What is the purpose of the vast cosmic vistas of our universe? Matter reveals itself in many forms: solid, liquid, gas, plasma, liquid crystals, energy etc. and it has a purpose to embody a vast array of life forms which inhabit the universe or at least earth.
"The LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground
and blew into his nostrils the breath of life,
and so man became a living being." (Gn 2:7)
Trifid Nebula: Hubble Heritage Image
The words of Genesis give us an imaginative view of the creation of man. The author(s) did not know any science but used common sense. They knew that man's body returned to dust at death so they concluded that God must have, in the beginning, taken man's body from the ground.
That God created all things is a datum of revelation but the inquiring human mind wants to understand more deeply how God created living organisms. The discovery of DNA (genetic code) in all living entities has given us an insight into how God created the human body. Life on earth is not a product of chance nor the inherent ability of atoms and molecules to organize themselves in such a way as to produce living entities, nor is it a product of mindless evolution, rather, life is a produced by an intelligent designer whom we call God
What is a code? We are all familiar with computer code, (e.g. 0100 0001) produces on the computer screen the letter A. All that the computer understand is electricity ON electricity OFF, the mathematical expression into 0 and 1. The code consists in the ordering of 0's and 1's so as to create something meaningful, which in this case is the letter A. The DNA code consists in the ordering of certain chemical molecules in the genes named (A, T, G, C) so as to produced differing aspects of a living organism. DNA contains the blueprint of the human body and the instructions on how it should function. Where did this information come from? This information is not inherent in the chemicals themselves but is a manifestation of a super intelligence: God created man's body. Of course this may have taken millions of years as the genetic transmutations developed first in the animal kingdom which eventually culminated into human nature, but the whole process of changing life forms exhibits God's intelligent design.
Is DNA, therefore the Soul?
The Human Soul is a non-material, non spatial entity which is always in act with a tendency to shape matter into functional structures. It is the ultimate internal principle by which we think, feel, and will. If this is the soul, what relationship does this spiritual entity have toward DNA?
At first it is obvious that the human body as an individuated entity comes into being at conception. The genetic information on how it is to be constructed and function already exists in man and woman and is passed on to the child. The human body, therefore, is not an immediate creation of God but is dependent on God both with regard to its origin and present existence. The human soul, on the other hand, is immediately created by God and gives the undeveloped body potentials it would not otherwise have. For example, if we consider DNA as the ultimate ruling agent of the body, any mutilation of DNA would be fatal and unrecoverable. In reality, DNA damage is constantly repaired because somehow the organism knows how to detect changes in the genetic message. So the system of rescue seems to 'know' the meaning of a structure in its broader context, not just its chemical structure. (Piotr Lenartowics, SJ web article, "Are We fully shaped and Determined by Our Genesis?) We must further consider the fact that identical twins have the same genome but they are distinct persons. So the ultimate identity of a human being does not reside in the genes but in the soul.
Likewise, Alan F. Alford has made the following observation with regard to the soul's role in evolution if we consider that plants and animals also have souls in a more limited sense."A possible scenario is that soul-substance, present in the DNA of all living organisms, senses any changes to the organisms environment and reacts intelligently to ensure its survival. This mechanism would lie dormant for the vast majority of time, only to be activated in times of acute crisis. Members of a species might thus acquire a new characteristic one key to its future survival virtually overnight. And this essential genetic improvement would then obviously be favored by natural selection. In this way, evolution, seen as a whole, would occur not via descent with modification driven by statistics and chance, but rather via descent with modification driven by intelligence the intelligence that was immanent in the soul-substance."
Life in God's Image