What if we could travel through the microscopic world and enter the amazing environment of a single, solitary, minuscule human cell—just one of the trillions in your body? What an amazing world of wonder we would encounter! There, within this infinitesimally small and elegantly ordered domain, we would see complicated molecular machinery busily carrying out the functions that make our lives on earth possible! Traveling to the heart of the cell—its nucleus—we would find the “brains” of this invisible, unfathomably small world: an incredibly thin, unbelievably long strand of atoms that form a molecule, the existence of which is truly a miracle.
That miracle molecule is deoxyribonucleic acid—more commonly known as DNA—and it represents a technological feat of divine design and engineering that is truly a wonder to behold! God declared that each living creature reproduces “according to its kind” (Genesis 1:21–25), so that children resemble their parents, and it is through this invisible molecular agent of DNA that God breathes life at His command. DNA is, quite literally, the blueprint of all life on earth.
Biologist James Watson and physicist Francis Crick shared a Nobel Prize in 1962 for discovering the structure of DNA, and what they discovered was simply amazing! Far from being a jumbled arrangement of atoms, DNA possesses an elegant and clearly well-designed structure.
The shape of DNA resembles a spiraling ladder—a shape known as a double helix. The two “legs” of the ladder are composed of sugars and phosphates, and the “rungs” or “steps” of the ladder are called base pairs. The sequence of these base pairs is what gives DNA its remarkable capacity for containing and communicating vast amounts of information: the physical blueprint that makes you you!
Just four biological compounds—adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G) and thymine (T)—combine in pairs to form the base pair “rungs” of DNA molecules. These molecules in nearly every cell of our bodies contain these base pairs in special and unique sequences that encode the many instructions directing our cells to build the complicated network of molecular machinery that makes our bodies what they are.
The information encoded in the long strands of the DNA molecule enables our bodies to assemble all the proteins needed for various functions, just like a computer reads its instructions from a hard drive. Indeed, the DNA molecular code, formed by specific sequences composed of the A, C, G and T bases, acts very much like the specific sequences of binary computer code composed of the digits 0 and 1.
For instance, in computers that use the ASCII binary code to represent text, the sequence 010001000110000101100100 would encode the English word “Dad.” Similarly, in a strand of DNA the sequence CAGAAGCCA tells the cellular machinery to produce the amino acid chain glutamine-lysine-proline. Just as 0s and 1s combine to contain and communicate the information that runs every modern computer in existence, it is these strings of four simple chemical bases—A, C, G and T—that contain and communicate the very blueprint for every living organism on earth!
Furthermore, DNA is a high-tech information storage device par excellence. Science is only now beginning to truly comprehend the vast capabilities of God’s design in this elegantly crafted molecule—a capacity that far exceeds anything mankind has invented! Some recent, fascinating experiments have helped to illustrate the remarkable capacity of this amazing invention of Almighty God.
In the September 2012 issue of the journal Science, molecular geneticist George Church and his colleagues reported that they were able to encode a copy of Church’s book Regenesis in a strand of DNA, then to successfully decode it to retrieve the original text, just as one could do with a computer’s hard drive. As they wrote in the abstract of their groundbreaking paper, “DNA is among the most dense and stable information media known.”
Another similar experiment made this even more dramatically clear. The prestigious journal Nature reported in January 2013 that a team of scientists encoded all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets, the original scientific paper by Francis Crick and James Watson about the structure of DNA, a color photograph of the European Bioinformatics Institute in England and an audio excerpt of Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech in a tiny bit of DNA. They then mailed the DNA—in a vial with no special packaging—from the United States to Germany, where colleagues were able to successfully decode the contents back into their original text, visual and audio formats.
The scientists suggest that their technique “could eventually be scaled up to create a storage capacity far beyond all the digital information stored globally today” (“DNA Data Storage: 100 Million Hours of HD Video in Every Cup,” Phys.org). That amount of information would be approximately one zettabyte—a staggering one million million gigabytes! In fact, they claim that the amount of DNA that would fit in a standard coffee cup would be enough to store 100 million hours of high-definition video. That is enough high-definition video to play continuously—24 hours a day, every single day—for more than 10,000 years. All in a single coffee cup.
For those who do not believe in an Almighty God who created life, and who designed it for His own wonderful purposes, the existence of this remarkable molecule is quite a hurdle to clear! Scientists exploring the origin of life but failing to consider a Divine Designer find themselves facing the proverbial “chicken and egg” dilemma, since the proteins used to read the DNA code are, themselves, created using the DNA code! The detailed information in DNA cannot be read without complex, specialized proteins, designed for the task of decoding it. Yet the complex, specialized proteins cannot be created without the detailed instructions stored within DNA!
Many biochemists are pouring passionate effort into creating a mythical and mysterious “creation without God” story in the laboratory, seeking to discover a plausible scenario in which information-carrying molecules can assemble themselves randomly and begin reproducing themselves. Yet, despite all their efforts so far, they have failed. Just as a complex computer program demands a programmer who must have written it, the presence of the absolutely remarkable information-rich DNA molecule at the very foundation of every living creature on earth cries out to all who are willing to hear that life requires design, and design must come from a supremely intelligent Designer!
With every cell reading the programs encoded in our DNA—like a hundred trillion computers reading a hundred trillion hard drives, every second of every day of our lives—our very bodies demand that we believe in a Creator! As science reveals more and more wonders of the human body and of life on earth, we can lift our voices to God alongside King David of Israel, saying, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14)!