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Transcriptions of the Talks 4/8

Dr. Anjeanette Roberts  - “Why Did God Create Viruses?”

When others learn I’m a virologist, they often ask, “Are viruses alive?” When they learn that I’m a Christian, they often ask, “Why would a good God create viruses?”

I love to address questions like these and have spent years thinking about viruses and their roles in Creation and human sickness, and

their use as tools in mitigating suffering, and more. As a Christian who is also a scientist I often use scientific discoveries to help others see how God reveals himself to us in Creation. Christian scriptures (for example passages in Psalm 19 and Romans 1:20ff) actually tell us that Creation or nature actually points people to the realization of God’s existence. But not just that, nature actually reveals God’s power and attributes to us as well. In other words, observing Creation, even through scientific discoveries, doesn’t just point us to God but shows us what the Creator is like..

“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. the skies display His craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make Him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.” (Psalm 19:1-4)

“They know the truth about God because He has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” (Romans 1:19-20)

Now certainly some viruses can be very dangerous and even deadly. Historically, viruses were identified because of the diseases they caused (e.g., tobacco mosaic virus, rabies virus, bird flu, and smallpox), and since many of these viruses cause severe disease and suffering and many others lead to death, then the question, “Why would a good God create viruses?” is a great question! of course this question assumes that viruses are bad, causing sickness, suffering, and sometimes even death, and it implies certain improper remarks in regard to God’s Creation. This question though actually reveals a lack of understanding of viruses and their role in nature.

Now of course we know of viruses like bird flu or fowl pox, or herpes, or measles — which kills 15 people every hour — and hemorrhagic fever viruses that can affect entire populations and cause widespread disease and mortality even on a global scale. High mortality rates occur with some viruses like the most recent outbreak of Ebola virus or the historic 1918 Influenza epidemic. But these viruses are the rare, yet notable, exceptions.

Hackberry Leaf
45 Million Years
Eocene Period
Green River, Wyoming, Usa

Recent technological advances and the advent of metagenomics have changed the way we understand viruses. Scientists now have the capability to extract DNA from environmental samples and sequence multiple organisms at once. Through such analyses we now realize that Earth is filled with a truly vast array and diversity of viruses. Everywhere we find life, we find viruses. and we find them in overwhelming abundance!

A single milliliter of ocean water or a gram of soil can harbor 10 — 100 million virus particles or more! Viruses outnumber all other living things by a factor of 10 to 1 or even 100 to 1 or more! the vast majority of viruses infect single-cell organisms like bacteria and Achaea. It is estimated that there are 1031 viruses on Earth, that’s a one followed by 31 zeroes. That’s 10 million times more viruses than stars in the universe. That number can be very hard to comprehend or imagine. If we could weigh all the viruses on Earth together, they would equal the weight of 75 million blue whales. If we could line up all the viruses end to end, they would stretch out 42 million light-years. That’s almost 20 round-trips to the Andromeda Galaxy! Considering most viruses are on the order of 0.1–0.01 microns, or one one thousandth the width of a human hair, that’s a lot of viruses!

Yet only an infinitesimal fraction of an infinitesimal fraction of viruses are associated with human disease, or diseases of any kind. the vast majority of viruses on planet Earth are not associated with disease or suffering. In fact they are critical for sustaining balance in Earth’s ecological webs and providing higher ordered organisms ecological space in which to thrive. Now, one of the other questions I am often asked is, “Are Viruses Alive?” I want to address this question next because the answer is important in understanding what may or may not be true about viral origins.

Zika Virus
Like all the works on earth, this organism proclaims the might of its creator. Anjeanette Roberts

Viruses Are Comprised of Two Basic Components:

proteins and nucleic acid (RNA or DNA). (Some viruses have a third basic component: a lipid envelope.) They display incredible diversity in size, shape, replication strategies, genomic composition, genomic organization, and in the kinds of cells and animals they infect. This is an electron micrograph of viruses that infect bacteria, tobacco plants, animals and people (rabies), and cause infantile diarrhea. Estimates suggest that there are 1–3 million different viruses infecting vertebrates. and one study in bats indicates that more than 90 percent of viruses infecting mammals have yet to be identified. Despite such huge virodiversity (a phrase indicating viral diversity), all viruses share one thing in common: they cannot replicate or make more viruses on their own.

