God's Duplication service
- by Tony Copple

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.
- Carl Sagan

I want to know God's thoughts. The rest are details. - Einstein
- Quoted by Nicky Gumbel in the Alpha Course.

The Elements
- Tom Lehrer

Gravity and its density waves, always and everywhere invisible, present themselves only in their effects. By definition this is true of all acts of ultimate mystery. - "The Universe Story," Ch2, - Galaxies - p43.

    The fable below is not true. We can never know how God did it. Nevertheless, this allegory contains elements of insight that may clarify some aspects of the science vs religion debate that I believe is unfounded.

Banner created by Laurie-Ann Zachar Copple

Module 1

The first tape recorder I ever saw, a Grundig TK8, arrived in our home in about 1955. It was a defining moment in my life; from that day to this the power of being able to copy and play back music and speech has driven much of my recreational energy.

Yet, even then, I noticed "degradation." A recording was slightly less realistic than the original. Some years later, when I acquired my Tandberg, and the wonder of stereophony, many of the music tapes that I'd made from the radio had to be rearranged to optimize the new 4-track format, and this entailed copying tape to tape. Althought the copies were pretty good, I could hear that degradation creeping in. I had discoved a fundamental principle of physics and analogue waveforms; that it is impossible to make perfect duplicates of analogue audiotapes. Since then I have copied hundreds of tapes: audio and video reel-to-reel and cassettes, and although the Dolby system improves the transfer accuracy, the results are always slightly less satisfactory than the originals. Having said that, good quality audio cassettes will copy well to the fourth or fifth generation, and much more before the intelligibility of speech is lost as the signal-to-noise ratio falls.

Module 2

Then came digital. I'd learned to count in binary at school, but the revelation that information defined absolutely by a sequence of "on" and "off" states could be duplicated pefectly and eradicate that annoying degradation didn't hit me until learning about FM (frequency modulation) and PCM (pulse code modulation). No longer was signal-to-noise ratio a prime factor in the equation. With the introduction of DAT (digital audio tape) we now have the capability to make many more generations of copies, and the result will be perfect until the S/N falls below the peaks of the "on" and "off" signals. The compact disk uses this technology, and it is now feasible to take an original analogue signal from a microphone, digitize it, amplify, transmit, receive, amplify, and deliver to (analogue) spreakers with zero degradation thoughout the digital sequence. Wow!

Whenever you hear that this or that facility is now available in digital form, say a prayer of thanks to the inventors of the bistable (fundamental on/off switching circuitry) and the transistor (two transistors in every bistable), and then enjoy a more faithful replica of the original, without degradation.

Module 3 (On high)

If you were God, how would you approach the greatest duplication job in the universe: creation of living generations, hundreds or thousands deep: plants, trees, insects, humans. How would you get started? The very first creations were photons (Genesis 1:3 - "Let there be light"), which, under extreme conditions after the "big bang" 13.7 billion years ago (according to NASA), evolved to helium atoms, then hydrogen, and eventually to all the elements. The galaxies were formed relatively soon - "he made the stars also" (Gen 1:16). Billions of years later God started on the first living things. Should he generate one species at a time, or a progressive model that could glide from one to the next? Nature (God's research and production team) had a daunting task. At the heart of it was the fact that perfect duplication was a pale reflection of the goal. Cloning wouldn't cut it; there had to be a method for anti-degradation, or improvement on what had gone before. How could it ever be possible for the "copies" to be superior to the originals? Without this, no progress could be made with the creation project; it would be merely a production line of perfect replicas. No variety, no standing on the shoulders of those who had gone before, no new Olympic records, no supreme personal achievements, no uniqueness.

Hmm. God shuffled his feet. What to do here? We are working universe-wide, so the delivery vehicles between stars - comets - must be capable carrying the material of anti-degradation life across light years of space. Digital is totally inadequate. How can a self-improving system be possible, that will operate for infinity without too much maintenance and never mutate to degradation mode?

Module 4 - The Basic Plan

The principles of evolution were developed by Nature several aeons before Darwin stumbled on them. Using a brilliant method of non-degrading duplication, Nature proposed starting with Aries, which would be the first living cell, a bacterium, and given sufficient time, about 4 billion years, and the laws of statistics, a wealth of species could proliferate though the universe from the base near Cygnus A. These new living cells were dependent upon the conditions of the universe for their origin. They could not have arisen without a particular initiatory sequence ultimately carried out by other beings. In today's world, an analogy might be the computer virus. It vigourously replicates itself, but was originally created by an initiatory sequence designed by thinking (if criminal) beings. Successive viruses need the active involvement of intelligence.

