Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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The Divine Watchmaker

In our previous article, we noted that the existence of the universe indicates either “self-existence”, or a divine first cause. Since the universe is finite with regard to time, with energy which remains usable (The Law of Entropy), the evidence suggests that a self-existent being created it at some point in the past.

We actually alluded to an argument in that last article which has been termed “The Teleological Argument.” It is an outgrowth of the Cosmological argument, and was first stated cogently by Thomas Aquinas, who lived in the late Middle Ages. The argument, simply stated, is the argument from design. As Batsell Barrett Baxter states, “The universe demonstrates order and design, hence there must be a designer. The existence of order and system demands an orderer. Beauty, form, design, and purpose in nature all imply a creative mind, an intelligent architect. This idea of purpose in nature and in life processes is opposed to the view of mechanism. It suggests that the force that brought the universe into being is an intelligent, planning, thinking being” (I Believe Because…, page 59).

The argument is rather far reaching, and is powerful in its simplicity. The concept is almost universally acknowledged. The timeless illustration of the watchmaker demonstrates it admirably.

While a modern digital watch would demonstrate the principle just as ably, there is something arresting about the idea of an antique, wind-up pocket watch, full of springs and sprockets, fashioned by a trained watchmaker. The numerous gears and springs, working in tandem to move the hands of the watch, with the ability to keep time accurately, could not have come together randomly. It took an intelligent, trained artisan to put it all together in a workable fashion.

Now compare the relative simplicity of the pocket watch with the complexity of DNA. DNA, or Deoxyribonucleic Acid is defined as: “The long chain of molecules that carries the genetic instructions (genes) for making living organisms. DNA is found in the nucleus where it is organized into highly specific sequences that define each gene on the 23 chromosomes. (Definition found on the glossary page of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, www.blindness.org).

As scientists have uncovered more and more information regarding DNA, they have been amazed at the intricacy of the sequences. The Human Genome Project, completed in 2003, took 13 years and hundreds of scientists to identify the 20,000-25,000 genes in human DNA by sequencing over 3 billion DNA bases. As the official web site states, “Though the HGP is finished, analyses of the data will continue for many years.” (doegenomes.org).

A number of interesting comparisons are made on that web site. For example, the amount of information carried by the DNA which is found in every cell of your body, if compiled into books, would be the equivalent of 200 volumes the size of the Manhattan telephone directory (1,000 pages). It would take about 9.5 years (non-stop) to read the information out loud, at a normal reading rate.

It takes over 3 gigabytes of computer storage space to store all of the DNA sequence data, and this does not even include data annotations and other information needed to make sense of the genome sequencing. The FAQ page states concerning those annotations, “As time goes on, more annotations will be entered as a result of laboratory findings, literature searches, data analyses, personal communications, automated data-analysis programs, and auto annotators. These annotations associated with the sequence data will likely dwarf the amount of storage space actually taken up by the initial 3 billion nucleotide sequence. Of course, that’s not much of a surprise because the sequence is merely one starting point for much deeper biological understanding!”

The definition given of DNA, contains words such as “instructions,” “organized,” “highly specific.” Where there are instructions, there has to be an instructor. Where there is organization, there must be an organizer. And where “highly specific” directions are given, their must be a director. The Teleological Argument is a very simple one. Design demands a designer! Design presupposes God!