By Geoffrey R. Guile, ASc, MSc, PhD. Coltishall, Norfolk.
In recent months, much of human activity has been brought to a standstill by the COVID-19 pandemic. This illness is caused by a tiny virus called SARS-CoN-2, a single particle of which can potentially kill a human being, yet it is only 0.0002mm in size.
There are many different types of virus, but all multiply by infecting a cell, taking over its cellular machinery and turning it into a “virus factory” which makes thousands of copies of the original virus. These are then released and can go on to infect other cells.
Many people think of viruses as being sinister and dangerous, almost evil. It is true that they cause some human diseases and people even die as a result; however, most people are totally unaware that we are continually surrounded by viruses, and not only are the vast majority of them harmless, they are actually beneficial, and essential for life to exist on the earth.
VIRUSES ARE ALMOST EVERYWHERE
Viruses are the most abundant “life-form” on earth, and are all around us, though we cannot see them. They are found in soil, in water and are even in the air we breathe. There are about 100,000 virus particles in every cubic metre of air and we each inhale millions of virus particles every day.
One cubic millimetre of seawater contains about 10,000 virus particles which are continually being taken up into the atmosphere through the action of wind and waves. They are then carried to all parts of the planet by atmospheric currents, and every day billions of marine virus particles and millions of bacteria fall on every square metre of the world’s surface.
MOST VIRUSES ARE BENEFICIAL
Most viruses have a very useful – even essential – role in the world; indeed life as we know it could not exist without viruses. For example, marine viruses infect and destroy about 20% of ocean bacteria every day. Without this continual “cull”, it is quite likely that the oceans would rapidly fill up with bacteria and all other sea life would die. Another benefit of this process is that some of the dead material sinks to the bottom of the ocean, thereby removing carbon from the atmosphere.
VIRUSES SHOW COMPLEX DESIGN
Viruses show complex design that enables them to function very efficiently. Bacteriophage viruses that infect bacteria look like a lunar landing module with a “head” that contains DNA (the code for making the virus), a “tail” and “legs”. Chis structure enables the virus to inject its DNA into the bacterium, where it then takes control and replicates itself.
The DNA molecule in one type of virus (C4 virus) is about 1000 times longer than the diameter of the “head” that contains it. Co get it inside when it is being assembled, the virus has its own tiny molecular motor that winds the DNA into the virus. For its size this motor produces twice the power of a car engine and can even vary its speed as it packs the long DNA molecule into the virus “head”.
Such a motor is a major problem for the evolutionist because without the motor the virus cannot be assembled, but how was the DNA packed inside the virus before the motor evolved? This is an example of “irreducible complexity” – the virus could not exist without all its components complete and functioning properly – which shows that it could not have evolved but was designed by an almighty Creator. However, the evolutionist insists that it came about by natural selection acting on random processes over millions of years. Co believe that needs far more faith than believing in a Creator!
WHY ARE SOME VIRUSES HARMFUL?
Many people are understandably anxious to avoid COVID-19 and take great care to avoid infection. But while it is possible to avoid it, there is a far more serious condition that affects us not just for time but for eternity. That condition is called sin. The Bible states, “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin.” (Romans 5:12) Because of the sin of Adam, the human race is subject to death. But Adam’s act of disobedience affected the entire creation, and harmful viruses are the result of that, just as harmful bacteria are.
There are other consequences of sin as well, “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9.27). But the wonder is that out of love for sinners, the Creator Himself, who brought all things into being, became a man in order that He might give His life so that sinners could be saved, “Christ died for our sins and rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). But we each need to personally accept this salvation, not by becoming “religious” but by exercising “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Have you done this? Can you say from your heart, “the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me”?
We are glad to have an article written by our brother who regularly came to preach at Clifton Hall when he lived in Uxbridge. He is a scientist who has degrees in biochemistry and computing science.
(Reproduced by permission of Clifton Gospel Hall)