Living things consume nutrients, grow and develop, capture and/or produce energy, remove waste, and have the capacity to sexually or asexually reproduce. Viruses do not. Viruses cannot harvest nutrients from their environment. They absolutely require a living cell to provide resources, machinery, and energy to produce and assemble viral components into viral progeny or new viruses. Signals in viral proteins and nucleic acids hijack cellular machinery for viral protein synthesis as viruses depend on cellular metabolic processes and enzymes for provision of nucleobases and amino acids—building blocks for progeny virions.

Viruses also depend on intracellular transport systems for many steps in viral replication and assembly. Without living cells, viruses would never replicate. Replication of viruses is best captured by a paper copy machine metaphor. Viruses are like the paper that goes in with information written on it. But the copier provides the ink and paper (the resources), the energy, and the machinery to produce more copies of the paper. Now the metaphor fails a bit, because each copy is not necessarily perfect. Viruses can accrue changes over time as cellular replication machinery may introduce changes (or errors) to viral genetic sequences. and although viruses are not living they play a critical role in the history of life on Earth and in sustaining biodiversity today. Another question that often comes up is, “Where Do Viruses Come From?”

Viruses that infect humans, like all other viruses, are of unknown etiology. We know that some viruses cross over from animal populations to human populations, like bird and swine flus and rabies. But the ultimate origin of viruses is unknown. We don’t know where viruses originated. But because they are absolutely dependent upon living cells to make more viruses, many -evolutionistscientists consider them as escape genes from once living cells. Somehow, according to their evolutionary claims, they have escaped a functional cell and maintained the necessary components needed to replicate themselves and most have likely accrued changes and added various components over time and through continued replication in a variety of organisms.

 Pariacoto Virus

But this scenario of viral origins is problematic in many ways, not the least of which is that viruses often demonstrate a strict host specificity. They are unable to successfully enter a variety of different kinds of cells or hosts. This would make it difficult to pick up a variety of components from vastly different cells. and a second complexity is that viruses are so radically diverse from one another in replication strategies and host specificities. These factors challenge a naturalistic scenario of viral origins.

But it is also possible that viruses were designed as part of the created order. Consider this. If it were not for viruses, bacteria and other single-cell organisms would rule the Earth, sequestering all nutrients and filling all ecological niches, making higher life and the survival of multicellular organisms impossible. Bacteriophage (viruses that infect bacteria and Achaea) kill 40–50 percent of the bacteria in Earth’s oceans on a daily basis. This releases an abundance of biogenic and organic molecules into Earth’s biogeochemical cycle and food chain for the survival of other organisms.

Bacteriophage also help keep our planet’s ecological niches and our bodies’ microbiomes in balance so that we are not overrun by bacteria. If not for a balance between bacterial replication and phage-mediated death, Earth would be a giant ball of bacteria, as they are masters of replication and adaptation. Left unchecked by viruses, rampant bacterial growth would leave no room or food sources for other organisms to survive and thrive. Viruses that infect and control bacterial populations contribute to Earth’s ecological balance and biogeochemical cycles and also to Earth’s precipitation cycles. For precipitation to occur particles in Earth’s atmosphere must serve as seeds for nucleation events that initiate precipitation. Viruses, and bacterial proteins that are aerosolized after viral lysis, serve as seeds for precipitation. and of course higher life thrives because of Earth’s abundant precipitation cycles.

DNA => RNA => Protein

Certainly, many viruses associated with human disease have animal origins. These zoonotic viruses are transferred to humans when humans come in contact with animals that harbor the virus even in the absence of disease. It is unclear what roles these viruses may have in nature before making the jump into human hosts. It’s possible that some may exist to regulate animal populations, similar to the way bacteriophage regulate bacterial populations. It is also possible that many may have symbiotic effects in nature and only rarely results in disease when exposure and transmission to susceptible hosts occur from imperfect management of creation.

Viruses that have symbiotic effects have in fact been discovered. Once unnoticed because no outward sign of disease led to inquiry, viruses that allow plants, insects and other organisms to survive under otherwise challenging environmental conditions continue to be discovered. Some viruses allow infected plants survival advantages under drought or cold temperatures that prove detrimental to un-infected plants. Some viral infections render mice and human hosts resistant to other subsequent infections. No doubt many more symbiotic relationships will be discovered as we continue to explore the roles of the nearly countless viruses surrounding us.

In addition to symbiotic effects and critical roles in maintaining ecological webs and biogeochemical and precipitation cycles, viruses may even be part of God’s Creation, providentially given for our use and management. Viruses supply an abundant matrix of untapped genes and delivery systems to address many of the challenges we face in human health and disease. Regardless of their origins (or associated diseases), many viruses are tools allowing scientists to uncover keys of cellular biology, genetically alter organisms, and mitigate disease. to name just a few ways that we wield viruses for good: viruses are harnessed for use in gene therapy, cancer therapy, vaccine production, and nano-medicine delivery.

