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Discovery Magazine 8/1/1990

Don't "Cell" Yourself Short

There are many amazing things in this universe which God created. But surely one of the most amazing is the cell. Just think about it. Cells come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Cells may be shaped like rods, spirals, daisies on their stalks, string beans, shoe boxes, or snowflakes. Some cells can be quite large, like the yolk of an ostrich egg. Others can be quite small. For example, if you were to place some cells of the human body into a capital "O" from a typewriter, 20,000 of them would fit inside that "O." Some cells live very long lives. Nerve cells in a human can live over 100 years! Some cells have very short lives. Platelets (which help blood to clot) live less than 4 days.

Yet cells are beautifully organized and extremely complex. Each human cell is able to communicate with other cells, dispose of waste, reproduce, feed, and repair itself. Some areas of the cell produce proteins, which are carried to other parts of the body. Some areas of the cell produce the energy which your body needs to work, think, or play. Still other areas of the cell are responsible for what we call reproduction—the process by which cells make more cells.

Deep inside the cell is the nucleus, which contains what we know as the "genetic code." This code is a set of instructions inside each cell which tells the cell to become a fingernail, a hair, an eye, a bone, or some other part of the body. These instructions are very complicated, and are placed in the cell in a chemical which scientists call DNA (a short way of saying deoxyribonucleic acid). The DNA in a single human cell is about 3 feet long and contains over 6 billion "steps." If all the DNA in a single human body were stretched out end-to-end, there would be over a billion miles' worth.

The writer of Psalms said to God, "I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (139:14). Our bodies, composed of 60-100 trillion cells, are wonderful. Could evolution have produced such cells, or such bodies, by accident? No! The Bible says, "For every house is built by someone; but He who built all things is God" (Hebrews 3:4). The cell speaks to us about how great and powerful our God is.

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