Changed by 7% (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Astronaut Scott Kelly lived in space at the International Space Station for 340 days. Such an experience would be life changing for anyone; for Astronaut Kelly, it also changed his DNA gene expression.


Initial reports erroneously stated that Astronaut Kelly’s DNA changed by 7%. That would be a biological impossibility since Kelly would literally become a new species. Kelly is an identical twin and before he left the earth, he and his brother had their DNA analyzed. As expected, the prior DNA analysis was an exact match. After returning to earth, nearly a year later, the DNA was still identical but what doctor’s discovered was 7% of his genes had a different expression. Although it seems logical to conclude that the unusual rigors of space travel and radiation caused the altered expression, scientists are still unsure. One less glamorous explanation could be that these changes would have occurred regardless of whether Kelly was in space or not. More research needs to be conducted but this pilot study does illustrate how gene expression is dynamic and influenced by numerous variables.

 

All living creatures have DNA, the chemical molecules that encode our genetic makeup. Sequences of DNA are arranged in units known as genes and these genes are arranged on longer strands of DNA and organized into chromosomes. When a gene is activated, it leads to the production of a chemical or protein, a process known as expression. An incredibly complex system of biochemical controls regulate the expression of all of our genes. The controls are predominantly regulated by other genes but can be influenced by environmental changes, including illness, fatigue, poor nutrition, and radiation.

 

We are all created in the image of God and imbued with God’s character. We know God’s character through His revelation in the Bible and through His Son, Jesus Christ. The expression and revelation of God’s character is different for many believers and is influenced not only by their inborn character, but also by the environmental influences. Is God a Father, brother, friend, or a judge? God is all of these and much more.

 

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)

 

My circumstances determine how I perceive God. When I am in pain, I cling to God’s expression as a loving Father. When I have sinned, I beseech His expression as a compassionate and merciful judge. But the paramount expression of God’s character in my life is reserved for His grace. Scarcely a day passes when I do not thank God for His grace, His unmerited and undeserved favor and love for saving me. There is nothing good in me. I cannot go for a minute before a sinful thought enters my mind. In this wretched state, the only hope I have is the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ. When I confessed and repented of my sins and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, He gave me His Holy Spirit to dwell within me. Sin is still present but God, through His Holy Spirit, continues to transform and conform me into the image of His Perfect Son.

 

God has many different expressions of His character and all of them are true. Praise God that He never changes!

 

Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.

 

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