Much of what we know about molecular and cellular biology has been knowledge gained through virus studies. This table highlights 15 discoveries linked to Nobel prizes where viruses have been used to discover such things as DNA rather than proteins serves as the substance of heredity; the triple base codon nature of the genetic code; tumor suppressor genes and RNA splicing.

Viruses can also be manipulated and engineered to use in an arsenal to fight diseases. We can use viruses to fight cancers, congenital and genetic diseases, and viral and bacterial diseases. the best-known use of viruses in this respect is probably their use in vaccines such as the polio vaccines. Prior to the advent of the polio vaccines, an outbreak of polio in the US led to more than 50,000 infections in one year (1952), over 21,000 cases of paralysis and over 3,00 deaths. Since the advent of the inactivated and oral polio vaccines, global immunization campaigns have dropped the number of cases from over 350,000 cases per year in 1988 to less than 500 cases per year in 2013. Eradication of infectious polio virus may be obtained by the end of 2018 according to the latest WHO (World Health Organization) targets.

Viruses are now being used to fight cancers directly and as shuttles to deliver gene-editing molecules in fights against cancers such as sarcoma, melanoma and myeloma. Gene editing, using viruses as delivery mechanisms, may one day eliminate other congenital and genetic diseases as well as chronic infectious diseases such as HIV. the potential use of viruses to help fight human disease and enhance agricultural products is immense and exciting. Viruses may prove to be the best molecular tool for human use ever known. Viruses may also be the next best weapon to fight multi-drug resistant bacteria too!

Multi-drug resistant bacteria are still susceptible to bacteriophage lysis. Identifying and isolating the appropriate phage and determining ways to keep the phage lytic will allow us to keep some of themes pathogenic bacteria in check when antibiotics continue to fail.

So, although a few viruses are remarkably bad, we cannot paint all viruses with the same brush. In fact, life as we know it would not be possible and our thriving as human beings and caretakers of Creation would be impossible without the vast array of viruses that fill the Earth.

It is clear that some viruses were certainly part of the created order since the vast majority of life and biodiversity on Earth would not be possible without bacteriophage. Some may lead to disease primarily through our ignorance and mismanagement of Creation. Still others seem to be providentially supplied by our good Creator for our discovery, harvest and transformation in mitigating disease and suffering and even improving Creation care. Individually created or occasional cast-offs, Creation’s design certainly necessitates a vast storehouse of diverse viruses for keeping life on Earth well regulated, whether in the human gut or the global biogeochemical cycles. with such an abundance of still unknown viruses, we have so much more to discover!

AND SO MANY REASONS to MARVEL AT GOD’S AMAZING CREATION and PROVIDENCE. THANKS BE to GOD.

Dr. Anjeanette Roberts

Adnan Oktar Says

Statements Regarding Creation in the Gospel

manzara

... We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, Who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them... He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; He provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy. (Acts, 14:15-17)

... God Who made the world and everything... He himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. (Acts, 17:24-26)

So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”... the first man was of the dust of the earth... (1 Corinthians, 15:45-47)

He also says, “In the beginning, O Lord, You laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands [Your creations].” (Hebrews, 1:10)

In the Sight of God, Who gives life to everything... I charge you to keep these commands stainlessly and blamelessly until the appearance of … Jesus, the Messiah. (1 Timothy, 6:13)

For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. (Hebrews, 3:4)

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. to Him be the glory forever! Amen. (Romans, 11:36)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of

God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s masterpiece... to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians, 2:8-10)

He [God]... chose to give us birth through... (James, 1:18)

But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. (2 Peter, 3:5)

... He [God] causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew, 5:45)

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Lord. and even the very hairs of your head are all numbered... (Matthew, 10:29-30)

When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.” (Acts, 4:24)

But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ (Mark, 10:6)

“Haven’t you read [God’s revelation],” he [Jesus],” replied, “that at the beginning God ‘made them male and female.’” (Matthew, 19:4)

... Yet for us there is but one God... from Whom all things came and for Whom we live; and there is but one Lord... through Whom all things came and through Whom we live. (1 Corinthians, 8:5-6)

For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible... all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (Colossians, 1:16-17)

Through Him [God] all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. (John, 1:3)

... Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it [signs of His existence] plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. (Romans, 1:19-23)

Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. (Hebrews, 6:7)

Viruses Come in Many Forms

Viruses possess a genetic structure, but have no capacity to make that genetic information work for themselves. On their own, they lack this essential property of life. This organism’s genetic structure cannot even be regarded living in every sense of the word, yet it does however display an unbelievable variety. a virus possesses a genome of a rather large number of “letters.” Another more interesting feature is that the genome of every virus in a matchless one-off.

