So, a couple months ago (I sincerely apologize for the delay in posting this Part 2 – life has a habit of getting in the way of blogging…), I began with a discussion of how my pastor made the statement that Jesus didn’t have any of Mary’s blood in Him – God just miraculously created a new human who was completely unrelated (genetically) to either Joseph OR Mary. And I began discussing why I don’t agree with that line of thinking, but the discussion was running long, and I thought it would be best to end with the question: “If Mary inherited the sin nature from Adam, as we all did, why wouldn’t she pass it on to her son?”
To understand the answer to this question it is (unfortunately for me, since I’m more a writer than a scientist) necessary to understand a little more about genes and DNA.
A gene is just one section of a long DNA molecule that carries the necessary information for the production of a protein, or for part of a protein. According to these specially coded proteins, genes influence or determine characteristics like eye color, skin color, or hair color and texture. Genes even influence some personality and behavioral traits, as well as possible physical weaknesses or defects, thus causing predispositions to certain diseases, such as diabetes, glaucoma, or heart failure. Or, in Adam’s case, sin.
To create just one human, you have to assemble at least 50,000 genes. If you unraveled the DNA from a single human eukaryotic cell, you’d have a single thread about five feet long and 50-trillionths of an inch thick. So that the DNA string won’t get all tangled up, some of its sections are wrapped around proteins, like a knitter wraps a ball of yarn around itself. These wrapped DNA units are called nucleosomes, and they coil into structures called chromosomes.
The human body has 23 pairs of chromosomes – one chromosome comes from the mother and one comes from the father. Twenty-two of these pairs (autosomes) are the same for both males and females. One pair (the sex, or X and Y, chromosomes) differs, and this is what determines a baby’s gender. Females have two X chromosomes, while males have one X and one Y chromosome.
There is another important distinction that needs to be made here in relation to a special form of DNA called mitochondria. The mitochondria make it possible for the body to breathe aerobically. Without mitochondria, human cells would be unable to metabolize effectively. They would, literally, burn up and destroy themselves. Mitochondria are passed ONLY through the MOTHER to the next generation.
Male mitochondria are stored in the sperm tails, while the female mitochondria are safely tucked away inside the ovum. During conception, the sperm head penetrates the egg cell wall, and the tail breaks off. When this happens, the male mitochondria dies. For this reason, the resulting baby can only inherit mitochondria from the mother. It is a well-known fact in forensic science and genealogy that the genetic pathway of DNA can only be traced through the woman – not the man.
Thus, Jesus had to possess Mary’s mitochondrial DNA, or else his human body cells would not have been able to continue to metabolize and survive. It is impossible for a human to exist without female mitochondria.
I know what you’re thinking: If God created the whole universe out of nothing (as He did), then why couldn’t He create female DNA out of thin air. The answer is, of course, that He could…but why would He? He was already using Mary’s body as a conduit through which His Holy Son would come. Why wouldn’t He use her already-present DNA too? I can’t think of any good reason why not, and there’s some biblical evidence to suggest that He actually would.
God created the man (Adam), and then He created woman (Eve) out of the side of the man, and they conceived children. The name “Eve” means “life giver.” Her seed was needed in order to pass on life, and it was from her seed that the Savior of mankind would come (See Genesis 3:15). Eve is the life giver because her female seed (ova) passed on the mitochondrial DNA cells to her future offspring during conception. This is the same “seed” that found its way, through the generations, down to Mary, and this was passed on to her son, Yeshua.
Next week (or the next time I post the Tuesdays with Yeshua feature), we’ll look at another form of DNA, the alleles…and we’ll talk a little about what Jesus inherited from His Heavenly Father.