Implications of an Intelligently Designed Alphabet—DNA, part 3.
He said to me, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true…
I am the Α and the Ω [the A and the Z],
the beginning and the end [of God’s Alphabet].”[i]
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through [the Word] all things were made;
without [the Word] nothing was made that has been made.
In [the Word] was life…[ii]
Part 1 showed DNA is an intelligently designed complex code or language. Part 2 discussed some of the evidence DNA was made to allow life to adapt (evolve) in response to changing circumstances. It also shows how humans have discovered tools to modify the life code, almost at will. If God wrote a note, would you be willing to read it?
1.1 DNA and Darwin
Darwin knew nothing of genetics, nothing of DNA. What has this increase of scientific knowledge done to Darwin’s theories? Month by month we have increasing information from the DNA codes written into every living cell. Some of the DNA proves things have evolved—living things change over time, they mutate, they adapt, they respond to the environment. But instead of supporting Darwin’s idea that random mutations selected by survivability explain the diversity and complexity of life, the DNA evidence contradicts it.
The DNA evidence does not support a Darwinian “Tree of Life.” Life is not a tree of branches evolving from one common ancestor to another; life is a garden of independent bushes! Life uses common parts and designs but in unrelated ways. Similar functions appear in unrelated organisms. Materialistic evolutionists resort to calling this fact “convergent evolution.”[iii]
As Casey Luskin has stated, Darwinians appeal to convergence in order to have it both ways: basically, “biological similarity implies common ancestry, except when it doesn’t.”[iv] Different unrelated life forms with useful functions “emergent” are evidence for a “grand pattern in life” that fits very snugly with the hypothesis of a designer, if materialists could permit one.
Human DNA and the DNA of a carrot share at least 50% of the same genetic code, but this does not show that we evolved from carrots! It shows a designer coded the life that makes a carrot live and reproduce for all the bunnies, muskrats, and vegans of the world. And the same codes are used in different ways to allow bunnies, muskrats, and vegans to also live and reproduce. Each according to its kind.
There is a single common elegant language/code and necessary mechanisms, stored in an optimal storage system preserved by elegant error correction and defense mechanisms that ensure only interesting changes, not fatal ones, will happen by the passage of time and chance. This is not evidence of randomness, mutations, and chance; this is clear evidence of planning, forethought, and design.
Honest Darwinians admit what DNA is telling us:
“Maybe it’s time for us to retire the long-serving metaphor of the evolutionary tree of life, and certainly the pictures of apes to ape-men to man-apes.”[v] “Old bones, combined with new analysis of old DNA, has meant that what was once a confident branching tree has been pollarded and pruned and replanted as an unrooted bush…The more we learn the messier the [evolutionary] picture becomes.”[vi]
The more DNA is studied and understood, the more the facts become incompatible with previous Darwinian speculations. DNA is showing us the limits of random mutations and natural selection. Michael Behe suggests Darwinian mechanisms work at the level of genus and species, but do not explain the origins of novelty and complexity above that level.[vii]
1.2 DNA and Creation
What does God’s DNA language tell us about Genesis? I am not writing this article for Darwinians or Scientific American. I am writing for the readers of Adventist Today, to suggest that nature fully supports the Bible texts introducing these articles.
God, who claims to be the Alpha and Omega, the whole alphabet, the “Word” there “before the beginning,” has created a DNA language/life-code with tools for its implementation. This DNA code/language permits life and its diversification and adaptations to happen. What changes happened are recorded and reproduced by DNA. The book of Genesis suggests, in language its culture could understand, that life was first created simple and then over time became “day by day” more complex–culminating in a God-like humanity: you.
Genesis, although written for cultures thousands of years ago, does not suggest that in creation God “waved a magic wand.” The Bible suggests God in creation was “speaking.” Speaking is encoding information transmitted from one intelligence to another. Study of DNA suggests life was formed by encoded information transmitted from an undetermined (by scientists) source to every living thing on earth. Only one source is known for intelligent information, for code, for language—a mind, a designer.
1.3 Six Creation Explosions
The fossil record is no challenge to creationism but actually records evidence for the progressive creation of life. The famous “Cambrian explosion” of new life forms found in the earliest layers is only one of many fossil recorded creative “explosions” showing diversified and newly adaptive life forms. These “explosions” of new life forms usually come after an “extinction event” recorded in the fossils.[viii]
Starting at the bottom of today’s Grand Canyon (Cambrian) and moving higher geological layer-by-layer, paleologists find at least six great life-explosion creation-type events; and at least five (some count six) major extinction-dark periods. I have wondered if these six “explosion events” are paralleled by the six “creation days” of the Genesis account? That may just be wishful thinking, but both geology and Genesis agree that the creation of life was not instantaneous but progressive.
1.4 DNA on Genesis
If DNA is God’s code language for life, shouldn’t Christians be eager to try and read it? Don’t we want to discover what this code could tell us about creation? Could we let God’s DNA life code illuminate, clarify or suggest new understandings of Genesis?
