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The Laminin Cross

A few years ago, some Christian apologetics latched on to a remarkable biological fact, and announced:



"Great designers always leave their mark!"

Latin Cross
Laminin diagram
(Click image to enlarge)

Much has been written recently showing the uncanny similarity between the symbol for laminin, a protein that holds the cells in our body together, and the symbol Jesus Christ, who created life and holds us together spiritually.

Laminin is a glycoprotein, an adhesion molecule that is an essential component of the membranes that support cells in most animal tissue. Its composition is often represented by the cruciform image shown on the left. The cross is also the symbol of Jesus Christ, and we read in Col. 1:17: "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."

Like everybody else 2,000 years ago, Paul was completely oblivious to laminin, yet he writes here of the Creator, who holds all life together, and by extension, God's love shown by the sacrifice of His Son on the cross. And it is that which binds us together as a whole person spiritually, just like laminin does biologically.

If you wish, you could probably find other similarities. Equally, skeptics can point out glaring dissimilarities:

  1. Caduceus
    Caduceus

    Firstly, the double helical structure makes the laminin symbol look more like the pre-Christian symbol for the god Hermes; the Caduceus.

  2. laminin molecule
    Laminin molecule

    And secondly, microscopic photographs of a laminin show that it can be all bent and twisted, looking even less like a cross.

These observations are perfectly correct and yet they actually enhance the Christian metaphor.

maltese
Maltese


coptic
Coptic

Latin Cross
Latin


fleur-de-lis
Fleur de lis

True, the cross members of laminin molecules are more pliable than the wood used to make the cross, and there was probably not a double helix on the cross used to crucify Jesus. Indeed, it was probably not the Latin Cross shape we are generally familiar with. Neither was it a fancy fleur-de-lis nor any of the thousands of different cross styles. The rugged cross used to crucify Jesus was made of roughly hewn timbers; bent and twisted.

The laminin symbol is to show the relationship between the three chains that make up the molecule. There doesn't have to be a spiritual parallel with this, but it does bring to mind the three-in-one nature of the Holy Trinity. And the adhesive property of the molecule aligns so well with our bond with Christ.

Now, just as atheists are on a dodgy platform trying to disprove something they don't believe in, Christians would quickly falter if they said a cruciform laminin proves God is the Creator of life and our Redeemer. The shape does resemble a cross (sometimes) but that does not prove anything. The truth found in Col. 1:15-20 would be no less truthful if laminin looked like a smiley face.

Certainly God can give us signs and confirmation of His Word, but like other 'signs' (see Dream cross), we should remind ourselves we are not infallible. We must be cautious not to assume our limited knowledge is superior to God's Word. Picking up snippets from innumerable websites like this one can be entertaining but they are no match for thoughtful reasoning and considered study of the Bible.

So are we saying that the cross shape of the laminin is irrelevant? No, not at all. God made all things and He made all things for a purpose, most of which we do not yet understand. But occasionally we stumble across scientific facts (see the little note on astronomy) that help confirm the obvious.

Since we can see quite clearly1 the results of God's creation all around us, we don't need further proof.


1: Rom. 1:20