Design Not Accident

Deoxyribonucleic acid (also known as DNA) is known as the building blocks of life. Humans have 46 chromosomes that contain all the genetic information required to make a person. There are over 25,000 genes in the human genome and one gene is composed of over 3 billion base pairs (linking branches seen in picture above) in the human genome. All this information is stored in one cell…. Just think about that for a moment. And in every cell we have this condensed, highly complex and detailed book of information. Furthermore, the human body has approximately 10 trillion cells or “books”. Wow!

DNA is responsible for deciding what job or function a cell performs, whether a cell goes off to be a heart cell, kidney cell, white blood cell or an eye cell. Today’s scientific community remains in its infancy in understanding this complex and significantly important molecule, a molecule found in every cell in your body. Yet some scientists believe this information is our own discovery and contribution to mankind.

Many peers praise the American molecular biologist James Watson and English physicist Francis Crick for the discovery of DNA in the 1950s. Johann Gregor Mendel was a Christian monk at Augustinian Monastery; it is there where he performed genetic experiments using pea plants. He has been acclaimed as the first to link genetic variations producing different genetic hereditary compositions, awarding him the title “Father of Genetics”.  However, equally many would argue in 1860 Swiss chemist Friedrich Miescher was the first to identify DNA.

The Book of Leviticus was written in the Persian period (538- 332BC) a long time before science was even thought of as a discipline and expression of human knowledge. Yet in this ancient text we have a knowledgeable statement (Leviticus 17:11) not quoting direct focus on science but referring to it as if it was common knowledge. The author is referring to it as to remind readers of how we can repent (change our direction of thought and attitudes) and enforce our spiritual belief in God and obey his commandments.

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul”. (Leviticus 17:11)

It is as if Moses knew the connection between blood, life and how important it was, to which, they used animal blood in spiritual rituals.

The genome is the biggest and most accurate instruction manual known to man to construct a human. And from this complexity and highly logical system of base pairs, molecules and condensed structure of articulate information we can only start to appreciate the spark of the supreme power of the author, which is of course God. Also DNA has been found to be a robust molecule to which can be buried for thousands of years and still remain intact, enough for scientists to be able to replicate and analyse. Such as the DNA from Egyptian mummies, in 2009 Helen Donoghue from University College London lead a team, supported by colleagues from Birmingham University. They were able to diagnose how an Egyptian died from TB (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) purely from DNA extracted from the mummified body. Wow!

“Helen Donoghue and colleagues from the University of Birmingham, UK, combined DNA amplification with a recently developed technique to search for a short repetitive section of DNA from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, they identified the organism in tissue from the lungs, bone and gall bladder. They also found biomarkers specific to the cell wall of the bacterium in the lungs and bones”. (New Scientist, 2009)

Today scientists are using the same mechanisms bacteria and viruses use to invade cells to edit the human genome, a technique known as CRISPA Cas9. This is said to be the future of Healthcare, editing and/ or deleting defective genes responsible chronic and hereditary diseases such as Sickle Cell Anaemia, Cystic Fibrosis, Huntington’s disease and more. We must remember in this time of scientific discovery and excitement that the ideas and innovations humans develop are observed and inspired by nature.

God is the ultimate creator of all things on earth and that we are to give thanks to God for providing all of what we use and create (Psalm 95:4-5).

 

Peace be with you all.

Tristan

 

 

Today children have space to express themselves and availability to pursue their hopes and dreams. Parents strive to guide and provide children with the knowledge, abilities and resources to aid their children in achieving their goals. Children are the future and without guidance they are lost. Society has a silent grip on us all teaching us money, status are important to succeed in this world, while turning heads away from family and public unity. Jesus encouraged children to hear the Words of God (Luke 18:16), for Jesus' words are words to live by and to share with others. We can encourage our children to walk in the light with Jesus Christ by filling their hearts with the Holy Spirit everyday by simply praying before school time and finishing the day with a prayer at the dinner table. 

Children learn how to behave and act by; watching parents when they drive the car, talking to friends in the street. They watch, listen and learn from how we live our lives. By studying the Bible with our children and meditating on Gods Words we can enjoy the Holy Spirit as a family which is an added bonus. Children are our closest disciples in the family home, they will not know of the great wisdom and knowledge in the Bible of how to live a pure life if we do not teach, share and apply Jesus' teachings everyday, in everything we do. Some might say "I will let my children choose whether they want to be Christian when they are older", this approach comes with risk of the Kingdom of God being washed away by the tides of societies vanities and slavery. 

We have a unique opportunity to fill our children's hearts with the Holy Spirit, to live a Christian life which gives our children great qualities to live by, such as; love, joy, patience, humbleness, inner peace and self -control and kindness (Galatians 5:22). All children should at least be told of the almighty Kingdom of God and its infinite power, which is up for grabs to anyone willing to take that first step into faith (Romans 8:14). 

Peace be with you all. 

 

Tristan

 

 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the fastest innovations on the earth, comprising of complex algorithms to help us humans make better decisions. AI can be found in many digital platforms such as; mobile phone applications, media entertainment (Netflix) and speech recognition devices which help disabled individuals communicate. But what about AI in a religious context?

 Does AI have a place within the church? Could robotic AI innovation be the future to Christian ceremonies to enable communicating Gods Word in multiple languages? A town called Wittenberg in Germany have welcomed BlessU2 to their church. BlessU2 is a robot with artificial intelligence, it has taken the post as a priest to perform ceremonial blessings in 8 different languages. While this is an excellent way to involve international visitors to the church, could this technological approach also distract peoples spiritual perception and experience in the church?

 Furthermore, when we go to church we expect to talk to person... human interaction. To engage with another fellow Christian who can experience the Holy Spirit with you. Can we experience the same with BlessU2? Technology is the future and as mentioned before it does benefit humans in more ways than one. But when it sits next to humanity and moral judgement can it participate in respect to its own perception? For God told us not to follow/ worship idols of what man has made for themselves (Leviticus 26:1).

 And why should we be trying to replace ourselves with robots when church is all about meeting, sharing and discussing Holy scripture with one another (Mark 16:15). When sharing an emotional experience we humans require another persons’ emotion to communicate. Artificial intelligence cannot provide this emotional content required to preach and discuss the teachings of Jesus Christ.

BlessU2 is a funny and novel idea which could definitely support and benefit other organisations and businesses but on a genuine, intimate and religious level, it does not have a place in preaching the Good News from the Bible.

Peace be with you all. 

Tristan

Well that was an energetic weekend for the youth team at EMC. We spent Saturday night setting up ten "crystal maze" style games to challenge and exhaust our young people. Sunday morning began with a Parade service. That's when the youth organisations (Scouts etc) join us in full uniform to parade their colours. Paul Courtney (from Ivybridge) led a lively service. Paul's theme was authority. He told us how he thought he had been well behaved at school, although his mum found that funny, for some reason. 

We joined in with some new songs led by Paul on his guitar, and did a little dancing too!! Not something you want to see me do ! 

After a snack lunch we cracked on with the final setup for the Sportif at 13:45 welcomed the young people. The event began with a warm up in the hall followed by relay races and a "Who can cycle 0.1 of a mile the fastest!". After a briefing from John W we set off in teams to complete the 10 challenges! These included

- Air Hockey, Cross the river, Fix the track, Table Tennis, Hockey Goals, Move the Junk, Pool, Shoot the Duck and Quoits. We changed games as the whistle blew. It was a very fun afternoon and we had entrants from ages 3 to 70!