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February 20, 2014 / BTM

God Left His Fingerprints Inside Your Body

Bacterial flagellum

Inside your body are incredibly sophisticated, molecular-sized ‘machines’ with numerous finely calibrated, moving parts designed to perform a specific function.  One kind of molecular machine is pictured to the left.

In fact, life – including yours – is based on, and supported by, molecular machines.

This is the fourth ‘fingerprint’ post in my Finding the Fingerprints of God series.  I’m going to give you some background on what’s so great about molecular machines, and in my next post I’ll share some ideas on how to teach about them to young children.

First, take a look at some of the molecular machines that have been discovered:

cilium-structure

Cilium structure

A scanning electron micrograph image of the issus gears

There are also systems inside the body that are highly choreographed and must be executed precisely or they fail to do their job.  For example, the way your body responds to clot blood around a wound is a system that acts like a molecular machine – the entire system must all occur precisely in order, with no steps missing.  If it didn’t, you would bleed to death.

blood clotting

Blood clotting system

A single-celled organism is supported by numerous molecular machines working together.  They have the same level of sophistication as a high-tech factory.  Michael Behe (biochemist) explains:

“… molecular machines haul cargo from one place in the cell to another along “highways” made of other molecules, while still others act as cables, ropes, and pulleys to hold the cell in shape.  Machines turn cellular switches on and off, sometimes killing the cell or causing it to grow.  Solar-powered machines capture the energy of photons and store it in chemicals.  Electrical machines allow current to flow through nerves.  Manufacturing machines build other molecular machines, as well as themselves.  Cells swim using machines, copy themselves with machinery, ingest food with machinery.  In short, highly sophisticated molecular machines control every cellular process.  Thus, the details of life are finely calibrated and the machinery of life enormously complex.  (Link to full article)

One cell is as complicated as a high-tech factory, or a city!  Imagine all of that buzzing around inside all the cells in your body.

Now ask yourself, how did these machines get built? 

If there is no God and we are just the product of blind, purposeless evolutionary forces, then everything that exists must have been built slowly, piece by piece.  Darwin wrote in Origin of the Species:

“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”

The kinds of molecular machines that we are discovering inside living things couldn’t possibly have been built slowly and successively, with each step resulting in a fully functioning machine at each stage in the evolutionary process.   Molecular machines must have all of their pieces in place in order to function.  Some, like cilia, require 200 pieces to be in place in order to function.  Cilia aren’t just less efficient when one of their 200 pieces is missing; they don’t work at all.  We say they are irreducibly complex, meaning they have numerous working parts and all their parts must be in the right place in order to work at all – they could not have been slowly built over time.

Bruce Alberts, the former president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences stated:

‘The entire cell can be viewed as a factory that contains an elaborate network of interlocking assembly lines, each of which is composed of a set of large protein machines. . . .  Why do we call the large protein assemblies that underlie cell function protein machines?  Precisely because, like machines invented by humans to deal efficiently with the macroscopic world, these protein assemblies contain highly coordinated moving parts.’ (emphasis mine, Link to full article)

‘Highly coordinated moving parts’. ‘ Just like machines invented by humans’.  Isn’t the existence of such spectacular machines inside your body evidence of God’s handiwork?  How else could machines that look similar in so many ways to ones invented by humans  be the result of blind, purposeless forces?  Remember, these molecular machines were discovered after the machines invented by humans.  Molecular machines make me think of the passage by Paul in Romans 1:20 that discusses God’s fingerprints in general revelation:

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (NASB, emphasis mine)

Here’s a great video that will give you more information about molecular machines.

Molecular machines are one of the fingerprints God has left behind for us to discover.  We enjoyed giving our kids a glimpse of how intricately God designed life, even at its most microscopic levels.

Try this child-friendly activity to teach this lesson to your children.

Photo credits:

Bacterial flagellum: http://www.ideacenter.org/stuff/contentmgr/files/9147e04fc268407ac48a8915b73ef8e2/misc/flagellum.jpg

Issus gears: http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/the-first-gear-discovered-in-nature-15916433

Cilium structure: http://images.tutorvista.com/content/cell-organization/cilium-structure.jpeg

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2 Comments

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  1. Carrie / Feb 21 2014 11:08 am

    Thanks for your work breaking this information down into fun object lessons for kids… We’re asking our small group babysitter if she would like to attempt the lego cell city with the kids duing our next meeting… So you may be giving us some of our small group curriculum for the kids! 🙂

    • BTM / Feb 22 2014 5:40 pm

      That’s a great idea!

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