The Construction of the Nervous System
As all these operations continue, one more important
formation must take place: the central nervous system.
The central nervous system (the brain and the spinal
cord) arises from an elongate thickening of the ectoderm,
the outermost of the three primary germ layers of the
embryo. The sides of this neural plate elevate as neural
folds, which, by growing further, meet and fuse, thereby
creating a neural tube. The anterior part of this tube
thickens and expands to form the brain; in the meantime,
the posterior part forms the spinal cord.
All the developments we have summarized here in one
or two sentences surpass the limits of human imagination.
The other stages in the formation of the nervous system
again and again confirm the extraordinary character
of these developments.
of the brain appears clearly in the watery environment
of the mother's womb. This construction is accomplished
by cells which have no intelligence or awareness.
At the end of this wondrous process the baby
will have a total of 10 billion brain cells.
Every cell acts with prior knowledge of what
cells it must connect with. From among endless
possibilities, it finds the place where it belongs.
It unites with the cell that it must unite with.
In the end, it will have made 100 trillion perfect
connections in the brain. That will which allows
unconscious cells, working in the dark, to construct
the world's most excellent computer-the brain-is
the eternal knowledge of God.
From the fifth week there begins to be produced in
the spinal column special nerve cells called neurons.
They are produced very quickly at the rate of 5000 per
A large number of brain cells are produced in the first
five months of the embryo's life, and all of them will
have taken their place in the brain before birth. Cells
of the nervous system form very quickly and then begin
to migrate to more distant areas in order to form the
columns of the central nervous system.
But, at this stage, it is absolutely necessary for
every neuron to find the place in the nervous system
reserved for it. For this reason, a guide is indispensable
in order for the young neurons to find their way. These
guides are special cells which stretch out as a kind
of cable between the places where the brain and spinal
cord develop. The neurons leave the place where they
were produced and migrate attached to these guides.
They recognize the place allotted to them, lodge there
and immediately send out extensions establishing connections
with other neurons.
This is all very well. But how do the neurons know
to set out on such a long journey as soon as they are
formed? How do they decide to use a guide to reach their
target and to cooperate with one another? What we call
neurons are cells, too small to be seen with the naked
eye, and are composed of atoms and molecules. No doubt
they cannot deploy in such a conscious way by their
own decision or will. What directs this activity is
not the brain, because the brain of the embryo in the
mother's womb has not yet developed.
As soon as these cells are formed, they move as if
programmed, directed by information infused into them,
to a place they do not know. It is clear that in the
process of the formation of the brain and the nervous
system, no occurrence can come about by chance, because
a variation in one single stage would cause a chain
reaction making the whole system go wrong. The formation
of neurons and their becoming a system of nerves is
only one stage in the formation of the brain and the
nervous system attached to it. Let alone the brain,
as the evolutionists claim, not even one neuron can
be formed by coincidence.
There are many more details of this development. For
example, when they first come to be, the neurons have
a different structure from those of a mature human being.
In order to perform the functions required by the nervous
system of a developing human being, the neurons migrate
to a particular part of the body, and in the first stage,
their metabolism enables them to survive without oxygen.
However, when they arrive at the brain area and establish
themselves there, they immediately acquire a metabolism
that depends on oxygen for its survival. For the benefit
of all the nerve cells this transformation must take
place perfectly every time, otherwise their survival
would not be possible. This is no doubt a miraculous
We know today that it is highly dangerous for human
brain cells to remain without oxygen for a certain period,
and if that period be prolonged, first paralysis, then
death are inevitable. But the neurons which first come
into being have a totally different system. If there
is a problem at this stage only, that is, if there is
no change in the metabolism of the neurons at exactly
the right moment, the embryo will not develop into a
human being. Of course, it is not possible for a cell
to determine what function it will perform in the future
and to change its structure by its own will and conscious
awareness in order to perform this function.
This being the case, we are confronted by a clear truth:
it is God Who creates the neurons with these characteristics,
puts them to work at the right moment and places them
where they must go. Every human being should know that
he has been brought through these stages, and give thanks
when he sees the magnificence with which God has created
him as a human being. He must not for one moment forget
that God is the Creator of everything, and that apart
from Him, there is no other power on heaven or on earth.
... Do you then disbelieve in Him Who
created you from dust, then from a drop of sperm, and
then formed you as a man? He is, however, God, my Lord,
and I will not associate anyone with my Lord. (Qur'an,
Science et Vie, March 1995, No.190, p. 88
38. Science et Vie, March 1995, No.190,