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Viruses, Your Immune System and the Glory of God

Viruses, Your Immune System, & the Glory of God

God’s people have been writing some helpful things recently during the virus crisis. Today, I wanted to step back and look at the glory of God in his creation in the human immune system.

The world is being bombarded by another virus right now. It’s taking a toll, sadly. I thank God for the blood, sweat, and tears of our healthcare workers under immense pressure in these times. Our world is feeling it in all sorts of rough ways.

Viruses are nasty little guys. They are very, very small. The coronavirus is about 100 nanometers in diameter. To put that in perspective, there are one billion nanometers in a meter. In other words, ten million coronavirus’ lined up end to end would make a meter. But size is no commentary on their strength. They are wicked villains. They aren’t even technically considered living things. They are super selfish and unloving. They prey on other cells to keep going, without asking permission. Though they are not living, they do have genetic material that they shove into other cells, which forces reproduction, causing you to get sick.

But, virus bombardment is nothing new. Every day on this planet, we face a huge number of micro-villains, looking to destroy us. Whether in an airport, your house, a church, walking on the beach, sleeping in a five-star hotel, or hiking in the snow, you are basically always being attacked. Viruses, bacteria, pathogens, intruders, and disease-causing things are assaulting you all the time.

In light of the voluminous mirco-terrorists ceaselessly assaulting us, it’s simply amazing that we are not debilitatingly sick every second of our existence.

How is that? How do we keep living? In part, this thing that the God of the Bible created us with called our immune system.

Consider the immune system.

The immune system is a highly-organized defense system designed to fight off the mirco-terrorists. It is a very complex, massive army of cells and bodily defense that go after intruders.

One line of defense that we have is our skin. It’s simply a huge wall and barrier which blocks the micro-villains from entering. And they want to. It’s how they survive and propagate. There is also the sticky mucus which surrounds our organs. As slimy and nasty as mucus seems, it’s important. It’s like a sticky mud-bog of doom for the terrorists, grabbing them and trapping them. But, the terrorists sometime get into the body other ways, for example, when we a virus-laden surface, then touch our touch our eyes, mouth, or nose.

We have a complex system of cells which operate as 24-hour security guards. These mast cells are regularly patrolling, looking for any intruders. When they find something, they send out an alert, and blood cells come to heal any damage.

Then there are leukocytes, which are like special forces soldiers. Some of them patrol the body. And when they find a micro-terrorist, they take no prisoners. They kill the thing. Some of them head out and can kill up to 100 intruders at a time.

Sometimes our own cells can become infected by an intruder. Some of the special forces defenders which patrol the body specifically look for our own infected cells. When they find them, they take them out.

Then there are immune cells which roam around doing detective work. Some of the micro-villains leave little traces of pathogens, sort of like fingerprints or little pieces of evidence. When the immune cells find them, they pass on that information to T cells, so that the T cells can take them out.

Some T cells also patrol the body, and will communicate as necessary to the while blood cells. They will call up the white blood cells to take out the intruders as when needed.

Then there are B cells. These cells make these clever things called antibodies which attach to the micro-terrorists. Antibodies are like highly-specialized tags. When other cells from our immune system see the tags, they destroy those tagged-terrorists.

There are times when your immune system will cause your body to have a fever. They let loose a chemical that tells your body to raise the thermostat which results in a fever. That fever can be a good thing because temperature rise increases the metabolism of cells, which means they can usually heal faster.

Then there are the B and T memory cells. These things are extraordinary. They are like tireless defense-system, record-keepers. Together they keep a record of all the micro-terrorists. They record details about the intruders, like who they are and how they work, so that they can be ready for them in the future. In that way, if the micro-terrorists return, the immune system takes swift action.

Much more could be said. But consider the brilliance of God in our immune system: we have patrolling special forces able to recognize intruders. We have some cells which patrol and communicate to other cells when something is wrong. And we have other cells that keep a sophisticated record of past intruders.

Every second of our existence, this highly-skilled intelligent, special-forces defense system is laboriously working to keep us safe. While we sit there and eat a bag of chips or sleep or write a letter or converse with a friend or ski or listen to a sermon, our micro-defense department is protecting us.

So, how do you get a highly organized army with sophisticated weapons, a communication system, as well as a running record of enemies? Can rocks and water; hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon, and oxygen, smashing together for millions of years create that?

“All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:3).

“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth” (Col. 1:16).

God the Son created it all. That eternal second Person of the Trinity, who took on human flesh; he did it. He thought of it. He designed it. He made it, and he did so as an act of kindness towards us. And he also made horses, hearts, hawks, hyenas, humpback whales, and your hippocampus.

A few final so-whats?:

1. Praise this brilliant God.

When we consider just our immune system, the saying is true: we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14). God is worthy of our unending applause in light of his brilliance.

2. Fear this great God.

The right response to such brilliance and power is fear and awe. God created this micro-world of genius simply by speaking.

“Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him” (Ps. 33:8).

3. Do not hope in yourself or this world.

As brilliant as our immune system is, it will not work forever this side of heaven. One day, it will fail. All grasshoppers will drag themselves along. Our physical bodies will return to the dust. There is no hope in this world.

4. Trust in Christ alone to rescue from all viruses.

Sin is the reason we are attacked by micro-villains and will all die (Gen. 2:17). Being children of Adam, we will face death (Rom. 5:12). However, death no longer has the last word (1 Cor. 15:22). God the Son clothed himself in lowly humanity (Phil. 2:5-7). He faced the viruses and villains, big and small, of this world. Then, he substituted himself for all who put faith in him at the cross (1 Pet. 2:24). When he did, he stood in as if he had committed all our sin and carried all our guilt. Jesus died for our sin.

Though death is the fate of every person, Christ overcame death. When Jesus launched out of the grave, he made a mockery of viruses, pathogens, mirco-terrorists, and anything that puts us to death (1 Cor. 15:55-56). One day, all who put faith in him will rise to eternal life.

5. Heaven will be villain-less.

This current world is replete with micro and macro-villains. Once Adam and Eve rebelled, viruses and violence began to deluge our world. All things death-causing are allowed in. But, Jesus died and rose. When he did, he guaranteed the future resurrection into a future heaven for all who repent (John 11:25-26). That future, literal world will be one where, either viruses are entirely absent, or an immune system is no longer needed (Rev. 21:3-4). Either way, the only outbreak in that happy place will an outbreak of praise, worship, and unceasing joy among God’s people in the presence of Jesus

This article originally appeared here.

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Eric is the pastor of Cornerstone Church in Jackson Hole, WY. He and his team planted the church in 2008. He has been married for 17 years and has 3 children.