God, Science and the Bible: The Miracle of Birth: "I Saw God Today"

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The Miracle of Birth: "I Saw God Today"

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Around 3,000 years before George Strait, another popular songwriter, Israel's King David, composed a similar thought: "You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it" (Psalms 139:13-14 Psalms 139:13-14 [13] For you have possessed my reins: you have covered me in my mother's womb. [14] I will praise you; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are your works; and that my soul knows right well.
American King James Version×
, New Living Translation).

Consider one of the organs absolutely essential, yet unsung, in the birth of a baby—the placenta. It gives clear evidence of design. And the whole birth process represents something greater still.

The amazing placenta

Maybe it's because the placenta seems just a blob of tissue and is discarded after birth that joyful parents, family and friends give little thought to this amazingly complex creation with intricately unique characteristics and functions that had to work right the very first time.

"After the egg is fertilized, the placenta is the very first organ to develop. Recent studies show that when the fertilized egg divides to form the first two cells, one is already destined to form the placenta, while the other becomes the baby" (A Pocket Guide to the Human Body—Intricate Design That Glorifies the Creator, Answers in Genesis, 2011, p. 47). So the placenta is crucially involved from the first cell to birth.

As the placenta develops in perfect pace with the embryo, one of its most important jobs is to produce hormones that affect the mother's body. As early as three days after fertilization, these hormones prepare the lining of the uterus to receive the implantation of the embryo. During the next few weeks, its hormones direct the proper amount of nutrients and oxygen needed by the embryo, even if the mother happens to be lacking in something herself.

For the placenta, the baby rules! Its health and survival come first. Having no nerve cells, the placenta is not directly under control of the mother's brain or spinal cord. How does a piece of tissue orchestrate such perfect timing, in perfect amounts, but for it being the work of a perfect Intelligent Designer!

One big buffer cell

About five days after fertilization, the cells surrounding the developing embryo begin to fuse together into one giant cell, eventually with millions of nuclei. By birth the placenta, with all its folds and tree-like structures interfacing between mother and baby, will have a seamless surface area of over 100 square feet and weigh about one-sixth as much as the baby. To think that such a process evolved by chance stretches beyond reason.

So why one giant, thin, seamless cell? It makes the placenta a perfect permeable buffer between the mother and baby so that their blood comes close together but never mixes or makes direct contact. The placenta filters hormones, nutrients such as calcium and iron, electrolytes, oxygen and antibodies from the mother's blood, and waste products from the baby's blood.

Though external to the baby, the placenta serves as its most essential organ, functioning as its digestive system, lungs, kidneys, liver and immune system.

Since the baby and placenta are genetically different from the mother, one of the placenta's key roles is to prevent the baby from being attacked by the mother's immune system. "It is still a mystery how the placenta prevents the mother from rejecting it and the baby as a foreign graft without shutting down her immune system" (ibid., p. 48).

Critical blood-loss prevention

When the uterus contracts to expel the placenta, typically 15 to 30 minutes after the birth of the baby, about 20 large arteries are severed—which, absent a bodily function to deal with this, would result in the loss of about one pint of blood per minute. Since an adult female body has fewer than five quarts of blood, the mother would lose all her blood in less than 10 minutes. Making this more life-and-death precarious, the blood-clotting mechanism is suppressed in the placenta and uterine blood vessels during pregnancy.

Thank our Sustainer of life that "each of the severed uterine arteries has a precisely placed muscular sphincter that acts like a purse string, or a surgeon's hemostat, to immediately close off the loss of blood. As a result, a normal birth involves the loss of only about a pint of blood" (p. 51).

Human birth pictures spiritual birth

On its simplest level, the miraculous birth of a baby powerfully testifies to God's glory rather than mindless, purposeless evolution. But on a deeper spiritual level, human birth pictures spiritual birth into God's family. That's why Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3 John 3:3Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
American King James Version×
that one must be "born again" to see the Kingdom of God. Befuddled, Nicodemus asked incredulously: "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" (John 3:4 John 3:4Nicodemus said to him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
American King James Version×
).

Romans 1:20 Romans 1:20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
American King James Version×
states, "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse" (New International Version).

God not only states the basic scientific fact that creation proves a Creator, but He shares a family secret. God says His creation should help us to see something very important about the divine nature. Rather than being a closed Trinity, as many believe, God is a family—currently God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son on the divine level—and God is in the process of reproducing Himself! (For the history of this mystery and proof from the Bible, read the online Bible study aid Is God a Trinity?)

Our spiritual birth begins when, after repentance and baptism in response to the message of God's Word, we are begotten by the Holy Spirit uniting with our human spirit (see Acts 2:38 Acts 2:38Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
American King James Version×
; Romans 8:16 Romans 8:16The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
American King James Version×
; 1 Peter 1:23 1 Peter 1:23Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and stays for ever.
American King James Version×
, Young's Literal Translation), making us part of the Church of God.

As the unified body of believers, the Church is one (Ephesians 4:4-6 Ephesians 4:4-6 [4] There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; [5] One Lord, one faith, one baptism, [6] One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
American King James Version×
) and serves in the role of a nurturing mother to God's spiritual children while they are as yet unborn (see Galatians 4:26 Galatians 4:26But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
American King James Version×
, wherein those collectively part of the New Covenant are referred to as "Jerusalem above").

As a mother is able to nourish and protect her children while still in the womb through means of the placenta, so has God enabled the Church to care for developing Christians until we all come to "a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13 Ephesians 4:13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
American King James Version×
)—when we are fully transformed as divine spirit children of God at the last trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:52 1 Corinthians 15:52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
American King James Version×
; 2 Corinthians 6:18 2 Corinthians 6:18And will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, said the Lord Almighty.
American King James Version×
; 1 John 3:1-2 1 John 3:1-2 [1] Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not. [2] Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
American King James Version×
).

For some exciting details of this spiritual birth process, read the Bible study aid What Is Your Destiny?

"My brand new baby girl, she's a miracle. I saw God today." The next time you hear George Strait sing this beautiful song, thank God for His marvelous design involved in the placenta and the human birth process, and see your incredible potential to become part of His eternal family!