 Thessalonians 3:13). Then the next electrifying phase of God’s architectural plan will begin.
Returning to Anna Keichline, as one of the first women to enter and master the architectural profession, she carefully planned and implemented her projects through to completion. While this is fundamental for successful human architects, it is of paramount importance to the Eternal God as Master Architect of all things.
Not only has He designed the perfect blueprint to wonderfully transform human society, but He has also designed an exhilarating future for you and all people. How well are you preparing now to become a member of God’s coming divine family?