In one second Cygnus A produces more energy than the sun does in 40,000 years, a sufficient source of the stuff of life - once this could be defined. By starting small, the universe could be populated with progressively more advanced lifeforms, each "learning" how to survive and prosper. And these elemental lifeforms could be petrified for space travel. Nature's duplication coding system, called "Do Not Attempt" enabled cells to carry out self maintenance during a single lifetime, and with myriads of randomly triggerable "hooks" on it arranged in a spiral as a kind of mating matrix for combining with other cells, to replicate themselves over multiple lifetimes.

Nature envisaged a statistical system that combined two similar but not identical organisms (created by genetic mutation) to produce a third with shared characteristics, but like snowflakes (an earlier project) there would be an infinite number of ways for the combination to take place. Some of the combinations would be startlingly effective and somewhat different from their "parents." One of Nature's objectives was to introduce the element of conflict necessary for the development of species. This would tend to generate healthy breakaway lines, eventually forming whole new species. Some breakaways would survive better than others, and in this way not only would the quality of the created beings improve, but eventually they would tend physically to resemble the ultimate design: God himself. Significant maintenance would be needed by God throughout the process, much as a chief executive officer watches over and nudges his company even if all the systems are in place for automatic dead reckoning. Even the best dead reckoning needs calibration by GPS from time to time. This "human" species would only evolve once many others had developed, providing a large spectrum of species for human enjoyment (and food). At this, Nature felt she had a workable system, and reported to God that the creation of species problem was solved, but a miracle would be needed for the "stuff of life." Nature registered the laws of statistics and the Do Not Attempt spiral with the central bureau on Cygnus A.

Module 5 - The Stuff of Life

A self improving delivery system, a universe-wide delivery vehicle, but as yet no stuff of life. God paused - for a moment. Here a happening was necessary without any precedent. It was as if everything was in place, but nothing was happening. No life: the capability for physical, mental and emotional activity, independent from him.

To say that God brought life into his first created being would be to trivialize a concept that cannot be understood by any who were given life. Only God had the capacity to do this, and to understand what was done. Then he gave life to a second, different, so that the combination of the two could result in an infinite variety of versions of their "parents". The laws of chemistry that supported the genetic codes that Nature had devised a while before operated perfectly. It was an awsome moment in the history of the universe. Only God's powers were capable of it. The creation of an animate being with the tendency to differ just a little from its parents would have tremendous repercussions for the future. And God felt an overwhelming surge of love for his creation, which was now launched on a huge journey across time and space, towards the eventual evolution of a creature like him: to be called "human".

Should he make his supreme creation subservient to him, incapable of countering him, of working against him, of ignoring him? No! His creation must have the power for good, from its own resources, not acting as his puppets. But that meant it would also have the power for evil, and the knowledge to distinguish evil from good. This implied the need for a source of evil in his universe. So be it. There was no compromise. He know the one for this job - Lucifer, who had fallen. And he also knew at that moment that Lucifer would so bedazzle the hearts of his creation that he himself would have to come down and live physically with them to defeat Lucifer. Good would triumph over evil when the whole of mankind would recognize with love the supreme power of the creator. Oh, how he wanted his creations to have the closest possible personal relationship with him! Yet he would not force them...

At this moment, the greatest miracle of creation was needed. Humans would need "spirit," to allow them the desire and capability of communicating with and through his own Spirit. God breathed "spirit" into his first humans, whom we call Adam and Eve. Their predecessors in the evolutionary chain had no spirit and knew no God. The Hebrew words for "breath" and "spirit" are the same. Flesh gives birth to flesh, and spirit gives birth to spirit. And from that moment on, he tends his creations with the love that only a father-creator is capable, nudging us here, leading us there as we enjoy this sublime existence that he gave us.

But then our God is an awsome God.

After reading this piece, my friend Anne S. told me about "The Universe Story" by Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry, ISBN 0-06-250826-1. What an amazing description of the creation! Changes to this article made subsequent to my reading The Universe Story" are shown in brown.

Reverend Professor Michael Heller spoke in Ottawa 7 November 2008. I was in the packed audience at St. Paul University.
The Language of God by Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome project
The Age of the Universe by Gerald Schroeder, 2006
Charles Townes: evolution and creationism both right - November 2005
The Talk.Origins archive Exploring the creation / evolution controversy
Creation and the holographic universe
"The Origin of the Universe" by Dr. David Liang, Head, Space Systems and Technology Section, Defence Research Establishment, Ottawa, from Torrent, published by the Canadian Chinese Christian Business and Professional Association, e-mail eng@magma.ca
An Awesome God
Hydrogen by Lister Sinclair, written 1969, web cast 8 Feb 2001 on Lister's 80th birthday.
Let there be plasma soup, National Post, March 7, 2001
Phillip E. Johnson - "The Wedge of Truth," "Darwin on Trial", and other writings, from ARN
Rupert Sheldrake - God continues to reveal his universe
Darwin - particularly the third program
Matters of Faith