Development in The Mother Womb
At some stage in his life, everybody has an extraordinary event happen to him-a great adventure we all went through, but aren't even aware of. That was the day you began to multiply.
Subtract your age and approximately 9 months from today's date, and you will come up with the date you started multiplying. That day, you were nothing more than a newly-fertilized single cell in your mother's womb that started forming what you now call me. Then you divided and became two cells. Later, you divided again and became four cells. This division continued at great speed until a little while later, you became a mass of tissue given the name embryo. Your bones, veins, heart, skin, eyes, ears and internal organs formed. A short while later, your heart started to beat. You became able to see, hear, feel, talk and think (See Figures 7.2 and 7.3).
This all came about as the result of a single cell, one that we cannot see with the naked eye, that began to divide. At one stage, all living creatures on the face of the Earth-horses, elephants and mosquitoes-were just one single cell. But that single cell divided and multiplied. As a result, human beings opened their eyes who were 100 million times bigger and six billion times heavier than that original cell.
Giving Shape and Form to the Human Being
The act of multiplying mentioned above is no simple process. For division and multiplication to take place, the original cell must copy itself, and these copies must in turn produce copies of themselves, in time resulting in millions of duplicates of that original cell. But this whole process is much more complex and mysterious than it might seem, because at some stage of the division process, some of the copied cells receive a command to differentiate from their sister cells and form completely different structures. With time, cells arising from the same parent cell differentiate during the process of cell division to form different tissues and organ systems. Some become light-sensitive retinal cells, others liver cells, others nerve cells receptive to heat and cold, and some become auditory cells sensitive to sound waves.
How does this division of labor come about? Since a cell cannot decide on its own to become a retina, where does this decision originate?
The DNA or genetic information contained in all of these cells is identical. The difference is in the proteins the cells produced. The first cell to produce different proteins differentiates in its structure as well. If daughter cells arise from the same cell, with the same genetic information, then how does one of them suddenly start manufacturing different proteins and begin to specialize in its structure and features?
Who gave the command for these precise copies of each other to begin producing different proteins from one another?
Obviously all these questions point to a clear, knowledgeable, and controlled creative process. The Qur'an tells us of the creation of man in the following way:
We created man from the purest kind of clay; then made him a drop in a secure receptacle; then formed the drop into a clot and formed the clot into a lump and formed the lump into bones and clothed the bones in flesh; and then brought him into being as another creature. Blessed be God, the Best of Creators! (Qur'an, 23:12-14)
So as the above verses explain, the secret behind the perfect balance and harmony of the human body's formation during the process of cell division lies in the infinite power of God. Every cell carries out the duty God has assigned to it and will become whatever He has determined with His command of "Be."
This is why the human body is perfectly formed from cells with no wills of their own, but follow the will of God. Cells multiply by dividing and are thus able to form a faultless human nose, hand, eyelid, or kidney. They divide for as long as required and stop at the appropriate time. That cells do not divide uncontrollably-for instance, that a nose doesn't keep dividing until it becomes like an elephant's trunk-is a clear sign of this control. The feverish division of these unconscious cells to bring about a human being's internal organs and external appearance is a proof of God's infinite power.
The volition that creates a human being does not belong to these cells. The creator can only be God and, just as He has commanded the entire universe to submit to His will, so has He commanded cells. About this matter, the Qur'an tells us the following:
God-Him from Whom nothing is hidden, either on Earth or in heaven. It is He Who forms you in the womb however He wills. There is no deity but Him, the Almighty, the All-Wise. (Qur'an, 3:5-6)
In another verse the Qur'an calls to people:
It is God Who made the earth a stable home for you and the sky a dome, and formed you, giving you the best of forms, and provided you with good and wholesome things. That is God, your Lord. Blessed be God, the Lord of all the worlds. (Qur'an, 40:64)
In another verse, God addresses His creation:
O man! What has deluded you in respect of your Noble Lord? He Who created you and formed you and proportioned you and assembled you in whatever way He willed. (Qur'an, 82:6-8)
Clearly, God created man. Wherever you look, you can see traces of this creation. But alas, certain ideas have clouded the mind of man and blinded him to this great truth-and as the above verse states, deluded him. Evolution comes at the head of this list of delusions. But this theory, which tries so hard to reject the truth, naturally collapses when we examine each of the stages of living beings.
