Thursday, January 27, 2011

How a Body is Made

Many years ago, sitting through an AP Biology class in High School, I saw the Creator in every turn of the page. I still think it’s a paradox how some people could turn the pages of a Biology textbox and see no God, while others (like myself) see nothing but God. Biology became one of my favorite subjects.

This post gets down into the nitty gritty details of some fascinating Biology about how your body was made. But before we start, let’s pause to review a small glossary of terms…

  • Gene
    Genes make up the blueprint of your body. There are genes that provide detailed instructions for how your cells should replicate, and genes that define what eye or hair color you have. It would take you almost 10 years to read all of your genes, out loud, without stopping. In a nutshell, your genes contain the portions of DNA needed by your cells to live.
  • DNA
    DNA is what genes are made of. You might think of DNA has the whole library (containing books of every detail about you), while a gene is one book in the library. But DNA is also a bit more than that: part of your DNA makes up your genes (the blueprint of your body); the rest of your DNA is involved in how your genes are expressed.

    DNA looks a twisted ladder. The ladder is made up of 4 chemical bases abbreviated as A, T, G, and C. These four bases are paired in different combinations to make the code that represents you. Put another way, the alphabet of your body has only 4 characters, A, T, G and C.

    dnaillustration
  • Chromosome
    In the nucleus of each cell, the DNA molecule is packaged up nice and neat in what is called a chromosome. Normally you can’t see a chromosome even under a microscope, but when a cell begins to divide the DNA in the chromosome packs tight enough to become visible under a microscope. If you could pull and tug on a chromosome until it was stretched out, it would be about 3 inches long. A human zygote will contain 23 chromosomes from the mother, and 23 from the father, which together make 46.

    A chromosome looks like this.
    chromosome
  • Egg (Ovum)
    The human egg cell is one of the largest cells in the human body. It’s so big, you can see it without a microscope (but you might have to squint)! The egg contains 23 chromosomes from the mother, waiting to be paired with 23 chromosomes from the father to produce a zygote with 46 chromosomes. The egg doesn’t move, it just sits around waiting for sperm to come by; it’s been described by some scientists as an "inert globule of organic matter”. It’s waiting on a spermatozoon to bring it life.
  • Sperm
    A sperm cell (spermatozoon) contains 23 chromosomes from the father. A spermatozoon has a long, whip-like tail that propels it to an egg cell by an amazingly complex series of chemical processes. A sperm cell has no intelligence of its own to guide it to its goal, but is directed completely by outside forces.

Overwhelming Odds

A single male or female can produce up to 8 million different combinations of chromosomes. Out of around 300 million sperm, only about 1% (about 3 million) actually find their way into the uterus. And if they make it that far, the 3 million still have to swim to one of the fallopian tubes, where hopefully an egg is already making its way down to meet them. If not, they wait, and wait, for up to three days. If an egg shows up and fertilization occurs, there are 70 trillion possible chromosomal combinations that can result from the sperm and egg uniting.

Already, it should be apparent that it’s a miracle that you were every born. But let’s take a closer look at your odds.

If you go back just 10 generations (250 years), the chance of you ever being born at all is at most

1 in 600,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

I don’t even know what number that is, but it means that 250 years ago no one would have made any wagers on you ever being born, no matter who you are or what your ancestry.

But wait, it gets even more amazing! The above calculation only takes into account the father’s lineage; your father, his father, his father, and so on. The mother’s contribution isn’t accounted for. Also unaccounted for are men and women that died as a result of disease, war or famine, which in some generations was around 50% of humanity. Or men and women who died from natural causes, children who died before the age of reproduction, or fetuses or fertilized eggs that died and were naturally aborted. All of your ancestors have something amazing in common: they survived long enough to reproduce part of the genes you now have.

So, in the past, the predicted likelihood of your ever being born would be essentially zero. Think about that.
This is a part of His way. This is the way that He manifests Himself to us, manifests the Eternal Word, God, Jehovah made flesh. Like in Saint John 1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the... In the beginning was Elohim, and Elohim was... became the Word, and the Word was Elohim. And the Word was made Elohim." See? It's the same thing, just unfolding. Like the attribute, see, it is in God. A attribute is your thought. God in the beginning, the Eternal, He wasn't even a God. He was the Eternal. He wasn't even God; God is an object of worship, or something. See? So He wasn't even that. He was Elohim, the Eternal. But in Him was thoughts He wanted to become material. And what did He do? Then He spoke a Word, and the Word was materialized. That's the whole picture, from Genesis to Revelations. Is nothing wrong. It's Elohim materializing so He can be touched, feel. And in the Millennium, there is Elohim sitting on the Throne, see, that's right, with all of His subjects around Him, that He predestinated before the foundation of the world. Like a man building chimes or making chimes, the molder. Each bell has got to ring different from the other. The same materials, but so much iron, so much steel, so much brass, to make it give the "ting." That's the way God did. He bred this one to that one, to this one to that one, to this one to that one, till He got exactly what He wanted. That's how He come down. God unveiled Himself in a Pillar of Fire down through the prophets, then into the Son of God, which, He was God. See, it's the same God bringing out exactly, from perfection to perfection, from glory unto glory. That's the way the Church goes.
The Unveiling of God – 64-0614M

