The Inner Life of a Cell

It's been too long. I've been in the weeds again, what with the usual holiday happenings, a deadline on the Winter Haven galleys, and a cold I can't seem to shake. But my smarter brother just sent a link I have to take the time share with you.

Some guys at Harvard’s medical school got together with some top-flight computer animation guys and came up with this simply amazing short film, which depicts “unseen molecular mechanisms and the ones they trigger, specifically how white blood cells sense and respond to their surroundings and external stimuli.” You have GOT to watch this video. Every image you are about to see is medically correct, even the little walking things, which my brother tells me were only discovered a couple of years ago, and really do move that way. (The article says the main compromise made graphically in the film is an unnatural amount space shown between the various components in the interest of clarity, because in the real world all of this is so densely packed we could not distinguish one function from another if it was shown realistically.) As you watch, think about the fact that this is happening in all of your body’s countless cells at the very moment that your cells are collectively enabling you to watch it happen on the screen. What a wonder!

I am reminded of a Hebrew poem, written nearly 3,000 years ago:

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake, I am still with you.
-Psalm 139:13-18

How wonderful to know, as the Psalmist did, although the Creator is capable of such infinite complexity, even so, when we awake we are with Him. Jesus made this same promise, but note that he expects a response from you and me in return for such Divine devotion: "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven." (Matt 10:29-33)

To those who say there is no God, to those who say whatever god there may be could not possibly care about little you and little me, I can only reply: for heaven's sake, watch this video and open your mind. As Mies van der Rohe said, "God is in the details."

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Merry Christmas, and God bless us, every one!

Posted byAthol Dickson at 8:21 AM  


Kay said... December 18, 2007 at 1:42 PM  

Good to see you!

That film is fascinating! I think it looks like a Tim Burton film or something. Maybe a sci-fi scene instead.
God is truly mind boggling!

gb said... December 18, 2007 at 11:15 PM  

I have been acquainted with this film clip since shortly after it was made and let me tell you, it does not cease to amaze and reflect the incomprehensible ingenuityof the designer and sculpter of our very being. Truly, we are awesomely made and maintained. We should also be humbled and inspired when realizing that the same holy and creative being which has so wondrously made us, has lovingly chosen to impart within each of us a portion of that same "capacity to create", as we are in fact, made in His image.

Kacy said... December 19, 2007 at 9:06 AM  

I've watched the clip twice and have saved it as a favorite. Such beautiful complexity in a "simple" cell! Thanks, Athol

Brian Reid said... February 26, 2008 at 12:58 AM  

Stunning. Thanks for posting this!

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