For more than a decade, Frédéric Dumoulin has worked in the field of pharmaceutical research at Ghent University in Belgium. At one time he was an atheist. But later Frédéric became convinced that God created life. Awake! asked Frédéric—who is now one of Jehovah’s Witnesses—about his work and his faith.
Did religion have any role in your childhood?
Yes. My mother was Roman Catholic. But when I read about the Crusades and the Inquisition, I felt disgusted with religion and wanted nothing more to do with it. I also read about non-Christian religions and saw that they were no better. When I was 14, I reasoned that the prevalence of corruption in religion proves that God doesn’t exist. So when I was taught the evolution theory at school, I concluded that life originated by natural processes.
How were you attracted to science?
When I was seven, I was given a microscope and it became my favorite toy. Among other things, I used it to examine fascinating insects, such as butterflies.
How did you become interested in the origin of life?
When I was 22, I met a scientist who was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. She believed that God created life. That seemed really strange to me. I thought I could easily prove her faith to be ridiculous. But to my surprise, she had sensible answers to my questions. I became curious about people who believe in God.
A few months later, I met another Witness who was quite knowledgeable about medical matters. When he offered to explain what he believed, I accepted his offer because I wanted to know why people believe in God. I wanted to save him from his delusion.
Did you convince him that he was mistaken?
No, I didn’t. I began researching theories on the origin of life. To my surprise, I found that some eminent scientists say that even the simplest living cell is so complex that it couldn’t have originated on earth. Some of them think such cells came from outer space. There is a lot of disagreement about how life began.
Is there a point of agreement?
Strangely, many scientists agree that somehow natural processes caused life to spring from nonliving matter. I began to wonder, ‘If they don’t know how life could come about without a Creator, how can they be so sure that it happened that way?’ I began to look into what the Bible says about the origin of life.
What conclusions did you draw about the Bible?
The more I learned from the Bible, the more I became convinced that it’s true. For example, only recently have scientists found evidence that the universe had a beginning. But the opening verse of the Bible, written some 3,500 years ago, says: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”* And I found that whenever the Bible comments on scientific matters, it is accurate.
I found that whenever the Bible comments on scientific matters, it is accurate
Did your knowledge of science make believing in God difficult?
No. When I first came to believe in God, I had been studying science at a university for three years. To this day, the more I study the design of living things, the more I am convinced that there is a Creator.
Can you give us an example?
Yes. I’ve studied the effects of medications and toxins on living creatures. A design that impresses me is how our brain is protected from dangerous substances and from bacteria. There is a barrier that keeps our blood separate from our brain cells.
What is remarkable about that?
Over a hundred years ago, researchers noticed that substances introduced into the bloodstream enter every area of the body—except the brain and spinal cord. That fact is astonishing to me, because an immense network of tiny capillary vessels takes blood to every cell in the brain. All brain cells are cleaned, fed, and oxygenated by blood. So, how can our blood be kept separate from our brain cells? For many years it was a mystery.
How does the barrier work?
Microscopic blood vessels are not like plastic tubes that keep what’s inside separate from what’s outside. The walls of blood vessels are made of cells. These cells allow substances and microbes to pass through them and between them. However, the cells making up the blood vessels in our brain are different. They’re tightly connected to each other. These cells and the tight junctions between them are amazing. A vast array of complex mechanisms ensure that some things—such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, and glucose—pass between the bloodstream and the brain in a regulated way. But other compounds, proteins, and cells are kept out. So the blood-brain barrier operates at a molecular level to produce physical, chemical, and electrical barriers. For me, such design simply could not have evolved.