Run Fast, Run Well

Sperm are not “normal” cells, and so are covered with a glycoprotein that acts like a sign-post to the immune system. The sign reads: “Do not attack!” The glycoprotein sign will be read (and honored) by literally any body, anywhere; no one’s immune system will attack when they see this glycoprotein. Satan saw this cool trick and decided to copy it and use it, and so we find some cancerous and bacterial cells, some parasitic worms, and HIV-infected white blood cells using the same glycoprotein to keep the immune system from attacking. What a nasty trick!

As the sperm get closer to the egg, a combination of calcium ions, hormones (progesterone), and other chemical processes cause the sperm to enter hyperactivity, which means they swim faster and harder. The race is on. It’s literally a matter of life and death, because if you don’t finish you die.

Sealed In

To get into the inner-most chamber of the egg, a spermatozoa has to break through two layers: the jelly coat, and the vitelline layer. Just beyond the vitelline layer are the cortical granules, which are the gatekeepers to the inner chamber. Once a spermatozoa reaches the cortical granules, they release enzymes that cause the space between the jelly coat and the vitelline layer to become depolarized, closing the door. The front runner is sealed in, all others are sealed out, and the sperm and the egg have become one.

The seal has a mark on it, shows ownership. When you are bought by the Blood of Jesus Christ and sealed by the Holy Ghost, you no longer belong to the world or anything pertaining to the world. You are owned by God. And another thing is: a seal is a security. Seal means you are secured. Now, you that don't believe in eternal security, I don't know, but now... But a seal signifies security to its destination. Woe unto that guy that would try to break that seal. And the Holy Spirit Seal cannot be broken. You all have heard me say that people said, “The devil made me do this.” No, no, the devil didn't do it. You just wasn't sealed in, so then (You see?), 'cause when you're sealed in, he's sealed out. See?
63-0317E

Once fertilization occurs, the egg is not an egg anymore, because it’s been fertilized. That’s right, it’s literally not an egg anymore, because now its chromosomes have doubled; its been completely changed from what it used to be. It’s still a single cell (not for long, though), and might still look like an egg on the outside, but now it’s called a zygote, and is now capable of reproducing itself by cellular division.

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mark 16:15

Over the next few weeks the zygote will divide into two cells. Then those cells divide into 4, then 8, until there is a mass of millions of identical cells. Cells that, until now, had never really been given anything purposeful to do besides making copies of themselves. But then comes gastrulation.

Positioning

At this point, the zygote is made up of millions of roughly identical cells, all stuck together in a ball the size of a pinhead (called the blastula). But all at once, the cells begin to form into three groups. The ectoderm, which will become the skin, nails, hair, and nervous system. The mesoderm, which becomes muscle tissue, blood and blood vessels, and bone and connective tissue. And the endoderm, which becomes the digestive and respiratory systems. The cells that form each are not necessarily the cells you would think would form that group. For example, many of the cells that form the skin may at first be nowhere near the outside of the blastula. Likewise, many of the cells that will form the internal organs may start out on the outside.

During gastrulation the chromosomes in any particular cell will begin to selectively activate or deactivate, just like someone is switching on or off a light switch. This is necessary for each cell to become part of a toenail, an eyelash, or part of the heart, and switches the cell from being just another cell, to part of the body. After gastrulation, each cell has been given a very specific purpose.

That's pulling His Bride out, now. He's creating His Bride. Justification under Luther; sanctification under Wesley; and so forth, you see. He, the evolution of the Spirit being given more and more, 'cause the Body is building, coming to the Head, which is Christ, the Body of Christ.
65-1125

Once each cell takes its place in the body, it’s only a matter of time before the complete body comes fully into view.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Davidic Cipher

And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.
Samuel I 16:23

We can read the songs David sang, and add our own tunes to the words, but we don’t know the music David himself played.

