How did life begin?
Before any serious dialogue of deity can be entertained, the subjects of spontaneous generation and evolution must first be addressed.
This is one of the more inflammatory topics of discussion, especially coming from a creation point of view. In order to gain as much credibility as possible and so you can understand why I feel the way I do, I will use words spoken by evolutionists.
To illustrate how difficult spontaneous generation is, I would like to quote evolutionist Richard Dawkins from his award winning best seller The Blind Watchmaker.
"Measuring the statistical improbability of a suggestion is the right way to go about assessing its believability."
"The basic idea of The Blind Watchmaker is that we don't need to postulate a designer in order to understand life."
"Cumulative selection is the key but it had to get started, and we cannot escape the need to postulate a single-step chance event in the origin of cumulative selection itself. And that vital first step was a difficult one because, at its heart, there lies what seems to be a paradox...But we have to assist this cumulative selection to get started. It won't go unless we provide a catalyst...And that catalyst, it seems, is unlikely to come into existence spontaneously."
"The answer that we have arrived at is that complicated things have some quality, specifiable in advance, that is highly unlikely to have occurred by random chance alone."
"The theory of the blind watchmaker is extremely powerful given that we are allowed to assume replication and hence cumulative selection. But if replication needs complex machinery, since the only way we know for complex machinery ultimately to come into existence is cumulative selection, we have a problem."
"But cumulative selection cannot work unless there is some minimal machinery of replication and replicator power, and the only machinery of replication that we know seems too complicated to have come into existence by means of anything less than many generations of cumulative selection! Some people see this as a fundamental flaw in the whole theory of the blind watchmaker. They see it as the ultimate proof that there must originally have been a designer."
"But in this chapter we are asking how improbable, how miraculous, a single event we are allowed to postulate. What is the largest single event of sheer naked coincidence, sheer unadulterated miraculous luck,that we are allowed to get away with in our theories, and still say that we have a satisfactory explanation of life?"
"I may not always be right, but I care passionately about what is true and I never say anything that I do not believe to be right."
"The one thing we know for certain is that life has arisen once, here on this very planet. But we have no idea at all whether there is life anywhere else in the universe. It is entirely possible there isn't...It is entirely possible that our backwater of a planet is literally the only one that has ever born life."
"Our question was, how much luck are we allowed to assume in a theory of the origin of life on Earth? Begin by giving a name to the probability, however low it is, that life will originate on any randomly designated planet of some particular type. Call this the spontaneous generation probability or SGP...Suppose that our best guess of the SGP is some very very small number, say one in a billion. This is obviously such a small probability that we haven't the faintest hope of duplicating such a fantastically lucky, miraculous event as the origin of life in our laboratory experiments."
"It is often pointed out that chemists have failed in their attempts to duplicate the spontaneous origin of life in the laboratory."
"To conclude this argument, the maximum amount of luck that we are allowed to assume, before we reject a particular theory of the origin of life, has odds of one in N, where N is the number of suitable planets in the universe...let us put an upper limit of 1 in 100 billion billion."
"But although we can't comprehend these levels of improbability in our minds, we shouldn't just run away from them in terror."
"If the theory that DNA and its copying machinery arose spontaneously is so improbable that it obliges us to assume that life is very rare in the universe, and may even be unique to Earth, our first resort is to try to find a more probable theory. So, can we come up with any speculations about a relatively probable way in which cumulative selection might have got its start?"
"Most textbooks give greatest weight to the family of theories based on an organic 'primeval soup'...The missing link for this class of theories is still the origin of replication. The building blocks haven't come together in a self-replicating chain like RNA. Maybe one day they will...all other theories of the origin of life, may sound far-fetched to you and hard to believe. Does it sound to you as though it would need a miracle to make randomly jostling atoms join together into self-replicating molecules? Well, at times it does to me too."
