Death: The fingerprint of God

Why did evolution go to all the trouble to create such exquisite things as plants and animals but allow them to grow old and die?

Let’s explore this question a little bit.

I’m not attacking evolution, but instead applauding it’s work… that is, except for one little oversight: death.

“Death makes sense,” you may say. Oh does it? Well let’s think about it for a moment. Which is harder:

A) to produce a super complex self aware biological thinking machine (other wise known as a human) 

OR

B) to make those humans live indefinitely, or at least longer? 

When you consider the phenomenal amount of work it is to produce a complex life form like the one currently reading this article, it is quite clear it would be easier to prolong life than create it.

“Good job evolution, you’ve done it! You’ve made a human… but If I could I’d like to ask a little question… Why are our lives so short?”

When you think about the amazing progress that the human body, or any animal for that matter, represents it’s really quite bizarre that evolution played so stingy with our measly life-spans.

You might think that aging and death is just the wearing out of the body… That seems totally logical. After all most things wear out and break down, right? So isn’t ageing and death just part of the natural erosion of time…

NOPE!

It’s not just wear and tear. Gene scientists have found that aging and death are regulated by a certain set of genes. “regulated.” It’s in the genome on purpose it’s not simply wear and tear. Joao Magalhaes – a research scientist at the university of Liverpool said, “It is clear now that aging is not just a passive, random process.“ Here is another great quote from George Williams:

 

“It is indeed remarkable that after a seemingly miraculous feat of morphogenesis a complex metazoan (or animal) should be unable to perform the much simpler task of merely maintaining what is already formed.” 

He’s saying that maintenance of the body, is much easier than the genesis of a body.

Maybe this will help. Let’s imagine that you have a car that you take extraordinary care of. Any time something breaks you have it fixed by a pro. You follow all of the scheduled maintenance. Anything that gets worn out, you replace. How long would that car last? It would last, as long as you continued to take care of it.

What these gene scientists are saying, is that the body is extremely good at fixing and replacing broken parts. Your body is so good at it, that it technically is capable of living much longer. However, there is a set of genes in your genome that automatically kicks into action. What do these genes do? They regulate aging that leads to your eventual death.

It’s really important that you get this, because it’s huge. Your body doesn’t age and die because it’s worn out. It ages and dies, because a set of genes in your genome trigger the decrees of your bodies natural maintenance plan. This means your body is a ticking time bomb, with an intentional trigger hardwired into the system.
Why are those aging genes there? If evolution is blindly creating the ever-better surviving animal, wouldn’t that be the first thing we see removed? -Natural selection should have eliminated the aging and death gene thousands of generations ago.

To further complicate this issue, gene scientists have found that aging can be altered by altering these gene sets. In some worms for example gene alterations can increase it’s life ten fold. (Reference Article) If this is the case, If it can be done by a scientist in the lab, a scientist with limited understanding, why didn’t evolution do it?

Evolution has had millions of years… no strike that, billions of years of research. Modern genetic science (from the point of the first isolation of DNA) has only been around about 70 years. (reference article) So, genetic scientists have figured out in 70 years what evolution couldn’t figure out in four and a half billion. Four and a half B-B-Billion. Come on- something’s wrong with this picture.

If the primary outcome of natural selection is SURVIVAL, death should have been the first thing eradicated by the first unicellular organisms.

There’s no reason why evolution could not create an organism that never dies? So why didn’t evolution do that?

There is one constant in this biological existence: death. But wait, why in the world should we expect death to be a constant? Why does death have to be ubiquitous. Why not, long robust life. Shouldn’t evolution been able to make a human body that can live 120 years, or 250, or 1000?

For me, this is the classic, “what’s wrong with this picture” scenario.

Don’t fear. I have a theory. It’s only a theory, so don’t shoot the theorist, but it’s at least an explaination.

So here is my hypothesis. We die because we are designed to… now, I know this isn’t a popular idea, but it’s the best explanation I can come up with to explain why evolution hasn’t eradicated that gene set.

Now, I might have lost some of you at “design.” If so, that’s ok. For those of you who are brave souls, let’s press on. You’ve earned an explanation.

As you may have puzzled together by now, death seems to be interjecting into organism’s DNA structure deliberately. Natural selection moves toward survival, so this ‘death gene set’ must be in there intentionally. Now let’s think for a second what “intentionally” implies.

For there to be a system that intentionally defies natural selection, it’s reasonable to conclude that there is a being of origin to have that intention to put that gene set in place.

Ok, so I’m just going to lay my cards on the table now. If I’ve lost you I’ve lost you, but here is what I’m proposing.

The bible has something pretty interesting to say about this whole death thing. It points out in Genesis that the human body is capable of longer life (and even bioperpituity) I made that word up do you like it? Bioperpituity – bioperpituity – bioperpituity… It’s hard to say. Probably won’t catch on.

Anyway, It means to biologically live indefinitely. The book of Genesis says that God intentionally cut man’s life short. (Gen 6.3) He did this as an act of mercy, because mankind had grown so evil. It says that a strange kind of rape had become common. Murder was rampant in this phase of human history. The bible shows that every thought of mankind was evil all the time.

Archeology gives credence to ancient man’s violent ways. In a massive study of hundreds of stone age skulls, it was found that one in 10 had sustained violent injuries. (reference article) To put that into perspective, modern United States has a per-capita murder rate of around 3 per 100,000 people. That means that prehistoric man was about 3300 times more likely to die by murder than a modern American. (reference article)

In the biblical account, the body could live much longer than its modern counterpart. In Genesis chapter 5 we get a look at these people who were able to live for multiple hundreds of years. However, even though the human body was capable of long life, many did not live to see that extraordinary old age because they were snuffed out by violent murder.

So, why is our per capita murder rate so much lower than ancient biblical man’s? The answer… you guessed it. Aging.

Imagine the worst criminals being able to live forever in their prime. Year after year, this forever-young villian would invent new ways to damage and torture others. The world would be awful, and if you believe the biblical account (like I do) for a time it was awful.

It’s because of long-living murders and rapists that God invented aging. It was an ingenious innovation. Aging is a great way to curb a criminal appetite. It is laughable to see a 90 year old man trying commit a crime. God wasn’t being cruel when he shortened man’s life span he was being merciful, to all the potential victims.

Now, it is extremely uncanny that the bible would randomly bring this up if it was simply a fictional account. My perspective on this, is that there was some incident in which God changed the human genome. I believe he inserted a set of genes that dictated the aging process. In my opinion this is the best explanation for the presence of the aging gene that eventually leads to death. The evolutionary neglect to eradicate this genetic trigger points to the need for a more reasonable solution. That solution is a deliberately interactive and personal God.

I’d love to get some feedback from you science minded folks. What do you think? Use the contact form if you’d like to chat.

About Lucas

Lucas is a staff writer with simply belief, and sci-fi/fantasy novelist. He has a B.S. in Bible, Psychology, and History/Political Science. He lives and writes from his home office in East Texas with his wife, daughter, and cat.