Viruses possess various sequences of letters depending on their length. the hepatitis B virus, for example, consists of 3.200 nucleotides, or letters. the HIV virus has 10.000 nucleotides. Larger viruses such as the herpes viruses that cause cold sores, have around 100,000 nucleotides. Thanks to the information concealed in their DNA, the only organs these organisms possess, they can reproduce and survive by entering other cells. All these properties have been squeezed into their DNA.

Thanks to their superior abilities, viruses can also change their genetic qualities in a very short time. the very same disease can exhibit different symptoms and varying degrees of virulence, thanks to viruses’ ability to change their genetic makeup. No vaccinations can be effective against such diseases because of these sudden changes.

The virus can enter a cell in its new form without its presence triggering the immune response that responded to its earlier form. Under normal conditions, vaccines—-the only precaution against viruses—stimulate the body to recognize viral strains that may infect it later, but are ineffective against a virus that has mutated itself. When a killed virus is introduced through vaccination, the immune system perceives it as hostile and produces antibodies to destroy it. However, vaccines are unable to recognize a new virus that produces the same disease but which has altered its genes. Indeed, a flu vaccine becomes obsolete the following year, because the influenza virus assumes a new form every year. This also applies to the HIV virus that leads to AIDS. However, the HIV virus mutates so fast that the antiviral medications eventually lose their effectiveness.

It is impossible not to see the superior and intelligent ability of the virus here. the virus’s speed of reproduction and changing its own form is so rapid as to far exceed those of human technology. An average virus can produce 10.000 new particles a day. If you have one viral particle on Monday, you will have 10.000 on Tuesday and soon 10.000 times 10.000, and then 10.000 times 10.000 times 10.000—1.000 billion viral particles.

When the HIV virus, for example, enters the body, the immune system destroys more than half the invading particles by within five days. Yet just as many new particles emerge during that same time. When at least one is recognized by the defense system, the others will mutate into a different form, thus resisting the attacks and becoming the first generation of the new HIV population.

From the perspective of the theory of evolution, viruses pose yet another unanswered question. the virus occupies an imaginary place on the evolutionary tree. When and how did this organism emerge? There are no fossil remains. All the scenarios of evolution are conjecture. Heading the list of questions that give evolutionists trouble the virus’s complex structure. In fact, evolutionists often classify viruses as primitive single-celled organisms like bacteria, except bacteria and viruses possess very different structures. a great many species of bacteria possess spherical chromosomes that float freely within the cell, whereas the rod-shaped chromosomes of viruses (and of human beings) are protected in the nucleus. In these terms, viruses—especially ones of the pox group—are more similar to the eukaryotes than to the prokaryotes, of which bacteria are members. In addition, the DNA and RNA packets constituting the virus’s structure are totally different from those of bacteria.

What power gives rise to such differentiation and gives viruses their ability?

manzara

Those who seek to answer “Evolution!” will always be facing inconsistencies. They may claim that the difference stems from differently functioning evolutionary mechanisms and will continue to advance new theories. Though aware of this flawless Creation, they will continue to deny it.

And the more numerous such questions will become, forcing Darwinists to continue desperately searching for new lies and coming up with new theories. Like all evolutionists before them, those who make these new claims will also waste their lives without finding any solution. and like all evolutionist claims ever been made, their claims will remain groundless and unsupported. a few will conclude that the “laws” that have been around since Darwin’s era have achieved no explanations, and that it is illogical to fly in the face of the facts. But others will have no compunction about supporting a theory built on falsehoods.

There is absolutely no doubt that a virus, which manages to enter just one out of a human being’s 100 trillion cells using incomparable methods, and which can cause the death of the individual and even of whole communities, despite being so miniscule in size, is a great miracle of God. They have been created so we may understand see the omniscience of God. Viruses have been brought into being so that we may witness how defenseless we are in the face of particles too small to be seen with the naked eye. Like all the works on Earth, this organism proclaims the might of its Creator.

