A Miraculous System Created for a New Life
The continuation of the human race in the world is possible with the perfect working of the reproductive system. The bodies of men and women are quite different from each other in the functioning of their reproductive systems, but these functionally very different systems perfectly complement each other with the result that a new human being is born into the world. From basic elements produced in two distinct human bodies, independently of each other, one of the greatest wonders of the world occurs: the miracle of human creation...
In order for the miracle of human creation to happen, the necessary preparations actually begin many years earlier. First, male and female reproductive cells must become functional. This comes about in every human being through the process called puberty. The most important element in this process is certainly the hormonal system, which establishes communication among the cells under the direction of the brain.
God created a system in which all the needs of the human body and its development would be under the control of the brain. He caused messages coming to the brain from the organs to be evaluated by the brain, which then gives the appropriate response; this is then delivered to the required area in the shortest possible time. In this process the hormonal system is used to deliver the information. God has created in the human body a perfect postal route for communication. On this postal route, message-carrying molecules are called "hormones" each one of which really performs the function of a postman. Just as a postman follows his route throughout the city, delivering letters to the right addresses, so do hormones carry commands from the brain to the relevant cells. In this way, the functions required for human life are activated within the body.
But here we must be reminded that hormones are not human beings who possess the consciousness to know what messages to carry or to what place to carry them, or to determine the direction of their route. They have not received training, nor have they gained experience after years of studies. The hormones we have called the postmen, are composed of molecules that may be expressed in the most complex formulas. It is certainly a great wonder that a molecule knows where it is going and what it is delivering; that it determines what message it will take to which cell; that it finds its way without ever getting lost in the total darkness of a human body millions of times larger than itself and that it carries out this duty flawlessly, without damage to itself or to its message. This example alone is proof of the extraordinary systems that God has put in place within the human body.
It is He Who forms you in the womb however He wills. There is no god but Him, the Almighty, the All-Wise. (Qur'an, 3: 6)
The functioning of a person's hormonal system generally begins when he is still in his mother's womb and continues right up until his death. Reproductive glands start to function as a result of the effect of hormones too. But unlike other parts of the body, the secretion of hormones relevant to the reproductive glands begins in puberty. The hypothalamus, a small area at the base of the brain, is regarded as the controller of the hormonal system; in puberty, it begins to send messages to the pituitary gland to cause the reproductive organs to begin functioning.
Here too it is useful to point out another wonder. The hypothalamus is aware of the developments in the human body; for example, it knows how old a person is and whether or not the person is physically developed enough for his reproductive system to begin functioning. And the hypothalamus performs its work consciously. In other words, the hypothalamus, taking time into account and determining that a person's adulthood has come, gives the appropriate commands to the various endocrine glands in the body. It sends the messages (hormones) at exactly the right moment to the destined reproductive organs and assures the beginning of the development required to allow the human race to continue. And this does not apply to the hypothalamus of just one individual; at this moment the hypothalamuses of millions of people living in the world are performing this function in the same way and at almost the same period. The fact that this piece of flesh, occupying in our bodies a place no larger than that of a few sugar cubes, is aware of time and can make adjustments for the passage of time is certainly something that demands our thought and attention. How does the hypothalamus make such calculations? Has someone told the hypothalamus what it must do, or has it found out for itself? How does the hypothalamus calculate that the reproductive glands must develop in order for a human being to come into being? How does it know that this particular hormone must be secreted at this particular time? And how does it determine, among all the hormones that it produces, which one will set the reproductive system in operation at exactly the right time? Does it have the foresight to decide on some plan for the future, and make the requisite provisions and preparations to carry out this plan? Why does it wait until the exact time, neither sooner nor later, when the human body is physiologically ready for reproduction?
The intelligence that can make a mass of flesh without eyes, ears or even a brain, direct cells as if it were itself an intelligent being, is incomparable and too much for us to imagine.
It is neither chance nor any other force that makes the hypothalamus aware of time; the high intelligence that gives it its particular function belongs to God. It is the All-knowing God Who inspires this small piece of flesh to know what it has to do. That everything is in God's control is revealed in the verse:
... God is watchful over all things. (Qur'an, 33: 52)
In the pages that follow, it will be beneficial to keep this fact well in mind.