One of these stages is the process of cell division mentioned above. About our mysterious development in our mother's womb, the German scientist Hoimar von Ditfurth, an adamant supporter of evolution, has this to say:
Von Ditfurth must admit that these events cannot be explained by evolution theory, though he may make mention of some meaningless "theoretical frameworks" to hide its failure.
Other well known proponents of evolution are unable to explain how a single cell can develop to become a human being comprised of 100 trillion cells with different organs and tissues. They describe this miracle as a black spot in the theory of evolution.
Above, we wrote of the cell's division and differentiation processes in very rough outline, but the real process is much more complex and detailed.
As a result of division, two identical cells form (see Figure 7.4). These two cells will grow and divide to form four cells that are exact copies of each other in terms of structure and function. This process will continue on in the same manner. But if this "normal" process is allowed to continue, what will form in the mother's womb is a large piece of tissue, not a baby.
After a certain number of divisions, something happens to one of the two identical cells. Instead of continuing to divide, one of them suddenly begins to produce a special protein that will determine its structure. In contrast, the other twin cell does not produce any proteins and keeps on dividing. But after about four or five divisions, its offspring cells begin to produce a protein. In this way, cells differentiate into becoming hundreds of different variations with different features, despite all having come from the same original parent cell (see Figure 7.5).
The "science" meant by evolutionists observes all of these events, but cannot explain the logic behind them. A Will, Whose existence evolutionists do not wish to accept, commands cells to begin dividing and when the time comes, differentiating. In response, evolutionists give ridiculous explanations for this process they observe, speaking of these events as "miracles of nature."
During the process of differentiation, cells act as if they know exactly what they're doing. They differentiate not just in the production of proteins, but also in terms of their shape, which aligns with their future function. Cells to form nerves develop into long structures in order to transmit electrical signals (see Figure 7.7). Connective cells form spherical shapes able to withstand pressure.
Bone cells also begin to form at the embryonic stage. Some that appear ordinary begin to accumulate calcium for no apparent reason, and as a result form very rigid tissue that is extremely strong, able to carry kilograms of weight throughout one's entire life. But bone is much lighter than a substance of comparable durability, since gaps within it confer upon it lightness, elasticity, and durability.
If bone did not have these spaces allowing for the tissue to flex, then the slightest blow would shatter the bone. The cage system used in our modern-day buildings is a simple imitation of our bones' perfect structure, which confers durability and elasticity.
Looking into the Future – Prior Knowledge
As the embryo develops in its mothers womb, the different cells that compose it come to depend on each other. Muscle cells need red blood cells to bring them oxygen (see Figure 7.6), and red blood cells need bone marrow cells to exist in the first place.
But during development, the embryo has no environment where it can use its muscles, nor does it need muscles at this stage. It even lacks a circulatory system through which blood cells can travel. This piece of tissue in its mother's womb has the foresight to produce substances with the correct features that it will need in later life.
In order for such production to take place, the information files (or genes) in the DNA, the information bank of the cell, need to be opened in advance. Clearly, the cells themselves do not work out such pre-planning.
The system must be already present within the program of the cells. And just as every program has a programmer, the Master of this ready-made system programmed into the cell is the Creator of all things, God.
The Cell's Plan for Time and Place
Just as a particular plan is followed in a building's construction, so too do the cells follow a particular building plan. For the formation of an organism, however, a time plan is also needed to determine what is to be done when, and in which order.
If there is no determination of when and where to start construction, or when each part should be assembled one by one, then even the best plan is useless.
We know that it's necessary to construct a building in basic stages: Once the walls go up, then the roof can be put in place. But we cannot proceed to plastering the walls before installing the electrical wiring and water pipes, so while the walls are being erected, it's necessary to leave gaps where the electrical wires and water pipes can later be placed.
Thus, besides a building plan to be followed to the letter, a detailed timeframe is also needed.
The cells that will build a human being need similar planning. But almost nothing is known about which part of the plan is followed before any other. As yet, biologists have not determined when a cell needs to ignore a certain part of the plan it's following, much less who is in control of this plan overall. While some genes-that is, files containing information about every characteristic and organ-are inhibited at just the right time when necessary, it is not known how some genes' "lock" is opened, who gives the command to suppress genes or later, to negate the command and allow the gene to resume into action. These questions have left scientists in the dark.
An invisible authority determines the correct time and place, and how the genes are to go into action. In this way too, the cell begins to make the necessary proteins to specialize accordingly. Skin cells, for instance, are rich in a special protein called keratin, which gives the skin special protection. Muscle cells are enveloped in a protein called myosin, which has the special ability to affect a similar protein and change its length. It can therefore facilitate the contraction of muscle fibers. Brain cells, on the other hand, contain helper proteins that transmit electricity. All other cells of specialized tissue produce unique proteins to the tissue that determine the particular type of cell.
