Closer To God One Synthetic Cell At A Time

Cells stained for keratin and DNA: such parts ...
Image via Wikipedia

The world has made an amazing scientific leap. I don’t know where we are leaping yet, but I sense it will be far and wide. Last May, the Wall Street Journal reported that Scientists Have Created A Synthetic Cell. Heralding a new era in biology, scientists for the first time have created a synthetic cell, completely controlled by man-made genetic instructions. The day of the announcement, I wrote this blog post – but, for some reason I never hit the “publish” button and it sat quietly in my “draft” queue – until today. At the time of the article’s release I wondered how the world would react to this news? Would the media pounce, or ignore? Would the breakthrough be applauded or picketed? Only time would tell.  For me, the discovery was another witness of God.

“This is literally a turning point in the relationship between man and nature…For the first time, someone has generated an entire artificial cell with predetermined properties.” – Dr. Richard Ebright, Rutgers University

The new  ‘living, breathing’ cell we are talking about here is actually a form of synthetic bacteria which is capable of reproducing. If I understand correctly, it was created by painstakingly mapping the entire genetic code of just one cell of a live bacteria, then inputting all of that data slowly into a computer, and then carefully re-creating it line by line with synthetic material. They started this whole process way back in 1995.

Scanning electron micrographs of M. mycoide,

So, it’s literally taken them 15 years to create one living cell. Of course, it stands to reason that with the huge advancements in computer technology over the past 15 years, the time it will take these scientists to now ‘recreate what they have re-created’ will be significantly reduced.

OK. Do I understand all of this? Nope.

Do I know what it could mean in terms of the future? Not yet.

I’m sure sci-fi novelists and movie makers are rubbing their hands with glee at the plot prospects opening before their creative minds. There are sure to be a few bio-terror conspiracy theories brewing. All par for the course, since historically human beings tend to fear things we don’t understand. But, my reaction when I read the article, was nothing short of spiritual affirmation.

In short: What I believe these scientists have really discovered is another witness of God, His power of creation, and our true potential as His children to one day be like Him.

To me, this discovery illustrates once again that the more knowledge we can gain, the more mysteries of God can be revealed and opened up for our use.

Father and Children

Let us consider God as The Great Scientist. He is able to Create all life because He understands all of the rules of science that applies to each creation on a grand universal scale which our mortal brains cannot comprehend. Now, consider also God as Our loving Father, who like any good dad is eager to teach and train His children everything He knows. It stands to reason that if we apply ourselves, and study hard, He is going to help us and give us a little more and more and more, until we can eventually learn all that He has learned, and know what He knows! If we give God a questioning, seeking, open mind – then He can fill it. We defintiely have the ability to discover the rules He operates under, one step at a time: 

“For he will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith.” [see D&C 98:12 and Isaiah 28:10]

To me, science is nothing other than a divine tool from God to teach us Eternal Truth. Science truly unlocks the Universe . . .Worlds without End!

Only time will tell how controversial or helpful this new “synthetic cell creation” discovery will become. The article indicates that the scientists actually consulted and diliberated long and hard before releasing the news to the world. Understandably, they didn’t want to set off another “Clone War” – but, doesn’t it seem a crying shame that a scientist would ever have to experience fear of sharing his newest discovery? Sadly, there still are plenty of small-minded bullies living in adult bodies. We can all learn a lot from History. In the past, whenever a scientific discovery was perceived to be ‘stepping on the toes of God’, there’s been an outcry. For my part, I don’t get that kind of logic. Don’t you think God can take perfectly good care of Himself? If He really doesn’t want us to know something, do you think we could somehow hack into His holy database undetected, or stumble onto heavenly information by “accident”? No. If God wanted the secret of life continually shrouded in “mystery”, then we would still be living in caves. If someone truly believes that there is a God, and that He is the Creator of Heaven and Earth, then one must also believe in Science as the framework of God’s Creative Power. For me, Science confirms that God exists. It also continually confirms how much MORE He knows than we do! What took a huge team of scientists 15 long years, thousands of computers, and billions of dollars to carefully craft and create, God can do   in a blink of an eye with His matchless power, and the results are infinitely better! However, I find this latest discovery incredibly exciting, and I’m in awe of the researchers who made it happen. It’s momentous! And this is coming from a non ‘science-y’ type person. My aptitude lies solidly in Language and the Arts. I barely passed Chemistry, and I’m admittedly hopeless with numbers.  I freely confess I have no idea what the full ramifications or uses are for this latest cell creation discovery [since last May there have been some exciting possibilities surfacing – see links below]. Frankly, I don’t even think the scientific community has a firm grasp on what this discovery can do yet. But, that’s ok. They will. My small mind perceives that “synthetic cell creation” has the potential to be really BIG. Whatever lies ahead, it testifies to me that God “has revealed, and has yet to reveal many great and marvelous things to [His children]“. [ Articles of Faith 1:9] History has already proven that those who are willing to embrace new discoveries, are embracing their divine destiny.  – MoSop

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