DNA…You Can’t Escape It! …OK, another somewhat goofy idea I have for a devotion, but stick with me because I think you’ll find it interesting if not amazing. At least it will give you some musing for your weekend that is “out of the norm!”
A couple weeks ago I was reading one of my Smithsonian issues I get online and one article jumped out at me and made me laugh—I mean belly-laugh. Why? The title was “The DNA of Hundreds of Insect Species Is in Your Tea” – really, I thought, this is something worthy of the Smithsonian to have as a lead article? Of course, I had to read it to find out for myself. Wow, here’s just a tidbit of the article for you all:
If the leaves from a tea bag could tell their stories, they would paint a picture of a thousand fleeting interactions. Bees landed on them while pollinating flowers. Caterpillars chewed on them and built cocoons near them. Spiders tethered webs to them…so a team of scientists decided to look into this. They discovered a new way to uncover some of these interactions between plants and animals. They bought teas and herbs from a grocery store and tested the dried and packaged leaves for mīnute remnants of DNA, a method called environmental DNA or eDNA analysis. In their recent study, the team found traces of more than 1200 different arthropod species from their analysis of just four plants: chamomile, mint, tea and parsley. This method can be applied to any dried plants, making it a potentially invaluable tool for monitoring endangered insect species and tracking the spread of crop pests.
OK, you’re probably not dazzled one bit, but think deeply about DNA. No one can escape it–it’s in every living thing on the earth-everything! When DNA was discovered in 1953 by James Watson and Francis Crick, it opened the world to molecular biology and so much more. Who would have thought a double helix twisted-ladder structure of deoxyribonucleic acid would change our world, but it did and continues to do so. DNA has helped separated families find one another; it has helped in crimes especially those unsolved murders that now, with DNA, can be solved and families can have closure. Genomics and DNA are helping with genetics and giving a future to abating cancer and so many other diseases. And now, in the article above, we are helping endangered species and ways to stop disease for crops.
To me, this is a miracle from God because none of us certainly could have made a double helix-twisted-ladder structure to make in our bodies! It was there at Creation and it will never leave us. Is this not a beautiful picture of God our Creator?! Darwin missed this in his theories for sure. DNA is GIC–God’s Information Code! Once scientists began sequencing the human genome more miracles of God’s Code sprang to life. Francis Collins, director of the Human Genome Project found his faith in his work on this, saying “It is humbling for me, and awe-inspiring, to realize that we have caught the first glimpse of our own instruction book, previously known only to God.” Even Bill Gates said “Human DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software we’ve ever created, it is not of this world.”
And that’s why I wanted to do this devotion! In this world we have so many miracles of science, medicine, knowledge, etc. with daily new discoveries. God has not stopped creating and God has not stopped revealing to us at just the right time, the incredible world of that creation. God loves us so much and wants us to be excited about the gifts of creation that he, along with Jesus and the Holy Spirit were all present to create!! The story is NOT new, but every day something is new from what was from the beginning. It is literally impossible that DNA, in all its majestic complexity, accuracy and necessity to life, could have evolved. This is handiwork not of human hands indeed.
In Romans 1:20-23, St. Paul wrote: “But God’s angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth. But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse. What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.”
This Scripture—delightfully if not succinct written from Eugene Peterson’s Message Bible—applies to all humans who have ever lived. From the beginning, people could see the things that were made by God and the incredible complexity and orderliness of creation. But for thousands of years, humankind wasn’t aware of a magnificent part of creation that lies hidden within the cells of every living creature—DNA. In God’s timing it was revealed, and the future will continue with God surprising us with more of his miracles of creation!
So go ahead, drink your tea, no worries about the insect DNA, because truthfully, in the beginning we were all linked together and always will be because we have God’s DNA in us! And please, don’t exchange the miracles of God for human folly and thinking, it’s a bad exchange! Now, can I get praises for our Creator God who continues to create, love, care and delight us with his miracles? AMEN!