Yesterday morning after turning on my computer, I read a news flash on CNN, "Did Scientists Create Life From Scratch?" It caught my attention but I did not immediately click on the link as I went about some other tasks. Less than one hour later, when I had some time to look at the article, I went back to the CNN front page and it wasn't there anymore! Bummer, I was really interested.
So I did a web search the next day. When I found it, the new title of the CNN article was taken from the lead scientist's own words: "We Did Not Create Life From Scratch." Funny way to announce a tremendous scientific advancement...by saying what you didn't do. I could be wrong, but it appeared that CNN over-exaggerated in their reporting and that the team responsible for the work stepped in to re-clarify to the media what was and was not done.
All of that aside, a tremendous scientific advancement has taken place. Scientists found a way to take genes, (designed by a computer and compiled from four bottles of chemicals) and successfully transplant that genetic material into another cell which then began to reproduce itself according to the newly acquired synthetic genes. This is the first life form whose genes were built by a computer. Check out the full video interview on this achievement. This breakthrough could produce benefits over the next decades regarding correcting human genetic abnormalities, building vaccines, bio-fuels and other means to improve life.
I applaud the 15 years of work that went into this effort and I also appreciate the candor that these scientists expressed in saying that they did not "create life from scratch". Creating life from scratch is something only God can do.
I once heard a joke that went something like this: Some scientists went to God and said that they had found a way to create life. "God, we now know how life works and what makes it function. We even know how to create life from dirt. In fact, we think that we can improve upon what you originally created that will make humans stronger and live longer lives free of disease and decay." So God indulged them and said, "OK, we’ll both work over in my lab and we'll see who makes the better human." The scientists were led to the most extravagant laboratory they had ever seen. They confidently went about their business only to discover that there was no earth or soil to begin their work with. They went to God and said, "God, we're ready to start but there's no dirt in the lab and we cannot get started until we have that." To this God replied, "Go make your own dirt".
Ok, that was cheesy, but it illustrates that creative power that is needed to truly make life from scratch. Everything we do operates under the umbrella of God's amazing creation. Even the most staunch atheist and/or Darwinian evolutionist will concede to the amazing complexity of the simplest cell, the curious development of living matter from non-living matter, the mystery of consciousness, and the incomprehensible odds of the universe somehow providing an environment suitable for life.
To those of us that believe God is the creative force behind all of nature, we still stand in awe as we learn more about how we are made and the universe we inhabit.
Pastor Adam Barton