Junk DNA?

After reading a recent article on DNA and the complex role it plays in our bodies, I gave pause and reflected. Why was it that modern scientists had labelled close to 95-98% of our DNA as ‘junk’? How was ‘junk DNA’ even possible? And if God had especially chosen to make us in His image, then how could we possibly be made up of junk matter? Genesis 1:26-28 says:

Then God said ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness… And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

As I ponder God, I think the following basic thoughts about Him: He is perfect. His image is perfect. There is no evil or flawed way in Him. No ‘junk’ is found in Him. So why then has humanity so easily accepted the ideas that we all merely exist as a result of our 2-5% of ‘functioning’ DNA, and that the other 95-98% of of our DNA isn’t worth our time? Or our study? Or our attention?

We tend to speak some dark and unfounded stuff over ourselves at times. James 3:9 says:

“With [the tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.”

Cursing each other is not optimal because we have been made in the image of God. Additionally, to bless God while cursing a fellow human being, is not a consistent line of thought or response, either. Every single human being on the planet was made in the image of God. This must mean that when we curse another human being, we are cursing the image of God on and in them.

Furthermore, if we curse ourselves, we are (the same as with others) cursing the image of God on and in our own lives. How do we curse ourselves? We can say we hate our bodies, that we’re stupid, that we’re fat and ugly, and the list goes on. One additional way we can speak ill of ourselves is to come into alignment with theories such as “we are just made up of 95-98% of ‘junk DNA’ anyway.” 

Please don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a blog post about health formulas or positive affirmations, but it is a post to encourage people to ponder a little deeper. Just think…

We are made in the image of God.

You are made in the image of God.

I’ll say it again…

You are made in the image of God. 

Wow. What a mind-blowing statement to make. And it wasn’t us who made that statement: it was God. Us being made in the image of God is a completely different line of thought to that of ‘junk DNA’ theory. So from whence was ‘junk DNA’ theory first born?

‘Junk DNA’ theory was likely born from the idea that our genes are functional. Bare with me, this will (hopefully) all make sense in a moment… Our genes are absolutely important. They bring us to life, maintain our lives, protect our lives, and end our lives (Shin, 2017). And furthermore, our genes reside within only 2% of our DNA. So the idea that only 2-5% of our DNA is functional, is thus based on a box. Scientists weren’t able to understand why just 2-5% of our DNA was being used for something obvious, whilst the other 95-98% was supposedly not. So they shoved the “obscure” 95-98% of our DNA into a box and labelled it, ‘junk’. Turns out, the box and the label were both incorrect.

In the article I first read, it said that all of our DNA has its own language. Let me reiterate: all of our DNA. Not just some of it. I found this interesting, because, not only do I love words and stories, but the concept of us being made up of language is fascinating… even musical somehow.

In his article, Hidden Treasures in Junk DNA, Stephen Hall (2012) stated:

…the ENCODE group has produced a stunning inventory of previously hidden switches, signals and sign posts embedded like runes throughout the entire length of human DNA. In the process, the ENCODE project is reinventing the vocabulary with which biologists study, discuss and understand human inheritance and disease (n.p.). 

Our DNA carries its own story (or series of stories), complex instructions, and sign posts. We are not made up of junk DNA. We are made up of language. We are beings that consist of intelligent communication. Each of the systems in our bodies communicates with every other system. Every organ, every bone, every teeny tiny mitochondria communicates with us as a result of the language by which we have been created. The language we have been created by, is Jesus: 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God and the Word was with God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 

Our bodies are amazing. They have been made in the image of God. God designed us so incredibly well. He gave us everything we needed in order for our bodies to heal, adapt, and live in ways far beyond the restrictions we, circumstances, or happenstance have placed upon us. 

This morning I decided to begin to speak to my body in a new way by using a “new” language. A truthful language. A language that lines up with wholeness rather than incompleteness and ‘junk’. And when I say “speak to,” I don’t mean that I bombarded myself with 500 positive confessions (if confessions are your thing, I mean no disrespect—knock yourself out). I started a genuine reflective conversation with myself.

I began by asking my body to forgive me for all of the unnecessary stress I have put it through in my lifetime. Stresses like diets, all the way through to preventable traumatic moments.

I apologised to to my body for torturing it with too much or too little food, too much or too little exercise—any concept where punishment was applied in order to obtain a ‘positive’ outcome, such as weight loss, muscle tone, etc. 

I apologised to my body for ignoring it, or worse still, for punishing it, when it was simply trying to alert me to the fact that something was systemically wrong (eg., inflammation, pain, fatigue, etc). 

Finally, I thanked my body for everything it had faithfully walked me through. I set it free to begin to reflect the image in which it was made, and I commissioned my body to become healthy—to fall within the parameters of God’s original intentions for my genes and my DNA. 

This is surely the beginning of a journey.

Feel free to embark on this journey with me too. 

References. 

Garner, J (Dec, 2012). No such thing as junk DNA. University of Washington Magazine. Retrieved from: https://magazine.washington.edu/feature/no-such-thing-as-junk-dna-researchers-say/

Hall, S (Oct 1, 2012). Hidden treasures in junk DNA. Scientific American. Retrieved from: https://scientificamerican.com/article/hidden-treasures-in-junk-dna/  

Shin, J.W (Dec, 2017). More to our junk DNA than meets the eye. TedX Kobe. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXqjacxw8zg

Are we made up of ‘Junk DNA,’ or something more refined?

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