Or do we? Dennis McCorkle thinks the answer to hearing the Psalms lies in Hebrew cantillation symbols, small symbols that appear in certain books of the Bible to guide the chanting of the text during public worship.

I’ll spare you the details; you can find out more at www.musicofthebible.com.

Here’s a recording of Yakov singing Psalm 23 using the Davidic Cipher. Imagine that you’re eavesdropping on a little shepherd playing his harp and singing to a king.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Found Umbrella

That chokes you, I know. But--but that's true. If you believe, all things are possible. You're afraid to take God, friends. You're scared. Now, I might've left that knife laying on the dresser where I changed clothes awhile ago. But just as sure if that knife is on the dresser right now, if I believe it with all my heart, it'll be in my pocket. That chokes you. But God is able to put it there if you believe it.

I came out of the door, and it was raining. It was pouring, in fact. I looked down at my laptop bag where I always kept my little black collapsible umbrella, and noticed in dismay that it was missing.

I’ve learned from experience that losing my umbrella is a very bad thing. More than once, I’ve emerged from the depths of the Midtown train station to find torrential sheets of rain blocking the way between me and my office building (a 10 minute walk away). And more than once the security guard as outright laughed at me as I came running into the parking garage, totally out of breath, looking like a drowned rat. “You’re gonna need a new shirt, Mister!

Not fun. So I prayed a quick prayer to find my umbrella. As I turned my head in the garage, there behind me on the wall hung my wife’s pink umbrella. At that particular moment I couldn’t have cared less that it was pink; it was an umbrella, and if I dawdled much longer I would miss the bus, so I grabbed it and away I ran.

Once I got to work I took my laptop out of my bag, installed it in its docking station, and got to work. Later on, I looked at the pink umbrella and thought how grateful I was for not having to run through the rain. The last time that had happened it had taken me until noon to dry out. And that was in the summer. Suddenly it occurred to me that I had asked God to help me find my umbrella, not my wife’s pink one. “Well,” I thought to myself. “I know I’ll find it sooner or later because I asked Him.”

And then just as clear as a bell something said, “Look in your bag.”

My bag was sitting on the floor where I had left it after I had removed my laptop from it just a few hours before. Laptop bags usually have a very snug and very padded compartment to protect your equipment, and as you can see from the picture, when my laptop is in the bag, there isn’t any room for anything larger than a pencil.

So I grabbed my laptop bag and looked inside in the compartment where my laptop usually resides, and there, to my infinite surprise, was my umbrella!

Just for “fun”, I tried to put my laptop back in the bag with my umbrella in there too, and it wouldn’t fit. There was no way to get the umbrella and my laptop in the bag at the same time (the laptop stuck out at least an inch too far to zip the bag; see the last picture on this page). Of course, that’s beside the fact that I would never have tried to put my umbrella in there with my laptop.

How did it get there? I can’t say, all I know is it wasn’t there before.

Monday, October 12, 2009

An Unexpected Help

As the sun rolled a burning path across the sky, a man lay in a ditch by the roadside, groaning in agony. A few flies had begun to buzz about. Once all was quiet and he knew his attackers had left, he tried to slowly roll over. Something wet was under his hand, and as he looked down at the patch of desert underneath he saw a slowly widening pool of blood. He had seen firsthand why this shortcut from Jerusalem to Jericho was aptly called The Way of Blood because of the highwaymen that traveled it.

He groaned again, and as a cool breeze swept by he realized with horror and shame that his clothes had been taken. They had taken everything from him: his money, his dignity, and now his life was seeping out into the dust.

But surely help would come. He coughed out a gasping prayer to Jehovah to have mercy, and almost immediately heard footsteps.

Footsteps! He lifted his head from the dirt just only enough to see the familiar trappings of a priest walking swiftly down the road from Jerusalem. His voice creaked in his throat as he tried to voice his thanks, but the noise soon became one of despair and disbelief as the priest moved to the other side of the road, disgusted by the poor man’s condition. Too much blood. Too much inconvenience. He had somewhere important he needed to be, and he most certainly couldn’t arrive at his destination with his priestly garments soiled.

As the sound of the priest’s footsteps were carried away by the wind, the man lay there choking and gasping, the sun baking his open wounds and bare skin.

After much time, at last there came to his ears the sound of more footsteps. He looked and, through his blurred vision, made out the form of a Levite he had recently seen in Jerusalem. In exhaustion and silent jubilation, his head fell back against the ground as he heard the Levite approaching where he lay. Thank you God. The feet halted for a moment, and he heard the Levite gag. The footsteps moved away and the Levite gagged again, and spat on the ground. And then, as if in a nightmare, the feet began to move further away down the road.

