Genesis 1:31
“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day…”

New findings about how the human nose works may help explain why a world that was perfect when it was made has come to have so many stinky things in it. Humans and mammals hold the record among all creatures with about 1,000 genes for odor receptors. But with only 1,000 different kinds of odor receptors, how is it we can smell over 10,000 different kinds of scents?
Human olfactory systemFor example, nonanoic acid uses the same receptors as nonanol, plus two others. Nonanol literally produces the smell of a rose. Yet those same receptors, plus the extra two that nonanoic acid activate, will produce a cheesy odor. Even more amazing is the discovery that virtually identical molecules can produce very different scents. Octanol produces a rosy, orangey scent, while octanoic acid produces a rancid, sweaty odor. Yet the two molecules are identical except for an extra side chain of atoms.
This may go a long way in explaining how a perfect creation of vegetarian creatures came to have rotten smells and to be meat eaters. A minor modification of a “good” scent can turn it into a “bad” scent. This seems to be confirmed by the discovery that the same receptors that allow mice to smell grain and seeds allow rats to smell meat. The decay man’s sin brought to the creation didn’t mean that God had to make new things. “Good” molecules simply decayed into a slightly different form with “bad” effects. We thank God we have a Savior in His Son, Jesus Christ, Who will deliver us from the decay that is in the world!

Father in heaven, we thank You that in Jesus Christ You have delivered us from the decay in the world which is a result of our own sin. Amen.

John Travis, “Making Sense of Scents,” Science News, v. 155, April 10, 1999, p. 236. Illustration: Human olfactory system. Courtesy of Chabacano. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.

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