Christian Worldview

Junk or Jewels?

Question of the Week: Aren’t you just giving God credit for what you don’t understand? Read Chuck Colson’s response, taken from Answers to Your Kids' Questions: Does any of the scientific evidence support the view that God had to be involved? To answer this question, let’s delve deeper into the issue of creation and design. At the core of life is the DNA molecule. Geneticists tell us the structure of DNA is identical to a language. It acts like a code, a molecular communication system within the cell. . . . The average DNA molecule contains as much information as a city library! Think about that. . . . Some of the newer discoveries about DNA offer even more powerful evidence for God’s role in creation. Since the 1960s, scientists have known that the DNA molecule is like a written message containing instructions for every living structure, from fish to flowers. But in higher organisms, the DNA code is broken up by sections of what looks like sheer nonsense—long DNA sequences that don’t seem to mean anything. Scientists have dubbed these sequences “junk” DNA. Kenneth Miller, a biologist at Brown University, uses junk DNA to criticize the idea of divine creation. How can we believe God directly created us, Miller argues, if the human genome is littered with genetic trash? An intelligent Creator wouldn’t write nonsense into our genes. But one researcher’s junk can be another’s jewels. Other scientists have discovered that junk DNA does important work after all. It functions to correct errors and regulate genes, turning them on and off at appropriate times. In short, what once appeared to be nonsense DNA actually makes very good sense. It seems that the foes of the creation view spoke too soon—and put their feet squarely in their mouths. DNA actually provides remarkable evidence for creation, giving a new twist to the classic design argument presented nearly two hundred years ago by the English clergyman William Paley. He talked in terms of finding a watch on a beach. Anyone finding such a complex gadget would assume that an intelligent being designed it. Today science offers a much more striking analogy than any that William Paley could give—namely, the identical structure in written messages and the DNA molecule. Suddenly, the design argument has become much more compelling. Nevertheless, schools continue to teach evolution to students. The National Association of Biology Teachers released a position statement on the teaching of evolution, a statement that stomps all over even the possibility of a Creator. “The diversity of life on earth,” the biologists grandly announced, “is the outcome of evolution: an unsupervised, impersonal . . . process,” governed by “natural selection, chance . . . and changing environments.” Creation beliefs, they added sternly, “have no place in the science classroom.” No wonder our kids are confused. These teachers are behaving as if the debate between Darwinism and creationism is all over and the Darwinists won, when the evidence supporting Darwinism is actually getting weaker and weaker. The problem is, the case for creationism isn’t easy to explain either. Perhaps William Steig’s children’s story Yellow and Pink best illustrates the case for creation [in terms younger children can understand]. The story opens with a pair of wooden puppets, one painted pink, the other yellow, lying on a scrap of newspaper. Suddenly the yellow puppet sits up. “Who are we?” he asks. “How [did we get] to be here?” “Someone must have made us,” replies the pink puppet. The yellow puppet can’t accept that. “I say we’re an accident,” he declares. “Somehow or other we just happened.” The pink puppet begins to laugh. “You mean these arms I can move this way and that . . . this breathing nose, these walking feet, all of this just happened by some kind of fluke? That’s preposterous!” “Don’t laugh,” the yellow puppet says. “With enough time . . . lots of unusual things could happen. . . . Suppose a branch broke off a tree and fell on a sharp rock . . . so that one end split open and made legs.” And then, he goes on eagerly, “This piece of wood froze, and the ice split the mouth open. [And our] eyes . . . could have been made by . . . woodpeckers.” The pink puppet isn’t convinced. “Explain this,” he says. “How come we’re painted the way we are? . . . How come we can see out of these holes the woodpecker made? And hear?” Just then, a man comes along and scoops up the puppets. On the last page of the book, we see the yellow puppet—the one who was convinced that life “just happened”—whisper a question to his pink friend. “Who is this guy?” Like the puppets, biologists speculate about life’s origins. And, just like the yellow puppet, they sometimes come up with bizarre solutions that exclude even the possibility of a Creator. William Steig’s amusing story shows how implausible the “impersonal, unsupervised” theory really is. When biologists reject God, they have to come up with some other explanation, however improbable, for how life began. But perhaps best of all, the story beautifully illustrates how asking these hard questions and pondering the necessity of a Creator may ultimately lead your teenager to wonder, like the yellow puppet, “Who is this guy?” “We are not inferring design from what we do not know, but from what we do know.”—Michael Behe, Darwin’s Black Box.


Chuck Colson



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