In this way, some cells produce keratin in order to become skin cells and others, myosin to become muscle cells. Actually, all cells contain in their DNA the genes needed to produce keratin and myosin, ready for use at any time. But while skin cells use the genes for keratin, the genes for myosin are skipped over. The enzyme that produces the mRNA finds and reads only the genes for keratin and takes them to the ribosomes, the cell's production center. This way, the cell produces no myosin or any other irrelevant protein, but only keratin. It has finally become a skin cell and nothing else. In muscle cells, on the other hand, the gene for myosin is "read" and the gene for keratin skipped over.
As the embryo develops, the DNA must use each gene in a programmed manner as the need arises and ignore others. Hundreds of proteins are needed for the formation of any particular type of cell. In other words, while many genes are used or "read" in a particular cell, many more genes coded for proteins for other specialized cells are not. The DNA and all the genes must know when these genes need to begin work, and when they need to stay out of action. If the DNA lacked this control, and if other unwanted genes were read along with ones the cell needed, this would result in a mass of tissue with cells of different types all mixed together.
Consequently, with the magnificent plan and intelligence at work here, we can see no created being who could possess such intelligence. The truth is, the Master of this whole plan and extraordinary system is God, the Lord of all the worlds; and there is no deity besides Him.
During embryonic growth, billions of cells need to settle in their own special places, taking an amazing journey to where they belong. This is called cell migration. Just as important as the location where the cells are to wind up, is the timing of this event. During this development in the womb, even a tiny mistake such as a cell moving to within a hundredth of a millimeter of where it's supposed to go, or a timing difference of a hundredth of a second, can result in a baby born with legs coming out of its head or ears coming out of its chest. But the system is so perfect that no such mistakes are made.
Following this special path, the cells travel within the embryo until they reach their destination, recognize it and stop there. Billions of cells know beforehand the path they will take and their destination. Moreover, they make decisions about starting their journey and stopping when they get where they belong. As a result, no stomach cell ever gets confused with a liver cell. The perfectly working inner organs of the human body never become just an accumulation of tissue. As the cells slowly start to take the shape of a human being, not the slightest confusion or disorder takes place.
During all these events, the migrating cells must recognize the other cells located at their destination. For example, during development of the nervous system, millions of developing neurons, or nerve cells, try to find pairs by forming connections with each other. Once they do, they join together perfectly in a magnificent feat of engineering to form the organ's final shape and structure. For instance, brain cells form about 120 trillion electrical connections in order to facilitate the necessary information flow among them. Even one faulty connection or short circuit would ruin this amazing electronic circuitry, whose like has never been duplicated artificially.
But it is impossible for trillions of cells with no ability to think or plan to work together, move together in harmony, and find their partners within a perfect measurement and plan, set out on their own and find their way to settle in the right location. Obviously, they take their journey under the guidance of a Power to which everything submits and which controls everything, and that causes them to reach their destination. This is why it is not possible for cells to lose their way, take a wrong turn or go to the wrong place, or to confuse pairs.
The Amazing Harmony of Development
Another miracle we can observe during fetal development is proportional growth-for organs to grow at the same time, at the same rate.
Each organ has a particular size. In order to attain to this exact size, nothing more or less, timing needs to be adjusted very carefully. Paired organs like hands, feet, ears, and eyes need to start forming and stop growing at the same time, so they will have reached the same size at the end of their development. In the same way, in order for any organ to be symmetrical, its cells need to move in synchrony with each other at the correct time.
What would happen if this didn't occur? Consider two organs growing at different rates, independently of each other. Imagine the result if, for instance, the brain grew at a much faster rate than the skull surrounding it. The skull, not expanded to a sufficient capacity, would squeeze the brain, leading to the death of the baby. Or else the brain will continue growing and distort the skull, leading to the damage of both. Or if the skin develops much more slowly than the body's framework, the skeleton and appendages continuing to develop at greater speed will stretch the skin until it tears. We can give many examples, from the harmonious development of the cell membrane and the cell organelles to the balanced growth of the skeleton and internal organs...
