A hundred years ago many people held that the cell was just a simple biological structure. To cure a person, a physician was called to “bleed out” a person. The human body, and other aspects of creation, we thought to be relatively simple.
Then, in the twentieth century, along came the industrial age, and the technology explosion. Microscopes allowed us to look deeper into organisms, and soon the electron microscope was showing us what we thought was a simple cell was actually on the order of a hugely complex, “biological factory”, in our bodies reduced to a size smaller than the eye could see.
Evolution was thought to account for everything, but then scientists began to ask questions. Can “blind” chance evolution really explain all life? Evolution comes in various sizes and forms, it is clear. Few argue with “natural adaptation”, that living things adapt over time to their environment in order to survive. And its clear, based on the evidence, that variations occur within species (what is commonly referred to as micro-evolution).
But there is continuing debate regarding “macro evolution”, that one “kind” can evolve into another kind. If this were the case, we should see thousands or even millions of “transitional forms” in the geologic record. But we don’t. We see very few, if any, true transitional forms. In fact, when one examines the geologic record, one sees evidence of the almost “sudden” (in terms of geologic time) appearance of complex forms of life. An example is the famous “Cambrian explosion“, which occurred about 350 million years ago. We see simple life forms (single cell bacteria), and then immediately above, in the next layer of rock, radically more complex life forms suddenly appear – with skeletons, and the whole lot. Many believe that slow, undirected, gradual macro evolution is insufficient to account for this suddent appearance of complex life.
Many scientists also hold that “Evolutionary Darwinism” – the notion that mindless, un-directed chance evolution can adequately explain the existence of all life forms – is inadequate. These scientists (MIchael Behe, Willam Demski, and others) hold that the biological machines we see functioning at a molecular level cannot be adequately explained by chance evolution. That the only way to explain these sorts of “irreducible complex” machines is by acknowledging that a Designer had something to do with the process.
One thing is clear – all of creation presents overwhelming evidence of a Creator, a Designer, and a Sustainer of all things. The Bible affirms that “in Him we live, and move, and have our very being”. And we see this quite clearly – the evidence of a magnificent Creator and Engineer – as we peer through the lens of an electron microscope, and look at the amazing design and functioning of a living cell. Check out this animation of activities that go on in a human cell, from Harvard University:
From BioVisions, Harvard University.