The human body is infused with a protein called, Laminin, which literally holds your entire body together – inside and out, cell-to-cell. Without laminins, the body would simply fall apart. It is no wonder that something so prominent in the human existence is the stuff of great debate. I first learned of laminin in 2012. I was so excited, I wrote an article called,
“The Cross Within.” It still intrigues me today. One thing I did not do then is to look at the opposite side of the debate. Can I debunk the debunkers?
Is laminin really evidence of God in man?
Some people say the connection between laminin and the cross of Christianity is a hoax. They call it fake news. For me, the obvious conclusion about laminin is that it is the handiwork of God. I am of course biased since I believe in Genesis 1:26 and Colossians 1:15-17. While Christians would like to see laminin as a cross-like structure, it is true that laminin can display in a variety of symbolic thought inducing shapes. However, scientists agree that the most user-friendly applications present laminin in the shape of a cross. Let’s discover what laminin is scientifically.
What is the true shape of laminin?
According to an article titled, “The laminin family” by researcher Monique Aumailley, published in the scientific journal “Cell Adhesion and Migration”:
Laminins are large molecular weight glycoproteins constituted by the assembly of three disulfide-linked polypeptides, the α, β and γ chains. The human genome encodes 11 genetically distinct laminin chains. Structurally, laminin chains differ by the number, size and organization of a few constitutive domains, endowing the various members of the laminin family with common and unique important functions. In particular, laminins are indispensable building blocks for cellular networks physically bridging the intracellular and extracellular compartments and relaying signals critical for cellular behavior, and for extracellular polymers determining the architecture and the physiology of basement membranes.Monique Aumailley (2013) The laminin family, Cell Adhesion & Migration, 7:1, 48-55, DOI: 10.4161/cam.22826
The arms of the laminin protein are not all the same length. If they were, it would look more like a plus (+) sign. Aumailley goes on to say that “Observation of purified laminin molecules by electron microscopy after rotary shadowing indicated that the three chains assemble to form an asymmetrical cross-shaped structure, …” That is the structure of laminin cell-adhesion molecules that literally hold the body together.
That’s one point for the the cross.
What about that bend?
Some scientists argue that because laminin may display in a bent position, it looks more like a swastika than a cross. Before you give the point to the sceptics, know that the swastika was not designed to represent Hitler’s Nazi Aryan race army. The symbol was hijacked by Hitler because of its natural appeal. It originally represented a positive concept.
The modern name for the [swastika] icon, is derived from the Sanskrit svastika, meaning “conducive to well-being.” It has been used by cultures around the world for myriad different purposes throughout history: as a symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism; as a stylized cross in Christianity; in ancient Asiatic culture as a pattern in art; in Greek currency; in Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture; and on Iron Age artifacts. While the symbol has a long history of having a positive connotation, it was forever corrupted by its use in one cultural context: Nazi Germany. [Might I add, nobody wants to be associated with that. The cross is a much better connotation.]Jonathan Hogeback () How the Symbolism of the Swastika Was Ruined. Encyclopedia Britannica.
Let’s consider a real image of laminin.
Why would a cross be leaning this way? Well, I’m glad you asked. It reminds me of the palm tree. When the storm winds blow, the palm tree bows low, bearing the force of the storm. When the winds subside, it stands aright again. The body moves in all different directions, like a storm over molecules.
When we are going through something, the bond that holds us together is able to bow and sway and stay through the wind until we reach calmer motion. Maybe Laminin is bent in this picture, but straight in another – when the motion was different.
I am also reminded that if people belong to the Kingdom of God, they wear His brand of ownership.
I’ll call it. That’s two points for the cross.
What about that -90 degree angle?
Some argue that the shape of Laminin is not really a cross, but a sword, since in its natural form, it can appear to be lying on its side as shown below. So, you’re telling me that the body is covered and protected by laminin, a mesh of swords? I’ll take this play and raise you an Ephesians 6:17!
And take the helmet of salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
The “Sword of the Spirit”, or “the Word of the Lord” (the Bible) is the faithful’s only offensive weapon. All of the other pieces of armor such as the helmet of salvation and the breastplate of righteousness are defensive weapons against the attacks of the enemy (Crosswalk, 2019).
So, the Word of God is a (de)fence all around us, literally! In one of my favorite movies (Bulletproof Monk), the monk relates that when you protect the scroll, the scroll protects you. This reminds me of the connection between the faithful and the Father (God). We wear His sword for protection as the monk wore the words of the scroll.
Trinity point! That’s three for the cross.
Maybe the cross is just an easy visual.
Still some say that Laminin is only widely portrayed as a cross so that the human eye can more easily conceptualize the parts of the protein. This then, is a scientific parable.
This scientific parable represents the complicated details of a cell protein in a user-friendly method so even the elementary of mind can understand. It’s like my uncle always used to say, “Keep it on a 3rd grade level.” That was to say, preach to the masses, not the classes.
Jesus also spoke in parables! If laminin is a scientific parable, who is God speaking to? I’d guess the entire world. People, plants, and animals all have laminin.
Cross takes the square! That’s four points for the cross.
What about the caduceus?
The mythologically fancied may accept the idea that laminin looks like a caduceus. The caduceus is the traditional symbol of Hermes and features two snakes winding around an often winged staff. It is widely used as a symbol of medicine, especially in the United States. Prakash and Johnny write in their Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research published work, “Things you don’t learn in medical school: Caduceus“:
… There are certain things that will not be taught in medical schools, … The Caduceus is one of them… Caduceus is a symbol with a short staff entwined by two serpents, sometimes surmounted by wings while the Rod of Asclepius is the one with a single snake… The Caduceus is a symbol of Hermes or Mercury in Greek and Roman mythology, which is identified with thieves, merchants, and messengers, and Mercury is said to be a patron of thieves and outlaws, not a desirable protector of physicians.
Once again, the healing of the cross is a better conduit of good vibes. Advantage: The Cross.
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men;I CORINTHIANS 1:25
and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
There are other symbols claimed by sceptics to debunk the laminin-cross relationship. So, what do I conclude from all of this? In my mind, you may not have an expensive gilded cross hanging from a gold chain around your neck, but you definitely wear a cross… everywhere (whether you want to or not). Every cell of your body knows the Lord, even if you don’t (but you can! (Romans 10:9)).
15 He is the exact living image [the essential manifestation] of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible], the firstborn [the preeminent one, the sovereign, and the originator] of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created in heaven and on earth, [things] visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [that is, by His activity] and for Him. 17 And He Himself existed and is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. [His is the controlling, cohesive force of the universe.]Colossians 1:15-17 AMP