The human body performs incredibly complex functions on a daily basis. The wonders of the human body are evidence of a very intelligent Designer and Creator.
What is the most complex, ingenious thing in the universe? A strong case can be made for it being the human body! Our bodies are composed of amazingly complex organs like the eye, the kidney and the liver. And the human brain itself makes the most advanced computer today look like a Tinkertoy.
Without really thinking about it, we do things on a daily basis that are extremely complicated tasks. Only recently have computers been able to complete some of the tasks that humans do routinely.
What makes the things we can do so amazing? Let’s examine a “simple” example from the world of sports to see some of the complexity that humans can make look so simple.
The wonders of catching a ball
Baseball is a popular sport in America and some other countries.
Consider the complex equations an outfielder must intuitively figure out just to catch a fly ball. First, he must focus on the pitcher and the batter and be aware of the exact time the pitcher throws the ball and the time the batter hits it. He watches with his eyes, which send this information to his brain. When the information gets to the brain, it must immediately interpret what has happened.
Brainhq.com explains: “Solving the problem of converting light into ideas, of visually understanding features and objects in the world, is a complex task far beyond the abilities of the world’s most powerful computers. Vision requires distilling foreground from background, recognizing objects presented in a wide range of orientations, and accurately interpreting spatial cues. The neural mechanisms of visual perception offer rich insight into how the brain handles such computationally complex situations” (emphasis added).
Many tens of thousands of bits of information are being sent from the eye to the brain to interpret what the eye has sensed.
Wonders of the brain
Think about the amount of information your brain must process second by second. We have senses throughout our body that tell us if something is wrong.
The number of synapses and cells in our brains has been compared to the number of stars in the universe. “There are 400 billion synaptic junctions in a gram of brain tissue” (Alan L. Gillen, Body by Design, 2001, p. 87).
(As amazing as the human brain is, there seems to be even more to what we call the human mind. See our article “The Miracle in the Mind.”)
The number of synapses and cells in our brains has been compared to the number of stars in the universe.As he watches the ball fly through the air, the outfielder has only completed the first task that he must accomplish before he can catch the ball. Now he needs to interpret all this information and decide what to do. Does he run left, right, ahead or back? His brain must calculate how fast he must run to catch this ball.
In order to run, his brain has to send messages to his muscles. Each of these muscles must work together or he will not be able to move toward the ball.
Human nerve cells
After the outfielder’s brain has interpreted and translated the messages from the eyes, it must now send messages to the legs in order to run to the ball.
Study.com explains: “Neurons are nerve cells, or cells found in the nervous system. These are specialized cells designed to stimulate other cells in the body in order to communicate. These cells are excitable, which means they function by using electrical stimulation. Through this electrical message, known as an action potential, neurons are able to initiate action in the cells they target.”
The human leg
And there are many muscles that must receive the messages and work together precisely in order to catch the ball. The following anatomy lesson helps make this point:
“The powerful muscles of the hip, buttock, and pelvis actuate the flexible ball-and-socket hip joint. The anterior muscles, such as the quadriceps femoris, iliopsoas, and sartorius, work as a group to flex the thigh at the hip and extend the leg at the knee. Posterior muscles, such as the hamstrings and gluteus maximus, produce the opposite motion—extension of the thigh at the hip and flexion of the leg at the knee. Lateral muscles, such as the gluteus medius, abduct the thigh at the hip while the medial groin muscles adduct the thigh. All of these muscle groups provide powerful contractions to propel the body while making fine adjustments to maintain the body’s posture and balance.
“Located inferior to the knee are a number of muscles that move the ankle, foot, and toes. The calf muscles, including the gastrocnemius and soleus, join to form the strong calcaneal (Achilles) tendon of the heel and attach to the calcaneus bone in the heel. These muscles contract to plantar flex the foot—such as when standing on your tiptoes—and flex the toes. Shin muscles, such as the tibialis anterior and extensor digitorum longus, dorsiflex the foot and extend the toes” (innerbody.com/anatomy).
Again, there are dozens of muscles that must work together, or our outfielder will just fall down and the ball will hit the ground. Remember, the brain must continually interpret and compute where the ball is and where the fielder is. It must calculate how fast the ball is going, how fast the outfielder is running and how close the fence is so he doesn’t get hurt!
Innerbody.com explains: “The knee joint is one of the strongest and most important joints in the human body. It allows the lower leg to move relative to the thigh while supporting the body’s weight. Movements at the knee joint are essential to many everyday activities, including walking, running, sitting and standing.”
Without a functioning knee, we would all be crippled. Yet God has designed the knee to have an incredible capacity for movement and for strength. The knee must support the weight of the body. Sadly, it can be very painful and disabling when it is damaged.
“The joint-forming surfaces of each bone are covered in a thin layer of hyaline cartilage that gives them an extremely smooth surface and protects the underlying bone from damage. Between the femur and tibia is a figure-eight-shaped layer of tough, rubbery fibrocartilage known as the meniscus” (ibid.).
What an amazingly helpful design feature to have a special layer of cartilage to cover the bones so they can smoothly slide over each other!
Remember that all of the muscles must have precise information given to them. They must only pull to a certain level.
Doing the math
Finally, the brain must intuitively solve a very advanced mathematical equation to determine where the ball is going to come down. The speed of the ball, the distance it will travel and the speed of the outfielder must also be considered.
These equations are complicated, and thousands of calculations must be made during a short period of time.
Making it look easy
At last, the outfielder puts up his arm and catches the ball! But this is not simple either. There are many muscles in the arm that also must work together precisely in order for the outfielder to lift up his arm at the right time and the correct angle.
How could anyone ever really believe these complicated abilities to make these complex maneuvers just developed by chance?
Evolution or creation?
The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:19-20, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”
The human body’s incredibly complex design is powerful evidence of a creator.
Let’s imagine that someone found a computer on Mars. Would anyone really try to say that the computer had evolved? When we see complex machines on earth, we know that they have been designed and that someone put a lot of thought into creating them.
So, when we discover the incredible complexity of all life on earth, why is it that many rule out the possibility of intelligent design? Shouldn’t anyone with an open mind be willing to look at the evidence and consider all theories of origin?
Wonders of God
We have only considered the incredibly complex functions that must be performed for an outfielder to catch a ball. There are myriad other functions that the brain and human body perform daily. Thousands of books have been written about how the brain, heart, lungs, etc., of the human body work!
The deeper you look into these amazing facts about the human body, the more convinced you can be that the intricate details and awesome abilities are purposefully designed. The miracles of the human body inspired this poetry by the psalmist David:
“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well” (Psalm 139:13-14).
We believe that if you examine all the evidence, you will conclude that the human body did not evolve by chance. Our Creator has given us this body, and we should continue to grow in our appreciation of its incredible design.
For more on this subject, check out the Life, Hope & Truth articles on “Intelligent Design.”