As I did with Ezekiel’s vision, let me now tackle the main objections to what I have presented here. The most obvious one is that I am simply reading more into these stories than is really there. It is true that we have to read into them, because none of them say they are about molecular biology, although even the surface meaning of the stories is often about biology in some sense.
However, what is remarkable is how many analogies we can make to DNA and RNA processes, in the five chapters of Genesis that revolve around Jacob’s life in Padan-Aram. The dream of the ladder comes just before his time with Laban, and the wrestling incident happens just after he says goodbye to Laban.
I was also open in saying that I deliberately chose Jacob’s Ladder as a starting point, because even on the surface it sounds somewhat like the structure of DNA. However, if this was just coincidence, we shouldn’t really expect to find additional events that could be compared with processes related to DNA; but in fact we find several in close proximity.
If lightning strikes in the same place once or twice, we could say it is just coincidence. But if it strikes in roughly the same spot six or seven times in the same storm, even the most ardent skeptic would probably avoid that spot in future storms!
Furthermore, the blueprint found within DNA is about the growth and multiplication of life, and even the events in Jacob’s life with Laban are about multiplication and offspring. For example, the rivalry of his wives was about offspring; and in his dream of the ladder, YHWH said to Jacob, “Your offspring will be as the dust of the earth, and you will spread to the west and the east and the north and the south; and by you and by your offspring, all the families of the ground will be blessed.” 1
What better place to hide information about DNA, which contains the blueprint for life itself, than in the story about the growth of one man and his family, which would also be the formation of what would later become God’s nation Israel? We are also blessed by seeing coded information about microbiology in this story, which confirms the reality of the account and the promise it contains – that God intends to bless “all the families of the ground” by means of Jacob and his offspring.
Another potential objection is that this interpretation relies on a certain way of translating words. For example, “messengers” ascending and descending on a ladder sounds more like DNA than “angels,” which is how the Hebrew is often translated. Similarly, I suggested that Naphtali means “my twistings” although it is usually translated as something like “my wrestlings.”
First, words are somewhat ambiguous, as I have already discussed. In the case of Naphtali, Rachel’s reason for naming the child was perhaps because of her struggle with her sister Leah, so it makes sense for translators to interpret the words as implying a struggle or wrestling. However, as I have already explained, the Hebrew word used by Rachel implies twists, like strands of cord.2 And the word for “angel” actually means “messenger” in Hebrew, so I am perfectly justified in using this word. This is what the Hebrew word means.
Second, my hypothesis is not dependent on a perfect translation of the Hebrew words. The connection to DNA and RNA can still be discerned from most English translations, although looking at the original Hebrew helps, since translations can only ever be approximations to the original message.3
Some of the correspondences are even in English, such as the uracil (YOU WRESTLE) and thymine (THIGH MINE) word play, which is either coincidence, or foreknowledge by God of what these words would be in English; and even more remarkably, they got their names before DNA itself was discovered.
Biologists have done a wonderful job of revealing the inner workings of the body to us, right down to the molecular and even atomic level. At the same time, their dogmatic assertion has been that all of these things came about through unintelligent natural forces and processes.
I suggest that the details revealed in Jacob’s story are God’s way of saying, in effect, “I designed all of these.” In other words, he is the author of DNA and of life itself. Just as we give credit to those who discovered biological features such as the structure of DNA, and even honor them with prizes and awards, should we not also honor the One who designed DNA and its code, and give credit where it is due?
King David of ancient Israel perhaps put it best. Thousands of years before the discovery of DNA, he wrote about God, saying: “I will praise you, because in an awe- inspiring way I am wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, as my soul knows very well. My bones were not hidden from you when I was made in secret, knitted together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my embryo, and they are all written in your book, the days of their formation when there was none among them.” 4
The remarkable thing is, not only were David’s bones written into the DNA molecule, nature’s own book, but I have also shown that a description of biological machines such as ribosomes are also written into the Bible, at least as analogies.
But what does David mean when he says he was “knitted together in the depths of the earth”? If we recall, Ezekiel saw that one of the wheels of the living creatures was “in the earth,” not merely “on” it. I suggested this was because he was really seeing atoms with their electron shells, and the Earth itself is made up of these atoms. The phrase “in the depths of the earth” could therefore represent the higher atomic elements, from which David’s body was made. The atoms that make up these elements are “knitted together” by bonds.
Now, what I have presented so far is, I think, strong evidence of God’s existence, but it still leaves unanswered the important question of how God himself came to be. Is it possible to explain God scientifically, in a way that eliminates the problem of infinite regress, and that is more intellectually satisfying than simply saying, “God has always been”? I believe the answer to this question is yes, and this is what I will discuss next.
1 Genesis 28:14. 2 A similar word is used in Exodus 28:28 to describe the twisted chord that held the high priest’s breastplate in place. 3 A useful interlinear version of the Bible can be found at scripture4all.org 4 Psalm 139:14-16.