Never forget that all these mishaps would be the natural results of coincidental growth. In other words, if human beings develop in the womb by coincidence, there's no reason why such fatal accidents should not occur. The only reason they don't, why we come to the world as healthy human beings, is because God has created us in a controlled manner. The Qur'an speaks about the creation of human beings:
God brought you out of your mothers wombs knowing nothing at all, and gave you hearing, sight and hearts so that perhaps you would show thanks. (Qur'an, 16:78)
Another verse explains the creation of human beings:
He created you from a single self, then produced its mate from it, and sent down livestock to you-eight kinds in pairs. He creates you stage by stage in your mothers' wombs in a threefold darkness. That is God, your Lord. Sovereignty is His. There is no deity but Him. So what has made you deviate? (Qur'an, 39:6)
While growth in the womb continues, an even more amazing event takes place. While some cells continue to divide, others kill themselves, thereby allowing certain organs to take shape. During the development of the hand or foot, for instance, some cells die off according to a certain pattern in order to form the fingers.
At this point, we are faced with a question: Do these dying cells know beforehand the structure of hands and feet, so that they sacrifice themselves for the living being who will use them? The dying cells may not know what they are dying for, but certainly seem to know the structure, shape, and working mechanism of the organs to be formed in their absence.
But accepting for a moment that these cells do know all this, still we're left with a situation that uproots the logic of evolution and causes it to collapse. Evolution states that all living things partake in the struggle for survival. But here, certain cells are sacrificing themselves for a higher purpose. Not possessing consciousness, how did these cells come to attain such a self-sacrificing nature, which is rarely to be found in human beings?
Mankind's physical characteristics, just like everything else, come about through God's will and command. You owe your hand's existence to the cells that God ordered to die while you were still a fetus, and whose death resulted in the shape of your hand now (see Figure 7.11). The shape of a human being, his beauty, his height and all other characteristics that he thinks belong to him and cause him to boast so-all come about due to activity, caused by God, of tiny little cells.
One verse describes God's creation as follows:
He is God-the Creator, the Maker, the Giver of Form... (Qur'an, 59:24)
This creation is so perfect that a human being is born, covered by a layer of skin a few millimeters thick.
The noses of all human beings are approximately the same size. These dimensions have stayed the same for thousands of years because when the nose is forming, the cells stop dividing once they reach a particular size. In this way no one's nose keeps growing to an abnormal size, nor is any baby born with a nose half-developed. All organs keep growing in harmony with each other, as God commands.
The fact that each person has a unique face is a miracle in itself. Even though every one of the billions of people on the face of the Earth has two ears, two eyes, two eyebrows, a nose and a mouth, all have different faces. This perfect organization occurs differently in each person, resulting in endless variety.
From time to time, God gives us reminders of what a great bounty His perfect system is. Just a tiny change God makes in this planning can result in major disabilities, even freaks of creation. Again by His command, illnesses like cancer arise when cells do not stop dividing, but keep on multiplying. One wisdom in this is that people can remember they need to be grateful to God for everything they have. If they fail to thank Him, they will be faced with this question: "Do you then disbelieve in Him Who created you from dust, then from a drop of sperm, and then formed you as a man?" (Qur'an, 18:37). And in the Afterlife, they will receive their punishment for their denial.
What if a cell that you cannot see with your eyes, a cell in any organ in your body that normally lives in harmony with trillions of its friends, suddenly starts doing something it is not meant to do?
What if this tiny cell that has performed its duty perfectly, 24 hours a day for its whole life, suddenly starts dividing when it is meant to stop-and keeps on dividing, with no regard for its surrounding tissues?
This tiny cell, that you're not aware in your daily life and don't much care about anyway, could become a cancer cell that terminates your life.
In its widest definition, cancer, is abnormal behavior displayed by cells for reasons not yet understood. It can begin in any cell at any time, anywhere in the body.
Cancer cells divide at a much faster rate than their normal neighboring cells which stop dividing when they reach maturity. Cancer cells, however, never stop multiplying as long as they can enjoy a supply of nutrients.
A change occurs in the interactions of cancer cells with the cells around them. Compared to before, they display more independent, egotistical and even bad neighborly relations. For instance, the cells lose their stickiness, one of the most important factors in development: As they divide, cells tend to adhere to neighboring cells because of special proteins on their surfaces. Normal cells losing this basic feature is an important factor leading to malignant growths or cancer.
The combination of the above two factors-increased rate of cell division, and loss of the cell's stickiness-is fatal. This means that from the time it mutates, this new and discordant tissue will grow rapidly.