- Life appears to have been intelligently designed.
- The necessary complex information and the complex machinery to apply it appears in every living cell as a beautiful, efficient, and durable “WORD”—an optimized form of information in a language/code.
- This life information seems to have been carefully selected and prepared encrypted using chemicals from “the dust of the earth.”
- There is no life found without this code, so it appears that the code and its Coder were there before any life forms came into being.
- DNA has mechanisms that protect or conserve the code, but DNA also has the possibility of adaptation of life to changing environments. DNA changes explain why we do not have only one dog, but multiple dog-like animals. This explains why we don’t have just one orchid but thousands of unique but related orchids. This explains why we have not only one kind of human but, as we sang in Sabbath School, “red and yellow, black and white–all are precious in His sight.”
- Y-chromosomal DNA and maternal mitochondrial DNA are special forms of DNA that both testify that all humans on earth today came from the same ancient sources. Geneticists speak of the “genetic Adam” and the “genetic Eve” (while insisting that this was a “small group” of modern humans somewhere). I personally am OK with a small group of two. But in any case, science supports and does not contradict an Adam and Eve narrative, all humans from the same beginning.
- DNA is another natural clock[ix] and DNA suggests that the history of life is long, not short and recent.
- Comparing DNA from different living things does show that life’s created code has changed, adapted, or evolved over time. This has happened not helter-skelter, but intelligently, purposefully. Things adapt and evolve, because they were created capable of doing this. The intelligently designed information and the cellular machinery able to protect and reproduce helpful modifications make adaptive change possible.
1.5 DNA and Adventists
Adventist have adopted Revelation 14 and its three angelic messages as our hallmark:
Then I saw another angel flying in midair,
and he had the eternal gospel
to proclaim to those who live on the earth—
to every nation, tribe, language and people.
He said in a loud voice,
“Fear God and give him glory,
because the hour of his judgment has come.
Worship him who made
and the springs of water.”[x]
The first angel’s message is to promote worship not of “
WHEN he made heaven and earth,” or “ HOW he made heaven and earth,” but to worship him “WHO made heaven and earth.”[xi]
Every kindred, tongue, and nation are invited to worship the fact of an intelligently designed creation, not the chronology of creation, nor the science of creation. The fact that creation was accomplished with a marvelous intelligently designed code, DNA, should be a common meeting ground open to all believers and non-believers alike. Adventists need to stop stumbling at the when and how of creation, and return to our heaven-sent message of promoting the worship of the Who of creation.
Can Christians listen to the exciting new discoveries of science and refocus our previous literal interpretations of Genesis? Now that the code of life is being cracked, can we not pay attention to God’s “language in cells”? If the evidence shows us not a chance, random, accidental, Darwinian view of life, but instead a beautiful, complex, optimized, intelligently designed, code in every living cell—surely Seventh-day Adventist Christians will want to listen to what God’s language in the cell reveals?
Our Jesus is the Word of God. Our Bibles are the Word of God. DNA in all life appears to be God’s Alphabet creating us and all living things. Shall we listen to the Word of God in our cells?
[i] Paraphrase combining NIV, Greek Orthodox 1904, and God’s Word (GW) translations of Revelation 21:5,6.
[ii] John 1:1-4 with pronoun “him” replaced with “[the Word]” for emphasis.
[iii] “Thus, multiple authors have attempted to draw larger conclusions by compiling long, impressive lists of examples of convergence…The general argument is that the long lists indicate that convergence is surprisingly, unexpectedly ubiquitous, and that this ubiquity indicates the surprising prevalence of some factor—some combination of shared adaptive regimes or shared developmental constraints, perhaps, or an unexpected limit to the number of possible adaptive regimes or developmental programmes—that limits evolution to a greater degree than is currently acknowledged by evolutionary researchers…” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4633856/#s4title [Or perhaps it just shows that things were intelligently designed?]
[v] Adam Rutherford, A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes (New York: The Experiment. 2017), 19.
[vi] Rutherford, p 20.
[vii] Jack Hoehn has discussed Michael Behe’s books on the limits of evolution here: https://atoday.org/the-last-straw-does-this-break-evolution/
[viii] “Evolution favors grand entrances and dramatic exits. Thanks to the dinosaurs, we’re most familiar with the latter, in the form of sudden extinctions, but there have been equally spectacular, if less ballyhooed, bursts of creation as well.” Introduction to article in Discover Magazine, “Life’s Grand Explosions”—http://discovermagazine.com/1996/jan/lifesgrandexplos645
[x] Revelation 14:6,7.
Jack Hoehn is a frequent contributor to both the print and online versions of Adventist Today. He has served on the Adventist Today Foundation board since 2012. He and his wife Deanne live in Walla Walla, Washington. He has a BA in Religion from Pacific Union College, and an MD from Loma Linda University. He was a licensed minister of the Adventist church for 13 years when serving as a missionary physician in Africa.