Remarkable discoveries about the mind-boggling complexity of DNA are providing solid evidence of the divine creation of life. In fact, it was mainly for this reason that Sir Antony Flew, the late world-famous philosopher who had been the leading atheist in England, renounced his atheism a few years back and accepted the existence of God.
Regarding whether recent research on DNA had influenced his change of mind, he said: “Yes, I now think it does … almost entirely because of the DNA investigations. What I think the DNA material has done is that it has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinarily diverse elements to work together” ( There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind , 2007, p. 75).
He went on to say: “I now believe that the universe was brought into existence by an infinite Intelligence. I believe that this universe's intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the Mind of God. I believe that life and reproduction originate in a divine Source.
“Why do I believe this, given that I expounded and defended atheism for more than a half century? The short answer is this: this is the world picture, as I see it, that has emerged from modern science. Science spotlights three dimensions of nature that point to God. The first is the fact that nature obeys laws. The second is the dimension of life, of intelligently organized and purpose-driven beings, which arose from matter. The third is the very existence of nature” (pp. 88-89).
Initially, scientists believed that DNA was a somewhat simple genetic code with extraneous material. But now they have found the code to be astoundingly complex, multilayered and even bidirectional—with no so-called “junk DNA.” This should lead us to do a double take as we learn what this code means and what its relevance is to God's existence.
Spy codes—as in Washington's day
Back in the days of the American Revolution, George Washington and his officers sent each other letters with double meanings. A letter intercepted by the enemy would simply have sounded like a typical message describing incidents on a farm. But to those with the deciphering key, the same message may have described troop numbers and locations. Yet without the key, the secret message would be safely hidden.
Similarly, scientists have now discovered that certain areas of the genetic code have secondary messages that can be deciphered by a cell's translating devices.
Comparing DNA to a spy code, science historian Stephen Meyer explains: “In the same way, the cell has protein machinery and RNA codes that jointly function as a cipher enabling it to access and read the secondary imbedded messages within the primary message of the genome …
“The presence of these genes imbedded within genes (messages within messages) further enhances the information-storage density of the genome and underscores how the genome is organized to enhance its capacity to store information” (Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design , 2009, pp. 463-464).
Imagine how difficult it would be to write a message and inscribe within it other messages! Mindless evolution could never produce genetic information of any kind, much less in overlapping levels of this nature! Clearly, this demands a vastly superior Intelligence.
Backmasking—DNA's bidirectional code
Some years ago, a few rock musicians recorded some songs with certain elements recorded backwards onto them—so that when these songs were played in reverse very different tunes and lyrics could be heard. (Unfortunately, a number of those messages were negative.)
Similarly, scientists have found the versatile genome to be bidirectional—relaying different messages when read from opposite directions—providing efficiency of space.
Dr. Meyer explains: “In the same way that words are ordered into sentences and sentences into paragraphs, nucleotide bases [within the DNA molecular chain] are ordered into genes and genes are ordered into specifically arranged gene clusters.
“Or think of these individual genes as computer data files and groupings of genes as folders containing several files. The groupings of DNA 'files' that we observe serve several roles. These groupings allow the cell to make longer transcripts that are combinations of different gene messages. In other words, the coding modules of the gene files in a 'folder' can be combined in numerous ways—and in both directions—to greatly increase the number of encoded transcripts and protein products from the same genomic region or resources” (pp. 467-468).
Again, imagine how difficult it would be to design something like this! If you read forward, you find one message. If you read backwards, you find another message. Again, how could evolution possibly account for this? It is further clear evidence of a brilliant Mind at work!
From “junk DNA” to a complex computer operating system
Computer users are familiar with a computer's operating system, such as Microsoft Windows, which sets and controls the environment in which software programs run. Scientists are now startled to find many regions of the genome, which they initially thought were useless, that in fact provide key functions similar to a computer's operating system.
Dr. Meyer explains: “Indeed … portions of the genome that many biologists previously regarded as 'junk DNA' are now known to perform many important functions, including the regulation and expression of the information for building proteins. In this respect, the nonprotein coding regions of the genome function much like an operating system [does] in a software program, directing and regulating how other information in the system is processed” (p. 367).
Molecular biologist Jonathan Wells adds: “The genome functions in a hierarchical fashion. The DNA molecule is only the first level; chromatin [cell nucleus contents of DNA with accompanying proteins] organization is a second level; and the position of chromosomes within the nucleus is a third level … There is evidence at all three levels that non-protein-coding DNA performs functions that are independent of its exact sequence” ( The Myth of Junk DNA , 2011, p. 72).
This is truly astonishing. What we have seen, as Dr. Wells points out, is that DNA is “bidirectional, multilayered, and interleaved, rather than simply linear … The organization of DNA strings along the genome is optimized for the establishment of multidimensional codes at all scales” (pp. 106-107).
What powerful evidence this is that a great, divine Mind had to be at work to compose such a multifaceted code and imbed it into a tiny chromosome!
Discarding the “junk DNA” myth
To believe that all this incredible, efficient complexity simply evolved through mutation and natural selection is to deny the overwhelming facts.
As Dr. Wells concludes: “Scientists make progress by testing hypotheses against the evidence. But when scientists ignore the evidence and cling to a hypothesis for philosophical or theological reasons, the hypothesis becomes a myth. Junk DNA is such a myth, and it's time to leave it behind—along with other discarded myths from the past.
“As recent discoveries have demonstrated, we are just beginning to unravel the mysteries of the genome. Indeed, the same can be said of living organisms in general. But assuming that any feature of an organism has no function discourages further investigation. In this respect, the myth of junk DNA has been a science-stopper. Not anymore. For scientists willing to follow the evidence wherever it leads, these are exciting times” (p. 107).
God has truly left His “signature” in every cell of every life form—including you and me—the obvious and wondrous design of DNA. This is surely some of the most compelling evidence ever found for His existence!