Regeneration in the Garden of Eden?

Regeneration in the Garden of Eden?

Regeneration in animals has always fascinated me. The ability of some animals to regrow lost or damaged body parts is absolutely stunning.  After taking in the awe of this natural phenomenon, some questions come up regarding how regeneration originated and how this affects the competing theories of origins. In this article, we will establish what regeneration is, give a brief overview of how it works, and discuss it’s origin and how that plays into the great origins debate. Let’s dive in.

Regeneration is defined as “the restoration or new growth by an organism of organs, tissues,  etc., that have been lost, removed, or injured.” per dictionary.com. That definition is pretty straightforward. We tend to think of regeneration as replacing lost limbs, but technically it means any tissue regrown after removal.  Surprisingly, this means that just about every living organism has the capability to regenerate, even human beings. Humans can regrown some of their organs, such as skin and tonsils.  Some organisms, such as the starfish shown above, have the ability to completely regenerate so long as a single piece of the central disk remains attached.  Regeneration thus comes in a variety of forms and extents, varying between simply regenerating skin cells, to whole limbs in some vertebrates. 

Being that regeneration is spread across a wide variety of  organisms, it should come as no surprise that the mechanisms of regeneration varies vastly between organisms. In many cases this mechanism involves stem cells.  Stem cells are a fairly common buzz word these days, mainly due to the use of stem cells obtained from human embryos. That is a topic for another day, but since the words “stem cell” have gained some traction, it would be best if we had a working definition.  According to Merriam-Webster.com stem cell means “an unspecialized cell that gives rise to differentiated cells”. In layman’s terms, this means that at a given point in development a cell reaches a point where it begins to reproduce cells that are specialized for a given type of cell such as bone or muscle. Before that point, they are stem cells, and can specialize multiple ways.  This is the primary method by which regeneration occurs.  There are some organisms, such as hydras, which regenerate using different mechanisms, but stem cells are the most common method. Of course saying stem cells are the mechanism behind regeneration is a massive oversimplification, but the full process is beyond the scope of this article.  I will likely be doing an article on the stem cell controversy and possibly the mechanism of stem cell regeneration so stay tuned for those.

The big question when it comes to apologetics is where did something come from? The benefits of regeneration are obvious, but how and why did this mechanism come into play? The answer from evolutionists is simply, we don’t know.  Evolutionists have no explanation for the origin of regeneration. They have made attempts to explain its proliferation, saying it somehow mutated across kingdoms, but, in several hours of internet research, I could not find a single article in a major scientific journal that attempted to explain the origin of regeneration.  If someone knows of one, link me to it in the comments section on facebook as I would dearly love to read it.

Creationists have no problem explaining the origin of regeneration. God created organisms with this ability. The question for Creationists is why? In the Garden of Eden, God intended that there was to be no death, pain or suffering. He called His creation “very good”. So why regeneration? I believe that there were two reasons, each one accounting for various aspects of regeneration. In humans, regeneration is used to replace lost skin.  Skin loss would have occurred in the Garden of Eden, despite involving cell death. Therefore regeneration would have been needed for this, and other such cellular death. The second use of regeneration, the more commonly thought of regeneration of a lizard tail for example, would not have been needed until after the fall of man.  However, it would have been put in place before the fall, because God, Who knew man would sin, had a plan to care for the creatures He had created in the newly sinful world.

As a postscript to that, the deep thinkers among you may have spotted that I stated that cellular death occurred in the Garden of Eden and some of you may think that this is in opposition to God’s statement that death only came about because of man’s sin. It is not. Genesis 1:30 states “And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so”. Plants have cells and those cells unquestionably died in the process of animals eating plants so cellular death cannot be considered as being the kind of death God refers to in Romans 5:12.  God must be referring to bodily death. Note also that God does not refer to plants as alive, only animals.   This makes it clear that, in the beginning, God intended that non-life,(plants) be eaten by life (animals and man).

I can already hear supporters of abortion saying “You don’t believe cellular death contradicts the Bible, but you object to the blob of cells in the womb being destroyed. Hypocrite!” Let me explain why this is a ridiculous claim.  If I remove 1000 skin cells from my body, my body will continue to live. I have not ended my life. Most likely I’ve not even done serious damage.  Those cells can die and my body will live on. If I were to remove every cell in my body, I would die.  When the human embryo is aborted, ALL the cells, not just some, die. This results in bodily death, as well as cellular death.  Cellular death, so long as it does not result in bodily death, does not contradict Romans 5:12.  This is why I can say that I oppose abortion without any compromise or hypocrisy charges sticking to me.

 

Harry

 

 

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