Recent scientific discoveries suggest that, contrary to earlier theories, every strand of our DNA is deeply significant. Writing on International Day of the Unborn Child, Catherine Disher says the news is further evidence that human beings have been perfectly created in the image of God.  


Source: Image by Elias from Pixabay

Several months ago, I got to meet my friends’ baby while visiting my hometown over the Christmas break. Their baby was calm, smiley and beautiful in every way. A gurgle here and a giggle there, he reflected expressions like they were going out of style, intently absorbing even the most basic of information or stimuli.

Each time I see a baby, I am amazed by how they grow, change, and generally adapt without any apparent effort on their part. One day they are small, and the next they are a teenager! The constant communication going on in their bodies is something they naturally and subconsciously come into agreement with. Eye colour, height, length of fingers and toes, are all determined by the collection of genes held together in their DNA.

Recently, I spent some time thinking about DNA and the complex roles it plays in our bodies, which led me to read several articles on the subject, culminating in the following scripture: “Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image and likeness. And let them rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky. Let them rule over the tame animals, over all the earth and over all the small crawling animals on the earth.’ So God created human beings in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female” (Genesis 1:26-27).

Upon reading this scripture, I gave pause and reflected. God had especially chosen to make us in his image. My mind. Was. Blown. I mean, I had read this scripture a thousand times before, but for some reason, the penny finally dropped: The God of the universe had made me in his image!

It is amazing to think that up until even just a decade ago, ‘Junk DNA’ theory was a pervasive scientific concept. Speculating that our genes made up just 2-5 per cent of our ‘functional’ DNA and that the remaining 95-98 per cent of our DNA was just ‘junk’, it seemed to both honour and discredit human life at the same time. In his popular TedX talk, the genomicist Jay W. Shin suggested that while the stated purpose of our genes was to act with masterful intelligence and “bring us to life, maintain our lives, protect our lives, and eventually end our lives”, the rest of our DNA was postured as “rubbish”.

That didn’t seem to fit the Bible’s description of the image of God within us. It struck me that theories can tend to declare some murky and unfounded things over humankind at times.

There is no ‘junk’ in God, so how was it that science had labelled 95-98 per cent of human DNA as ‘junk’? And how was it that I had come into agreement with such an idea? Every single human being on the planet was made in the image of God. This means when I curse another human being, I am cursing the image of God on and in them, and moreover, when I curse myself, I am actually cursing the image of God on and in my own life.

Saying mean things to myself – spiteful things – used to be my go to when life took a left-swing at me. Or if someone else said something unkind to me, I would internalize what they said and take aim at myself. I was ultra-quick on the self-hate trigger and told myself that I was stupid, ugly, and insignificant (the list went on) and by doing this, I inadvertently tossed myself aside like a piece of trash, believing the old school of thought that “I’m just made up of ‘junk’ anyway.” But today? Today the way I see myself is far more in line with the word of God and his image in the coding of my life.

Over the past decade, studies have begun to prove that human DNA actually has its own unique language, highlighting the fact that all DNA does, in fact, have a purpose. In his article, ‘Hidden Treasures in Junk DNA’, Stephen Hall stated: “The ENCODE group has produced a stunning inventory of previously hidden switches, signals and sign posts embedded like runes throughout the entire length of human DNA. In the process, the ENCODE project is reinventing the vocabulary with which biologists study, discuss and understand human inheritance and disease”.

Our DNA carries its own story (or series of stories), complex instructions, and directions. We are made up of language. We are beings who consist of intelligent communication. Each of the systems within our bodies communicates with every other system. Every organ, every bone, every teeny tiny mitochondrion communicates with us as a result of the language through which we have been created, which is Jesus: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God and the Word was with God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:1).

We carry his intelligent design in every part of our beings. Us being made in the image of God flies in direct opposition to ‘junk DNA’ theory. Our bodies are amazing. God designed us so incredibly well. He gave us everything we needed in order to heal, adapt, and live in ways far beyond the restrictions we, circumstances, or happenstance have placed upon us. This basic understanding is surely the beginning of a new journey into embodying and living the fact that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).