I was sitting in the cafeteria in my second year of university, studying, when suddenly I burst out laughing. My friends glanced at me, then at the thick green textbook I was reading, and raised their eyebrows. What could be so funny about biology?
We had just been studying DNA, one of few biology topics that actually interested me. I was fascinated with how DNA managed to replicate itself, over and over again, without error. The textbook went into great detail explaining the mechanisms that were in place to make sure that, if there was an error in DNA replication, it was quickly corrected.
Occasionally, however, a problem in the DNA would escape notice. This was very rare, the textbook and our professor explained. It was also very harmful. Our professor gave us a list of diseases caused by DNA replication errors. There were only about a dozen diseases on the list, all very rare and all leading to death by the time the person was a teenager. Clearly, it was vitally important that the DNA was reproduced perfectly.
Flip the page in the textbook. Here it begins explaining that we all evolved by DNA mutations. That was when I started laughing. I’m sorry—aren’t mutations a bad thing? But, no, after explaining for pages and pages how DNA is carefully programmed to replicate without mistakes and that these mistakes are horrible when they do occur, the textbook tried to tell me that because of such mutations in our DNA, we managed to evolve from lower forms of life. Pardon me if I don’t believe that.
That’s the theme of Frank Peretti’s book Monster. My husband picked it up at the bookstore a few months back, and I finally got around to reading it this week. In the book, Burkhardt is a scientist who believes that, since “humans are 98% chimpanzee,” he can mix chimp and human DNA to create a new creature. Something bigger and better. The problem is, all he creates is monsters. Many of his creatures die before they are even born, horribly deformed; or they survive with their deformations, ugly and misshapen and barely able to function. The monster of the book is a huge, deformed chimpanzee that escapes and starts brutally killing people until it is finally found and destroyed.
Cap, a creationist and scientist, has been expelled from his position at the university for suggesting that Burkhardt is wrong. Cap is the one who discovers Burkhardt’s unethical experiments and deformed creatures, and points out that, even with carefully selected DNA mutations, nothing good had come of all the experiments. The mutations caused problems, not great scientific breakthroughs. All Burkhardt’s attempts to prove the validity of evolution failed, because evolution hinges on the idea that we mutated and evolved into better species. And science has only proved that that can’t and doesn’t happen, despite what textbooks and evolutionists might attempt to say to contrary.
With a great cast of characters, plausible science, and Peretti’s trademark suspense, Monster is a page-turning, thought-provoking novel from beginning to end.
Frank Peretti was born in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada and is one of Christian fiction’s hottest authors. He has written 19 novels, for adults and teens, including This Present Darkness (his first novel) and The Oath (which I can still remember reading with fear and trembling) and The Cooper Kids adventure series (some of my favourite books as a teen). He and his wife Barbara now life in rural Idaho. For more about Frank and his books, visit his website.
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