Many of us who have enjoyed the creative writings of Michael Crichton over the years were also intrigued by his book (or the blockbuster movie) Jurassic Park, which explored the feasibility of cloning prehistoric animals from the DNA captured, in this case, by a prehistoric mosquito encapsulated in amber. Provocative entertainment, indeed!
Now, it seems, researchers appear to have isolated a bit of dinosaur DNA from some bony remains in an 1,800-foot-deep coal mine in Provo, Utah. Most dinosaur studies are based on bones that have been mineralized into hard stone, but this appears to be an actual bone that once supported a dinosaur. The genetic material matches no living mammal, bird, or reptile.
While some doubt that the bone is necessarily that of a dinosaur, it is regarded as the oldest DNA recovered from a vertebrate to date. However, it could be from another extinct prehistoric species such as a reptile, turtle, or whatever.
The discovery is only a small fragment of one gene, and Scott R. Woodward, lead microbiologist of the team from Brigham Young University, said he has no plans to follow the plot of Jurassic Park and to attempt to clone a living animal. But the very idea has interesting Biblical implications to the astute observer.
The very idea that an ancient living animal can be recreated from its genetic history coded in a single DNA molecule should give us a provocative insight into the potential technology of immortality and the resurrection!
Where do our resurrection bodies come from? The specific atoms that make up our bodies are, of course, subject to decay after death. The proverbial dilemma of Christians eaten by cannibals are also a case in point. Obviously, all hydrogen, carbon and oxygen atoms are fungible: God doesn't have to use any specific ones even if He had in mind a life cycle such as the one that presently sustains us.
Paul deals with some of these issues in the chapter that many consider to be the most important chapter in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 15. Believing in the resurrection is no more difficult than believing in a harvest. A seed is buried and subsequently brings forth new life--in fact, new life far more glorious than the homely seed that was buried!
Another familiar example is the lowly caterpillar, struggling in what to him is a two-dimensional universe until he is finally reconciled to a humble cocoon, only to re-emerge as a glorious butterfly, able to enjoy a truly three-dimensional existence!
The Physics of Immortality
The real you (soul, spirit) is software, not hardware. It is temporarily resident in your present hardware: your present body. But software has no mass. It can even be transmitted invisibly through the air waves. 1
We know from modern physics that time itself is a physical property, subject to mass, acceleration, and gravity. This is one of the most profound implications of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity (for more information see our Audio Book, Beyond Time and Space).
Since the real you is "software," not hardware, it has no time dimension. The real you is eternal. The big question is: Where are you going to spend eternity--in the presence of God, or in eternal separation from Him?
Frank J. Tipler, an internationally prominent mathematical physicist, has recently concluded (using only the laws of physics and mathematics) not only that God exists but that all life is destined for resurrection!2 (While I personally disagree with much of his book, this turnabout for a professed atheist is interesting.)