Something even worse can take place: The cancer cells can metastasise, or enter the circulation and travel to other places in the body where they form new cancer colonies. After a while, these malignant cells can kill the body in which they arose.
In normal cells, limits and prohibitions stop the program of cell division when particular cells have filled their space, or when they have reached the total mass predetermined for them. The medical establishment still does not know what these limits are, how they operate, or what gives them the order to start and stop dividing. The only thing we know is when these limits are not adhered to, cancer starts. And as long as cancer cells have a supply of nutrients they can multiply as much as they like.
The source of their nutrients is the body they live in. The circulatory system that supplies blood and nutrients to the body's 100 trillion normal cells also carries these needed nutrients to cancerous cells. Available blood vessels, however, are not enough to feed these greedy cells which multiply so rapidly. But cancer cells overcome this obstacle by stimulating the cells next to them to produce new blood vessels. Research has shown that cancerous cells secrete a substance that causes blood vessels to develop. In this way, new blood vessels reach right into the mass of cancer cells, allowing them to keep on dividing. It is still not known exactly what this secretion is, anything about its properties or how it affects cells. But as the blood vessels grow and transport more nutrients, the cancer grows also.
This is truly amazing: In order to survive and multiply, a cancerous cell synthesizes a substance that modern technology can neither understand nor duplicate. This substance causes blood vessel cells to form new vessels to bring them nutrients. This point leaves us with an unavoidable question: How did the cancer cell gain such knowledge?
In order for it to do all this by itself, the cancer cell must have solved the mysteries of stimulating blood vessels and must be able to secrete a substance accordingly, which will activate new bloods vessel and bring them into service. Should we see the cancer cell as possessing greater intelligence than ourselves?
Another important point is that the first diseased cell that began the cancer wasn't a cancerous cell from birth. It appeared to be normal, but suddenly with an unknown command, it degenerated and became cancerous. So if it has become a cancer cell after, where did it learn the formula for that amazing fluid we mentioned earlier that influenced blood vessels to produce new vessels which would nourish the cancer cells?
Undoubtedly there is a great subtlety and important purpose behind God's creation of cancer. By demonstrating what painful results come about with the slightest changes to the system He has created, God reminds mankind of their impotence in respect to Him.
Perhaps medicine will soon find a cure for cancer. Who knows? But when this cure is found, it will serve only to clarify the degree of perfection in the system God created. Once a solution is found and the details of this mechanism are more closely studied, then the subtlety, superior knowledge and intelligence in His creation will be revealed for all to see.
Cancer ad Mutations
For what reason should any cell develop these properties, which are so difficult to overcome? This is still not known. What triggers the transformation of a normal cell into a cancerous one is still a big question. But some of the facts we know about how cancer begins are reminiscent of mutation-in other words, a change in the DNA of one single cell.
Mutations and cancer have the following relationship:
Consequently, the most likely cause of cancer is a change in the cell's DNA, that is, a mutation. Obviously the opposite is true: a mutation that causes a change in the DNA, would also lead to cancer.
This is another piece of evidence that brings the theory of evolution to its knees once again. If you remember, evolutionists use mutations as one of their most important explanations for how living things could arise from one original source, yet still be so different. They claim that mutations bring about "coincidental" changes in organisms, some of which are "beneficial," leading to the formation of a new species which has adapted a useful characteristic. But as mentioned earlier, there's no such thing as a "beneficial" mutation, regardless of how the evolutionists may claim otherwise. Most mutations we know of result in fatal diseases like cancer or the ailments seen after Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Chernobyl. Thus mutations, the last resort evolutionists take to explain the evolution of species, can only destroy an existing system.
Actually, this harmful characteristic of mutations only emphasizes once more the magnificent information in the billions of codes within DNA. Any change in the DNA which has been written with such perfect subtlety could mean the end of the organism. That even a single change can lead to cancer demonstrates even more clearly that human DNA could not have come about as a result of coincidence.
In short, health does not come about by coincidence, but is the result of a very special creation and bounty bestowed by God. Our response is to give Him thanks, because God can take away this health whenever He wills, and every day He shows us that He can create fatal sickness in any part of the body.
What befalls you, then, is to be grateful to God for giving you health and forming you as a man. (Qur'an, 18:37) When sickness befalls you, know that sickness and health alike both come from God. And like Prophet Abraham (pbuh), you should say, "and when I am ill, it is He Who heals me" (Qur'an, 26:80) and hope for His help.
13-Hoimar von Ditfurth, Im Amfang War Der Wasserstoff, p. 126.