Thursday, August 30, 2012

Chance or Design? Amazing Feats inside the Human Body

Purkinje neurons - masters of motor coordination
Photo by: Annie Cavanagh

Amazing Feats inside the Human Body

I never stop being amazed at the complexity, intricacy and engineering marvel of the human body. The human body contains upwards of 10 trillion cells. Each cell, too small for the naked eye to see (0.001 cm3), works as a chemical factory performing thousands of functions, often in a fraction of a second, coordinating each function with thousands of neighboring cells. Each cell can replicate itself within 24 hours. The cell controls hundreds of millions of biochemical and biomechanical events per life cycle. When replacing its DNA, the tiny bacterium E. Coli, copies 1000 nucleotides per second with very few mistakes. Compare this to the robots we have sent to Mars, which are called ‘marvels of human design’. They are about the size of a small car (a billion times larger than a cell), able to do many hundreds of functions, but unable to replicate themselves. Yet atheistic evolutionists consider the cell a result of undirected, random processes.

The information content of these trillion cells operating as a ‘well oiled machine’ is more than all accumulated knowledge  of mankind (estimated to contain bits of information with ten raised to the  two millionth power). Our brain, the organ that processes information, controls the body functions and is the seat of our consciousness is made up of 80-120 billion neurons. Each neuron made up of 100,000 molecules, and each neuron has thousands of connections to  its neighbor neurons (called axons and synapses).

Another critical organ, the human heart, pumps 22 liters (6 quarts) of blood through 96,000 miles of arteries and capillaries, beats 100,000 times in 24 hrs and continues to do so for an average lifespan of 80 years, without repair. Which man-made pump can match such a feat? And yet, some consider this unique organ to be the result of unguided, random processes developed over eons of time.

These are just a few examples of the wonders in God’s world exhibited in our own bodies. The Psalmist wrote in worship and wonder, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful”. Psalm 139:14.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Who is El-Shaddai?


There are a number of attributes that characterize  the  God of the bible. To help one appreciate and remember His greatness, four outstanding characteristics can be expressed using four words, all starting with the letter “P”.
God is Powerful: He created trillions upon trillions of stars, in a trillion galaxies spanning the vastness of the universe. An average star emits energies at its surface, equivalent to multi-megaton hydrogen bombs - every second! Prophet Isaiah informs us in chapter 40, that God measures the vast universe with the palm of his hand, and calls each star by name, such that none may be lost (in science we call this the law of conservation of mass and energy).
God is Purposeful: He is the intelligent designer that has created everything in nature purposefully. Our privileged planet, the earth, is just one example among many. Its precise distance from the sun allows water to exist in liquid form, which in turn allows for life to emerge and prosper. The location of the sun at the edge of the Milky Way galaxy, and its distance from other suns, allows for stable planetary orbits. In addition, the distance from nearby stars allows for a dark night to exist on earth and enables astronomers to explore the heavens and discover its mysteries.
God is Personal: He created mankind in his image in order to be able to communicate with us, both through his creation and through his Word. He endows his creatures with wisdom and honor to enable them to become creators and communicators themselves.
God is a Provider: He cares for his creatures through his love exhibited in nature and in his Word.  Although he can count and name the trillion upon trillion stars, he assures us that even the hairs on our head are counted! Again, in chapter 40 of Isaiah, it says that ”he gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak”. The most incomprehensible demonstration of his love happened when he visited planet earth in the person of Jesus Christ, who lived, suffered and died to save mankind from death and who offers instead, abundant life, to all who accept his gift.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Porous Boundaries


What is the largest organ in the human body? The usual answer is ‘the lungs’ or ‘the intestines’ or ‘the stomach’. But surprisingly, the largest organ in our bodies is our skin! It is so much a part of our being that we forget it is there. Yet the skin is our first line of defense against infection, warns us of danger through its trillions of neural endings and keeps us comfortable through temperature regulation. Our skin provides a physical boundary between us and the outside world. Boundaries are sensitive areas. Geopolitical boundaries are defended vigorously and often violently. Personal boundaries, when crossed, are met with resentment. We need boundaries to establish our limits as well as to restrain the evil of which we are capable. 

When we look beyond our earth’s boundary, the atmosphere, and gaze at the heavens, boundaries seem to disappear. Space appears infinite. Apart from the stars, galaxies and gases, the universe appears to consist of vast areas of empty space. One of Einstein’s amazing insights was that space and time are intimately connected, and that space is not empty, but provides the structure for objects to move through time. Space is not nothing, but can be likened to a fabric that can bend, ripple and stretch. (The illustration above shows how planet earth alters the fabric of space. It also shows the Gravity Probe B, which provided the final proof of the space-time hypothesis.) Perhaps the illustration we can best understand is to compare space to water. A fish is not aware of the concept of water, but feels its effects and interacts with it naturally. For a fish, water is the medium through which he moves.

This new understanding of space is called the space-time continuum. In a recent Nova program on PBS titled “The Fabric of the Cosmos”, Brian Greene explores the new physics, which is beginning to show just how porous and interactive the boundaries are in our universe. It is fascinating stuff!  The Apostle Paul, when speaking to a skeptical audience in Athens said, “(God) determined the times set for mankind and the exact places where they should live. (He set boundaries.) God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:26-28) I love to think of God, the creator of space and time, surrounding us like space. Although in our daily lives we don’t see space or even think about it, it is there. Perhaps if we only had the eyes to see, we could see a reality all around us, close enough to touch. Imagine being able to reach out through the porous boundaries of the space-time continuum and touch God.

To watch the PBS program in full (55 minutes)What is Space? featuring Dr. Brian Green
For a shorter explanation of space see:  PBS Interview with Dr. Brian Greene