Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Glory of God

Today's sermon has been part of a series on Jesus in all His various aspects. The subject for today was Jesus as Creator, and as our minister lovingly dwelt on just a few examples of God's genius and creativity and care in Creation, he concluded each example with:

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. (Colossians 1:16)

Here's an example he didn't mention which has been rattling around my brain for the past month or so as I have been waiting to begin working on a project. This project will deal with the proteins that are assembled in order to construct a virus, in this case the T-4 bacteriophage which attacks e.coli in humans. Below is a picture of it:

These critters are truly weird. No one can really say if they are really alive or not. They are more like machines that have to be plugged into a living host in order to get the energy to do what they do. The T-4 is made up of about 25 or so different kinds of proteins. Each one of these proteins has been examined with great care. Here's a picture of the T-4 that shows the individual proteins:

Each blob of color, including the white, represents an individual protein. You could think of them like blobs of chewing gum, molded into very, very specific shapes that enable them to do what they do. If even one molecule of a protein were to change, it would be the equivalent of replacing a mechanical component of a Maserati with something that doesn't belong there at all, rendering it completely useless, like installing a can-opener instead of a finely machined gear. Every protein must keep its shape in order to retain its function. Or you might say they are like Legos: they must retain a certain shape reliably in order to work as intended. Interestingly, proteins can serve in multiple situations just like Legos, but they have to retain their shapes in order to be at all useful. This is why the genomes of humans can have so much in common with gnats-- the proteins are the same, but have been arranged to serve in very different ways.

There is hardly to be found anywhere a mutation in a protein that isn't catastrophic for the organism. Which does not do much for the fantasy of macroevolution.

But I digress. What I really want to point out is that it is so obvious that these proteins are Intentional and created Good, because God says so. Jesus designed and sculpted with His amazing Fingers, these blocks of material to house the life which comes from Him alone and which is for His glory alone. So somehow (and perhaps I skate on thin ice here) it seems to me that viruses are perversions of His good work which attack His own creation. They reproduce only to propogate themselves, never for the benefit of their host. It is even difficult tell whether they are "life" as we know it. Yet even though they are agents of destruction, one can still see and be amazed by the glory of God in His creation. His stamp of sovereignty has not yet been blotted out even from this twisted little sister. And like the rest of Creation, even viruses will be redeemed along with the rest of Creation.

Praise be to You, O Christ!


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