Hormones Can Differentiate the Sexes
The hypothalamus takes the first necessary steps to bring males and females to the stage of puberty by sending the Gn-RH hormone (Gonadotropin-releasing hormone) via the bloodstream to the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland begins its function on the command of the hypothalamus and starts to send hormones which will activate the reproductive organs. These are the LH (luteinizing) hormone and the FSH (follicle stimulating) hormone. Each of these hormones is secreted in both men and women, but their effect is different.1
In spite of the fact that the same hormones are secreted in both men and women, it is most surprising how totally different their effects are. For example, in women, the FSH hormone stimulates the production of the egg; in men, the same hormone stimulates the production of the sperm. In women the LH hormone ensures that the egg is discharged on its way to the uterus and that another hormone called progesterone is secreted by the female reproductive system. Progesterone is used to prepare the uterus for the baby. The same hormone performs a totally different function in men, stimulating the cells for the secretion of the testosterone hormone. Testosterone produces the male characteristics and assures the production of sperm.
Have they not looked into the dominions of the heavens and the earth and what God has created, and seen that it may well be that their appointed time is near? In what other revelation will they believe, those that deny this?
It is certainly interesting to consider that same hormones are produced in different bodies according to the same formulas but cause results which are totally different from one another.
When a hormone is secreted in a male body, it knows that it belongs to a male and makes the appropriate changes. For example, testosterone causes the development of muscles in the male body, it makes the voice deeper and the beard grow.
The same hormone is secreted in the female body according to the same formula but, in women, it causes almost totally opposite results. A hormone that gives a female voice to a woman and a male voice to a man and that can adjust the development of the body according to the sex, is a hormone that can distinguish between the anatomy and chemistry of a male and female body. The fact that a hormone possesses such knowledge means that it has intelligence and must have received instruction.
Many people do not even know about the influence of hormones on the male and female reproductive organs, the inter-relations among the cells or how the bodily functions have been put into operation. They have no idea of the body's chain of command, the sending and delivering of the messages, that the development of the body depends on these commands, and that the slightest hitch in the functioning of the system can have fatal consequences; nor do they have any control over this functioning. It is not at all unusual for a person who has not had special training in this field to be unaware of these things, but the fact that a group of molecules has this knowledge is incredible.
How do the hormones, seen below with their molecular structures, come into being and be in possession of chemical information? How is it that, not content just to know the chemistry of the body, each one, like a chemist, uses the knowledge it possesses, applying it to the areas of the body where it is required? How do they direct other cells to produce the requisite hormones at the time they are required? How can this unconscious mass of molecules have the intelligence to do all these things? It is clear that the molecules called hormones cannot have this intelligence. It is evident that all these processes could not come about by chance by any other such random operation.
There is only one explanation for this: the biochemical processes by which males and females are given their separate characteristics show the existence of a deliberate plan and design. This design is the work of the supreme intelligence of God. What a human being must do is to think very deeply about this flawless art and to submit to the Lord Who is the supreme ruler of everything.
The Development of Reproductive Cells
In a factory that employs technological devices, many robotic machines are used in the various stages of production. All the programs, functional systems, technical support units for these machines, in short, every kind of information that may be required in the course of production is located at the control centre of that factory. It is like a data bank in which is deposited all the information needed for use in the stages of production, and in quality and damage control. The human body is the most advanced and complex structure in the world; if we compare it with such a factory we can say that, in order for this factory to continue operating, it must have all the information stored in the DNA molecule in the nucleus of the cell.
While a human being is still a newly fertilised egg cell in his mother's womb, God determines all the qualities that he will have in the future and imprints them in the DNA molecules. From his hair colour to his height, from the illness he is prone to throughout his life to every imaginable physical characteristic every human quality is preserved carefully, but in a size so small that it can be seen only by an electron microscope.
DNA is found in every one of the approximately 100 trillion cells of our body. The average diameter of a cell is 10 microns (one micron is one thousandth of a millimeter); if we think about this, we can more easily understand how much information is stored in such a small space.
If we think of DNA, which allows the life of living things to continue according to a planned program, as an encyclopedia, the volumes of this encyclopedia are its chromosomes.
