Ancillary Notes to Accompany Genetics Lesson
The fruits, flowers and tips of this tree were programmed
to appear when time and circumstances called for them. This was accomplished
through the storage and transfer of information. Information transfer
between the environment and the tree enabled species to be adapted to
The source and empowering of the tree (= roots) are hidden.
Nevertheless, those parts of the Tree of Life that have
their outworking and effect in the natural realm are analogous in many
ways to a natural tree.
The branches (= preceding species) carry the life (sap) and enable the new growth (=new species) to break forth. They were a conduit and a facilitator. They did not create the new growth, nor were they the genetic ancestors of the new growth. All new species were a genetically self-contained entity. As in a natural tree, new growth pre-existed before it appeared, being within the tree in an incipient, but real, form, destined to appear in time. It is not inconceivable, as in a natural tree, that external circumstances - environment - had some influence on the timing of the new species' breaking forth.
The Tree of Life "bare twelve manner of fruit, and
yielded her fruit every month" Rev. 22:2, meaning, figuratively,
a variety of life-forms was revealed over time. In this ability to produce
a variety of fruits, and to do so without faltering or deviating in
any detail from a pre-destined plan, the Tree of Life differs from natural
Every species that was revealed via the Tree of Life was genetically self-contained. It was created individually, in its own right. As is the case in a natural tree, the new growth may have existed in a real sense, long before its visible manifestation.
If biologists have yet been unable to fix exact species
boundaries within some socially gregarious populations - such as Darwin's
finches - this reflects incomplete observation.
In the natural biosphere - undisturbed by human genetic
manipulation - there are groupings of organisms that reproduce only
"after their kind". They are discreet genetic units. This
is self-evident. Although in some hybridizing populations, amongst some
members of the living realm, these units may be extremely difficult
to exactly define, these genetically self-contained units exist. They
are the basis of plant and animal classification. This fact of species'
genetic self-containment is observationally self-evident. Offspring
of a member of a species always are the same species as the parent(s).
The laws of heredity demand that genetically transmissible features
in one's ancestry inevitably appear in one's descendants. If a member
of one species has the genes of another species in its ancestry, it
will in time reproduce that species. Plant and animal classification
is not an attempt to decipher chaos. Biology is ordered.
The final court of appeal in classifying organisms into
species is the observation of reproductive outcomes under natural conditions.
Organisms that reproduce asexually inevitably are the same species as
their offspring. Organisms that reproduce sexually are the same species
as any other organism with which they can successfully gender fertile
offspring; they are a different species to any organism with which they
cannot gender fertile offspring.
Therefore the existence of species obviously is at least partly governed by information - information contained in sex cells and related mechanisms.
Gregor Mendel was probably the first to discover a deeper information foundation to species than that implied by everyday, observable, reproductive isolation. He discovered that genetic information carried by members of a species comes in discreet packages of information - before science knew about genes.
Species are definable through the effects of the information carried in their reproductive mechanisms. Furthermore, as Mendel discovered, their characteristics are the sum total of multiplied discreet packages of information.
How did life itself begin?
We have learned that information technology is foundational
to living things. All life forms may be regarded as information acting
on inert chemicals to form into a body, which is vivified - living.
Vivification - the imparting of life - may have more to do with information
technology than we would at first imagine. It goes without saying that
creation of life, even the simplest plant, will never be achieved by
Man. Yet we go tantalizingly close to doing so, and a combination of
recent discoveries and the Bible shows why.
"Water. It's the foundation of life on earth."
This is the introduction to a publication by Robert Matthews, p.32-36
of New Scientist, 8th April, 2006. "It now seems that the
effects of water on living organisms transcend mere [classical] chemistry:
they are intimately linked to the most basic processes in the cosmos.
Put bluntly, you owe your existence to quantum effects in water
. All the bonds affecting water molecules are ultimately caused by quantum
effects, but hydrogen bonds are the result of one of the strangest quantum
phenomena: so-called zero-point vibrations.
.. Just take
some water and swap the hydrogen for atoms of its heavier isotope deuterium.
You end up with a liquid that is chemically identical, yet poisonous
to all but the most primitive organisms. The only difference is in the
they are finding .. an astonishingly
delicate interplay of proteins and water molecules, orchestrated by
those all-important hydrogen bonds.
.. Once struck by photons
of light, the shape of the protein changed, breaking some of the hydrogen
. This triggered a chain of events in which fragments of
some water molecules
. interacted to move protons through the
it is no accident that chains of amino
acids trap water molecules as they fold up to form a protein.
water molecules report the DNA sequence to the protein while it is still
some distance away
.. then as the protein gets closer, the water
molecules are ejected from the site until it binds to the DNA.
water molecules relay messages to the protein
.. they can even
warn the approaching protein about potential problems with the DNA before
Again, the essential of the species is information. Ultimately it will be mathematically based information, and it gives visible outcomes
Mendel definitively pointed biology in this systematic, mathematically-based direction by applying basic mathematics to heredity. He succeeded where leading geneticists failed. The idea of continuous gradations and nebulous statistical averages proved infertile. The components that together comprise the attributes of living organisms come in discreet, definable packages. They are handed from parents to offspring in discreet packages. They may be marred over time by genetic damage, but otherwise they remain forever the property of the species.
Generally, Mendel was not understood and was ignored for 25 years. By then, he was dead. But has he yet been fully understood? Genetics as a whole is much more intricate than the simple example illustrated , but the principle of discreet 'quanta' (if we wish) of information is always relevant.. Species have to do with information.
What about sickness and death?
The Tree of Life does not account for everything that
is happening in biology. This again is nearly self-evident. At this
moment, microscopic agents of disease and death are furthering some
program other than life. Even if we take the biblical meaning of death
as not in general referring to animals, Creation as it stands now is
not the pure product of an agency of life, nor can it be described as
totally good. Then we have the out-of-character phenomenon of snakes,
(and perhaps even some other venom-bearing organisms?) which do not
follow the typical pattern of revelation of the other life-forms. Snakes,
as far as has been deduced, are in general terms a degeneration of reptilian
creature(s) that once had an elevated or perhaps upstanding form. They
are a creature that at very least has dramatically lost its legs. When
we add to this enigma the constantly morphing, non-living virus and
such-like cell-mimicking fragments, something very nearly approximating
to potent darwinian-style Evolution suggests itself. This runaway propensity
for propagation of sorrow and pain seems to now be a feature of some
living organisms - especially some bacteria - contrary to life-giving
principles. When we come to the viruses and related(?) molecular killer
fragments - they are not life-forms at all.
Viruses etc are closer to mineral (biblically,
"the ground" Gen. 3:17) than to either animal or vegetable.
No fossil virus has yet been identified, which, because of their small
size, means little in terms of finding the time of their origin.
Snakes as yet have not been found to significantly pre-date
the more recent dinosaurs. The oldest known fossil currently thought
to be of a snake is from the Cretaceous. Most snakes are considerably
younger than this. On existing evidence, snakes are unique in several
aspects, including a poor fossil record, in some cases at least more
restricted than that of Man.
The biblical serpent of Genesis implies an initially
elevated, if not upstanding or flying, reptilian creature.
The Scriptures mention the reason behind these retrogressive and foreign events, but perhaps not the mechanism and timing. Man as initially created was immune to sickness and death.