I am lost, lost. God has deserted me. True men of God that serve Him in the Temple have hide their face from me.

The deafening silence of the desert around him ate at him. Nose crushed against the grainy sand, he began to wish death would come quickly. A cloud covered the sun for a moment and in his grief and desperation he called out to God again. His head fell into the sand, and everything went black.

When his eyes next opened he was astounded to discover he was no longer lying naked by the roadside, but in a comfortable bed. A cool breeze through an open window replaced the burning sun. His blood no longer soaked into thirsty sands; his wounds were gently wrapped in fine bandages. And a man was mixing oil and wine into a poultice.

“You should thank God you were found and brought here when you were.”

At the sight of the man a jolt of surprise went through him, and his mind began to trace over the stories he had heard. He remembered how it was written that, since the time when the King of Assyria brought men from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and Sepharvaim to live in Samaria to replace the Israelites that had been removed, that they had never feared the Lord as true Israelites (II Kings 17:34). And that, only 200 years prior, the Samaritans renounced any connection and kinship with the Jews to save themselves from Antiochus IV Epiphanes’ declaration that he was the god Zeus; that all who refused to worship him must die. This had caused a great rift between the Jews and the faithless Samaritans. Half-breeds with pagan ancestry from the land of Assyria.

He would never associate with a Samaritan (John 4:9). Why, “you’re a Samaritan” had become the worst form of insult. A multi-barbed attack which implied the target was both a half-breed and an infidel.

And now a Samaritan was tending to his wounds.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

You Are What You Eat

Did you know that for every eight ounces of golden raisins you eat, you also eat about 10 or more whole insects?

Or that, for every pound of spices you eat, a milligram of rat and/or mice poo goes down with it?

Yum!

There are 10 or more maggot eggs in every 500 grams of canned tomatoes!

A kilo of wheat can contain as much as 9 milligrams of rat stank!

Double Yum!

How do I know this? ‘Cause the FDA has lovingly put together a little booklet with all these wonderful details, which you can peruse here: Food Defect Action Levels.

Bon App├ętit!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I Stood Up

“Monica, she has a stinky”, I mouthed to my wife. She took Zoe from me, fumbled around in her bag for her various accoutrements, and hurried off to the nursery.

At just the moment when my wife rose to exit, the song leader began a new song. I was tired or something, and for some reason I thought we had been invited to stand for this song.

And so, I stood up.

Which would have been fine, except for the small fact that nobody else stood up with me.

I couldn’t find the song in the songbook, so it took a while for me to realize that I was a lone citadel standing on a great windswept plain. I looked up and found the song leader was looking back, quizzically. Someone behind me let loose a titter.

And so, I sat down.

And then I decided to try something new. I thought it would be fun to see if I could burrow under the floor boards. The heat of a thousand suns slowly made its way up my neck to engulf my head.

And I felt like I was back in school again.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Story of Cliff Young

If you're interested in an inspiring story, here's one you should check out.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Gas Relief Coming

You gotta love these headlines. Anyway.

QT announced that all of their Atlanta stations should have gas by tomorrow. Woohoo!

Gas, Sweet Gas

Bro. Trevor and his family are staying with us this week while he attends a training class in Atlanta. We've been riding the bus/train into the city to save on gas, because the gas situation in Atlanta is still pretty horrible. A brother from church pointed me to a gas station last Sunday that had no lines(!!), which was a great blessing, but that afternoon we drove by again and that station, as well as the two across the street, had all run out of gas.

When we got off the bus yesterday evening we passed a gas station that had gas! My "commuter" car was almost empty, so we jumped in line and sat there for a few minutes before we realized this was going to take a while. And we were hungry, so we decided to head on to the house, where the ladies had cooked up some good eatin'.

Once my belly was full I decided to head back out, and Bro Trevor graciously decided to accompany me. The line was a couple of cars shorter, but still fairly long, so we pulled in and waited.

And waited.

An hour later, the attendant came out of the store and was heard to say that the station had only 70 gallons left. In the whole station! There were still a couple of cars in front of us (there was also another long line of cars into the station from the opposite direction), and the few pumps that were still operational were moving very slowly.

After another 10 or 15 minutes we made it to the pump. I jumped out, swiped my credit card, and got the pump started; drop after precious drop of the sweet nectar dripped into my car. I got 12 gallons by some miracle. My car wasn't technically "full", but I figured I could last on that for another month of trips to the bus stop, so I stopped the pump.

It took an hour and a half to get gas.