It is very important that these chromosome volumes occur in pairs in the DNA molecule. In the process of his creation, every human being receives one of these two chromosome volumes from his mother and the other from his father. The 23 chromosomes that come from the mother and the 23 that come from the father are of are complementary to one another. That is, the 46 chromosomes in the nucleus of a human cell are actually 23 pairs of chromosomes. The 23rd chromosome has a special function: it is usually denoted by the letter X or Y. In males, one of the members of the pair is the X chromosome, the other is the Y chromosome; in females, the 23rd chromosome is composed of two X's.2
In light of this information a question comes to mind: if every human cell is composed of 46 chromosomes, how is it that as a result of the combination of a mother's and a father's cells, the newly born individual has 46 chromosomes? It would seem logical for the mother's 46 chromosomes and the father's 46 chromosomes to produce an abnormal baby with 92 chromosomes. But this is not the case. How is it then that everyone is born with 46 chromosomes?
The answer to this question shows the great wonder of creation.
An Unerring Division...
In the cells of the body two kinds of division take place. Of these, the kind of division called "mitosis" occurs in all the body's cells. During mitosis, one cell gives rise to two genetically identical daughter cells. As a result of this division, the mother cell divides to form two daughter cells, each containing the same number and kind of chromosomes as the mother cell.
That is God, your Lord. There is no god but Him, the Creator of everything. So worship Him. He is responsible for everything. (Qur'an, 6: 102)
Here, it is necessary to make one point clear at the outset. If the reproductive cells divided in this way and if they had the same number of chromosomes as the other cells in the body, it would not be possible for a human being to become a human being because, as we explained above, a birth resulting from the combination of the separate 46 chromosomes of the mother and father would produce a baby with 96 chromosomes causing a complete distortion of the human make-up. But because of the incomparable design of our bodies this does not happen. The kind of division that happens in the formation of the reproductive cells is different; it is called "meiosis". In the course of "meiosis" the number of chromosomes in the cells is reduced by half, that is from 46 to 23.
Before these divisions are complete, the reproductive cells have not come to maturity. In every male and every female body there is a mechanism that brings these cells to maturity and prepares them for the difficult journey ahead of them. The male and female reproductive systems, which are completely unknown to one another and are very different in many ways, try to make the cells they produce ready for one another.
In the following pages a detailed account of this topic will be given. But, as you read these pages, there is an important point that you should notice. From the very first moment that the reproductive cells begin to divide, they are subject to a definite plan. Nothing is random. The cells divide exactly as necessary and maintain the required number of chromosomes without any change or deficiency throughout the process. Every organ, every cell of which it is composed, and the organelles which make up the cells, function in perfect harmony. In addition, the molecules that make up the enzymes and the hormones which play a role in the functioning of the body, and the atoms that make up these molecules, are part of a highly complex information system, which tells them when they will have to start their work, and they are never at a loss to know how and to what degree it is necessary to exert their influence.
Cells, enzymes, hormones in short, the harmony that exists among all the parts of the body is certainly something worth thinking about.
The fact that a molecule and the atoms that make up this molecule can make a plan, and act according to it; that one part can give a command and another part obey it, understand it and put it into effect is too extraordinary a thing to be the product of chance. The fact that this has happened and still happens without exception in the bodies of the millions of human beings who have ever lived makes it all the more extraordinary that the same harmony operates perfectly in every individual. It is clear that this cannot be by random chance, and that a supreme, conscious intelligence is responsible for giving their special qualities to the microscopic cells that make up our bodies, as well as to the hormones that these cells produce, to the enzymes and the hundreds of thousands of other tiny elements in the human system. It is obvious that every part of every stage of the whole system that functions in the human body is beyond human comprehension and that it is the work of an incomparably powerful intelligence.
This supreme intelligence belongs to God, Who has created the whole universe down to its smallest detail. In the Qur'an, God says that there are no other gods besides Him:
God, there is no god but Him, the Living, the Self-Sustaining. He is not subject to drowsiness or sleep. Everything in the heavens and the earth belongs to Him. Who can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them but they cannot grasp any of His knowledge save what He wills. His throne encompasses the heavens and the earth and their preservation does not tire Him. He is the Most High, the Magnificent. (Qur'an, 2: 255)
1 Guyton&Hall, Tıbbi Fizyoloji, Nobel Tıp Kitabevleri, İstanbul, 1996, 9. baskı, s. 1005, 1017
2 Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human - Clinically Oriented Embryology, W. B. Saunders Company, 1983, Canada, s. 141