Friday, February 14, 2014

Mystery of Reproduction

Our posts on human reproduction have focused on only one of earth’s species. The total species count is variously estimated to number in the millions. According to one new study by UNEP, the United Nations Environmental Programme, the number has been pegged at 8.7 million, of which over 1.2 million appear in the “Catalog of Life,” an index of the world’s species. Biology textbooks have included man as but a single species among Earth’s 8.7 million. Our single species of focus is unique and very special according to Genesis because he is created in the Image of God. With this qualification, man is not merely another species on the continuum of life. He occupies an extraordinary position on the continuum.

In secular textbooks modern humanity, Homo sapiens sapiens, is touted as an evolutionary vestige and the only remaining species of hominids, a branch of animals, according to the evolutionary view, which began to walk erect and exhibit some cultural advances such as simple tool-making. Secular biology texts’ matter-of-fact treatment, accurate from a taxonomic standpoint, does not treat the uniqueness of man from a theological standpoint. Most often biology texts describe man from an evolutionary viewpoint.

Modern humanity is a very recent arrival on Earth. The historical “cultural explosion” of humans is identified by secular scientists as originating only several tens of thousands of years ago. Advanced tool-making and weaponry, sculpture, painting, jewelry making, and even long distance trade appeared quite suddenly. Creationists see the rapid onset of advanced humanity as harmonious with scripture’s account of the special creation of man in the Image of God.

A highlight of the Genesis account is the creation of man. Little detail is given in Genesis. For example, in Chapter One, the initial mention of the vast array of the creation of life forms concludes with, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27 NIV) When we read ahead to the next verse, we see Scripture’s first mention of reproduction. God said, “Be fruitful and increase in number.”

Millions of species created in the eons preceding man’s creation were “fruitful” and “increased in number.” Their reproduction strategies were identical with living things of our day. God’s original plan for reproduction was utilized anew when modern man arrived. Most species have depended on sexual reproduction, the creation of a new organism by combining the genetic material of two other organisms, one male, one female.

Secular biologists admit many phenomena of reproduction of living things are a mystery. In particular, sexual reproduction, the union of haploid male sperm and haploid female ovum into a diploid zygote capable of generating a new individual is a “major evolutionary puzzle.” The explanations for this phenomenon are “controversial,” according to evolutionists. From a scientific standpoint, explanations are inadequate. However, from a theological standpoint, Genesis 1:27 characterizes male/female reproduction as a divine plan originating in the mind of the Creator. Details of reproduction of Earth’s living things are matters of intensive study and ongoing discovery.