The Complexity of the Cell to the Existence of God

The Complexity of the Cell to the Existence of God

The human body is the most sophisticated and awe-inspiring system that exists on Earth. It is made up of thousands of individual sub-systems that are important to its homeostatic balance. Organs like the brain, heart and lungs are but a few of the major parts that allow for our body to adapt and survive in many different environments. The brain controls the palpitations of the heart which sends blood all throughout the body. The blood carries the oxygen received by the lungs and nutrients to all of the organs. Amazingly, this is just a few of the many processes that the human body must perform in order stay alive. Just when we try to wrap our minds around the beautiful complexity of the human body, we are left in even greater awe when we begin to look at the building blocks: the cell.

The cell is the smallest, basic unit of life and makes up all living things. Our bodies are made up of tens of trillions of cells and each one performs tasks that are necessary for life. All cells metabolize, grow and reproduce but some carry out specialized jobs. Neurons are nerve cells that carry messages within the brain. Muscle cells are cylindrical cells of banded fibers that allow for contraction and movement. Leukocytes, (i.e., white blood cells) fight off pathogens to keep the body healthy. The cell, along with the human body, is amazingly complex and leads many to question its origin and development. How did something so complex come into existence? Was it designed by an intelligent mind or was it all by chance and randomness?

The above is a white blood cell attacking a pathogen (i.e., bacteria)

Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins believes that “biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” [1] He agrees that all life, including the cell, is a very complex system but that it only appears to have been designed that way. Dawkins openly shares that evolution is the only explanation for the complexity of the cell and that belief in an intelligent designer is mere superstition and ignorance.

William Paley, an 18th century philosopher and Christian apologist, contributed greatly to the teleological argument for the existence of God. This argument states that there must be a designer since the universe and organisms show marks of design. In his book, Natural Theology, he introduces the watchmaker argument to give reason to the belief that there is an intelligent designer:

“In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone, and were asked how the stone came to be there: I might possibly answer, that, for any thing I knew to the contrary, it had lain there forever; nor would it perhaps be very easy to show the absurdity of this answer. But suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place; I should hardly think of the answer which I had before given,—that, for any thing I knew, the watch might have always been there. Yet why should not this answer serve for the watch as well as for the stone? Why is it not as admissible in the second case, as in the first? For this reason, and for no other, viz. that, when we come to inspect the watch, we perceive (what we could not discover in the stone) that its several parts are framed and put together for a purpose, e. g. that they are so formed and adjusted as to produce motion, and that motion so regulated as to point out the hour of the day; that, if the different parts had been differently shaped from what they are, of a different size from what they are, or placed after any other manner, or in any other order, than that in which they are placed, either no motion at all would have been carried on in the machine, or none which would have answered the use that is now served by it.” (Chapter 1)

We can plainly see the importance and strength of Paley’s argument to God’s existence. If anyone were to come across something as complex as a watch, any reasonable and sincere person would admit that it could not have been constructed solely by time, chance and natural physical laws. We know that someone competent and with a purposeful plan created this watch. All of its parts are necessary in order for it to fulfill its purpose. In fact, if any major part were to disappear, then the watch could not work and will lose its very purpose of providing one with time.

Another example that proves Paley’s point is the carving of the four presidents’ faces on Mount Rushmore near South Dakota. No genuine person could claim that such a carving could ever occur by natural forces in rock formation. It took Doane Robinson and professional sculptors 14 years to see this national attraction realized. If it is difficult to even conceive in the mind that this sculpture formed by chance, then it should be easy to dismiss the same probability of the cell being formed by the same means.

Imagine how much more meaningful these examples are to the development of a cell. Without its nucleus, the brain of the cell, it could no longer replicate nor reproduce successfully. Without mitochondria—the organelle that provides the cell with energy—it would no longer be capable of carrying out any process and be just as useful as an iPhone with no battery. Even greater, humans could not live without a missing brain or heart just as a car cannot run without a motor. In this same way, random molecules cannot form something as detailed as the cell by random atomic bonding. Billions of years and left alone to the natural laws of physics would not take natural materials and form them into complex organisms; this reason begs us to understand that it could not have just originated by the combination of chance and physical laws. Even belief in its “evolution” would have to provide answers to questions about its change from no order to simplicity to its intricateness. Biology allows us to observe and further understand how life functions on Earth but it is not just an appearance of order, consistency and synergy. With that being said, sorry, Dawkins, but it appears that you are wrong and that life must have had some type of intervention from an intelligent source.

[1] Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, ), p. 1.

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