Two Kinds of Irreducible Complexity

One of the underlying pillars of biological creationism is based upon the premise of “Irreducible
Complexity”, a term coined by Scientist Dr. Michael Behe. Irreducible complexity (IR) says that if you eliminate any single component of a biological system or machine, it will be rendered useless or inoperative.

A well-known example of IR is a mouse trap, which has six components: Hammer, spring, catch, bait trigger, 2 staples, and a wood block to mount it all on. If any one of those components is damaged or missing, the mouse trap will not function.

Many decades ago in college biology class, we studied the 7 steps of the Krebs Cycle of food-to-energy conversion. Each step requires a unique molecule that must act upon a food molecule to produce usable energy at the end of the cycle. If any step is missing or damaged, no energy is released, and the cycle stops. That study got my undivided attention, because that proved to me that somebody really smart had to create all those steps with all its biological molecules in parallel… it could not have evolved.

The “Flagellar” motor is another well-known example of biological IR. Bacterium have little tails on them that can spin really fast, and propel the bacteria through liquid. Those tails are connected to an electric motor with nearly 40 components. If any component of the motor is damaged or missing, the motor won’t run, and the bacterium can’t move through liquid.

Why does IR matter? That’s because complex biological systems could never exist or have been built in smaller less complex ways via an evolutionary process. If you have to be a “rocket scientist” just to understand the “nuts and bolts” of these biological systems, doesn’t it also make sense that our creator is also a highly intelligent being?! Irreducibly complex biological systems had to be built by a highly intelligent being, because otherwise there would be no life and no DNA “blueprints” to build life. Even when “faith” seems to fail, these scientific facts alone points us to the certainty of a loving creator God.

The Christian church can also be viewed as an irreducibly complex system. 1Corinthians 12: 12-20 summarizes this idea: Unity and Diversity in One Body: Verse 12 “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ”. Christ designed and built all living biological systems, many of which are clearly irreducibly complex.

Christ also designed and built His church, and He gave us specific written instructions in the Bible how to build it. If any component of His church is damaged or missing, the church is in danger of becoming useless or inoperative.

So what are just some of the basic physical components of the Christian church as we know it?
1. More than one person, forming an organization whose basis of faith is Jesus Christ, who is our living Creator and Lord and Savior; with God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit.
2. Common beliefs/doctrine/message
3. Spiritual leadership: Elder/s and pastoral staff
4. Functional leadership: Deacon/s
5. Financial leadership: Treasurer/Tithes and Offerings
6. Praise leadership: Music, musician/s
7. Social Settings/Outreach leadership: food provision/community services/decorations

8. Plant services/support (assuming a church building): maintenance/janitorial/project

For me, this is a new way to visualize the church, and assuredly the above list is incomplete, but this idea is intriguing, because the same creator who made us also made us to be His church. A question to consider at this prophetic point in history is: Are we as 7 th Day Adventist Christians operating at the irreducibly complex layer?...or should we have matured well beyond this layer by now?

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