Blueprint for a Cell

Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come? Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? did not the LORD, he against whom we have sinned? for they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto his law. Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.

(Isaiah 42:23-25)

In a his book called “Blueprint for a Cell: The Nature and Origin of Life” Nobel Laureate Christian DeDuve demonstrates conclusively that all of life is based on cellular construction.

Life is one. Whatever form in which it manifests itself, whatever its habitat and type of adaptation, it uses the same structures, the same kinds of molecules, the same chemical reactions, the same language, with hardly any variation worthy of mention.

Recent advances have revealed a small number of basic concepts of universal significance behind the diversity and complexity of living processes.

– Christian DeDuve, Blueprint for a cell.

DeDuve takes the first half of his book to show, with loving detail, the common thread belonging to all life. “All life is one”. All the components are mutually connected, there’s an interdependent web of life, and this is true for all life. He should have ended his book here with the words, “Thanks be to God”.

However, DeDuve then embarks on a much more politically correct odyssey. He sets out to demonstrate the steps by which the original cell evolved. This is ironic, since the rest of science has been trying to separate evolution and abiogenesis.

DeDuve takes the second half of his book and with it declares that all life is not one, but made up of many independently (randomly) derived components. He cuts all the strings in the web of life, to force a fit with evolutionary theory. The beauty of the first half of his book is ruined by his capitulation in the second, and he both builds and destroys his arguments in one fell swoop.

It was, of course, a natural step to take in the grand scheme of the development of evolutionary theory. Sooner or later someone would strip apart the very molecules of life, arrange them from simple to complex, and superimpose them on the geological time scale. In the preface DeDuve notes that he originally set out to write a small book that showed that life is one. But, he felt that in order to do this, he had to prove that this statement could be possible in the context of evolution.

This is the ultimate irony of the “I think, therefore I am” mentality. Are our real, tangible, observations on the nature of life, only true if they can be fitted into a false theory about the origin of the universe? Is DeDuve’s lifetime of experience and research only valid, if it can be manipulated to fit the theory of the day?

DeDuve complains that, on changing his mission from a small book on the oneness of life, to the rationalization of the random evolution of the cell, he lost most of his potential readership. This was due to the addition of masses of technical jargon. Once this second part was written, DeDuve had to go back and rewrite the first part of the book, to make it compliant, and lost even more readers. The scholarship, effort, and time involved, not to mention the essential beauty of DeDuve’s original goal, are now wrapped up in a smog of technicality that will keep it far away from the grasp of most readers. Worse still, DeDuve says plainly that the second half of the book is completely speculative, but it will undoubtedly be cited, by evolutionary biologists, as if it were the truth.

If we step back from evolutionary dogma, and look at the facts, some real clarity develops. All living organisms are made of cells that contain DNA. This is the opposite of random. The fact that there is inherent similarity between the simplest algae and human beings shows ingenious design, not random chance. The phylogenetic tree of life may reveal the sequence of creation, but there’s no way to prove that it maps evolution back to the original cell.

DNA, its structure, replication and repair should be glorified because it gives us a glimpse of the infinite majesty and wisdom of our Creator God. Sing praises to his name, the one who formed us from clay in his own image. God gave us the connection we have to our environment through DNA and genes, but still he elevated us above all the other living things on earth. Writing a book showing that all life is one is enough on its own merits. Praise the wisdom and majesty of God.

And what do we humans do? As soon as we discover this clue to God’s plan for creation, we turn away, and use it to show that he doesn’t exist! Then we wonder why there are wars, famines, earthquakes, storms and evil throughout the world. Who do we have to blame but ourselves?

DNA phylogenies don’t show that all life evolved from one cell, they show that all life sprang forth from one Creator. DeDuve mentions in passing, “Today, living matter itself has been revealed as one, whereas the vital spirit has disappeared from the preoccupations of biologists”. Biologists won’t dare ask the question “What is the vital spirit of life?” because they don’t want to know the answer. It is much easier to tap away on the computer, grow bacteria in petri dishes, and hypothesize how we got here without God.


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