That is the truth, whether people accept it or not. God reveals on this subject that:

[Hud said,] “I have put my trust in God, my Lord and your Lord. There is no creature He does not hold by the forelock. My Lord is on a Straight Path.” (Qur’an 11:56)

Mers Virus and What It Brings to One’s Mind

We have frequently heard of viral epidemics in recent years. Many people are familiar with the names of these viruses, such as HIV, Ebola, Nile Virus, H1N1 (swine flu), SARS and now Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, known as MERS.

MERS has a relatively high mortality level; thirty-five percent of reported cases have ended in death. According to the World Health Organization, 254 cases have to date been identified in various countries. Fifty new cases were reported last week and the Saudi death toll has crossed 100. In addition to Saudi Arabia, MERS cases have been seen in Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the UAE, Germany, Great Britain, France, Greece, Italy, Tunisia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

It is not yet known how the MERS virus infects humans. People carrying the virus can transmit the disease without being aware of it, or the disease may quickly end in pneumonia, organ failure and death. Research has thus far provided no answers, meaning there are no drugs or vaccinations against this virus at the moment.

The above information is what you can read in any newspaper or website. However, what I wish to emphasize in this article is something different. a tiny entity invisible to the naked eye is able to baffle 21st-century science and technology. a tiny virus may cause the death of thousands of people, as has been seen before in history. But what is it, apart from the will of God, that makes a virus impossible to beat?

The answer to this is an important sign leading to faith. God has created diseases in order to show the transitory nature of this world and to show people how weak they are, and has created and equipped viruses, which cause some of these diseases, with an amazing system.

The war between our cells and viruses is vitally important for human life. Viruses can be very active in the body and they literally invade cells; they then use the machinery and metabolism of the host cells for their replication and thus turn the cell into a factory producing more copies of themselves.

In order to accomplish its task, the virus needs enormous information, awareness and also power. It is obvious that a virus so small that it can only be seen under an electron microscope is itself unaware of this immaculate structure. So how did that structure come about? Even though the virus has no brain or eyes, how does it know when and how to act?

There is no doubt that it is Almighty God Who creates the virus, and the host cell and its machinery. with these complex entities He creates, God shows us His matchless artistry and infinite might. As we look at the details of these entities with their flawless structures they are evident signs for believers of the presence of God.

God reveals in one verse that: “In the alternation of night and day and what God has created in the heavens and the earth there are signs for people who have piety.” (Qur’an 10:6)

The virus is one of the most interesting structures in nature. It does not possess a cellular structure and consists solely of a genetic mechanism. It consists of a protein coat and genetic material (DNA or RNA) inside that coat. by itself it has no functions or organelles exhibiting signs of life. However, when it enters an organism it comes to life and becomes active. From the moment it interacts with a living cell it starts to exhibit life properties; it becomes an aggressive and also highly intelligent creature.

Before entering a cell, the virus works out which cell is suitable for it. If the test result is positive, it injects its own genetic material into the cell and begins replicating using the host cell’s DNA and RNA synthesizing machinery, and RNA processing machinery.

It is indeed very hard for the cell to become aware of the situation: It is like finding a short sentence from an encyclopedia consisting of 20 volumes. by means of this “intelligent” method, the virus mixes with the host cell’s own programming mechanisms and literally becomes a part of the cell.

Under normal circumstances, a cell never reads the code for any protein, not even of proteins of other cells, apart from those it needs whose codes are marked in DNA with special locks. However, the cell reads the virus DNA and continues producing the virus. How the virus does this is still a mystery for scientists.

This spells disaster for the cell. a dying cell is used right to the end of its energy for production according to the program wrongly encoded in its nucleus. Then it dies and is broken down. As it breaks down, the accumulated viruses enter other cells and find new targets for themselves.

This viral invasion would proceed fast enough to kill a normal person in a few days were it not for the immune system; that defense mechanism identifies the virus soon after it enters the body and immediately initiates a counter-offensive. This enables us to survive instead of being killed by the simplest virus.

God shows us our weakness through a tiny entity. In order to behave so successfully, the virus has to fit the cell in the same way a key fits a lock. We are looking at a most evident truth here; God has created viruses deliberately to cause disease. by means of troubles of this kind, human beings are better able to realize their helplessness and the infinite might of God.

People who reflect on all this will realize their own weakness before God and will turn to our Lord, seeking forgiveness. God reveals in a verse how He forgives those who turn to Him:

Your Lord knows best what is in your selves. If you are righteous, He is Ever-Forgiving to the remorseful. (Qur’an 17:25)

 

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