"In Darwin's view, the whole point of the theory of evolution by natural selection was that it provided a non-miraculous account of the existence of complex adaptations. For what it's worth, it is also the whole point of this book."
"An apparently miraculous theory is exactly the kind of theory we should be looking for in the particular matter of the origin of life...A miracle is something that happens, but which is exceedingly surprising...although the odds against the coincidence are extremely high, we can still calculate them. They are not literally zero...It could happen. The odds against such coincidence are unimaginably great but they are not incalculably great."
"But of course any God capable of intelligently designing something as complex as the DNA/protein replicating machine must have been at least as complex and organized as that machine itself...To explain the origin of the DNA/protein machine by invoking a supernatural Designer is to explain precisely nothing, for it leaves unexplained the origin of the Designer."
"...Cambrian strata of rocks, vintage about 600 million years, are the oldest ones in which we find most of the major invertebrate groups. And we find many of them already in an advanced state of evolution, the very first time they appear. It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history. Needless to say, this appearance of sudden planting has delighted creationists."
"The present lack of a definitely accepted account of the origin of life should certainly not be taken as a stumbling block for the whole Darwinian world view, as it occasionally is."
After reading these passages, do the following statements from his introduction and preface make any sense?
"Darwinian evolution...is the most portentous natural truth that science has yet discovered...or is likely to discover."
"Evolution - The Greatest Show on Earth - The Only Game in Town!"
"Darwinism encompasses all of life...It provides the only satisfying explanation for why we all exist, why we are the way that we are. It is the bedrock on which rest all the disciplines known as the humanities...there are still those who seek to deny the truth of evolution...It took only minutes to awaken them to the power of Darwinism as a convincing explanation of life."
"This book is written in the conviction that our own existence once presented the greatest of all mysteries, but that is a mystery no longer because it is solved."
What has Darwinism discovered? What is the convincing explanation of life? What mystery has been solved?
Nevertheless, Dawkins says "...it is still true that anybody tempted by the arguments of creationists will find definitive refutations of them - I think all of them - in here."
Let's see, he refers to spontaneous generation as a "miraculous event." The odds of it happening are "unimaginably great" but "not literally zero." The fossil record is composed of "major gaps" and all fossils are already in an "advanced state of evolution, the very first time they appear." It's as though they were "just planted there, without any evolutionary history" which has obviously "delighted creationists." He says that cross-breeding produces "sterile" offspring and mutations are "deleterious" to the animals that possess them. He also fails to address the law of conservation and biogenesis. Definitive refutations for all arguments? I disagree.
On one hand, Dawkins writes the whole point of his book is, "to provide a non-miraculous account of the existence of complex adaptations." On the other, he writes, "an apparently miraculous theory is exactly the kind of theory we should be looking for in the particular matter of the origin of life." He failed to provide a non-miraculous account.
Dawkins writes, "...some very important gaps really are due to imperfections in the fossil record. Very big gaps, too...the major gaps are real, they are true imperfections in the fossil record...the only alternative explanation of the sudden appearance of so many complex animal types in the Cambrian era is divine creation and (we) would reject this alternative." After realizing the fossil record isn't imperfect and the missing links really aren't missing at all, he declares, "The 'gaps', far from being annoying imperfections or awkward embarrassments, turn out to be exactly what we should positively expect." Right.
The Blind Watchmaker is subtitled "Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design." With a title like that, it's hard to understand why he would write, "The complexity of living organisms is matched by the elegant efficiency of their apparent design. If anyone doesn't agree that this amount of complex design cries out for an explanation, I give up." He also writes, "...it (DNA) is of the same order of elaborateness and complexity of design as the human eye is at a grosser level...it could not have come into existence through single-step selection. Unfortunately, the same seems to be true of how DNA replicates itself...but also to more primitive creatures like bacteria and blue-green algae." And lastly, "But these notions, complexity and design, are so pivotal to this book...there is something special about complex, and apparently designed things."
It seems the only objection Dawkins has with the explanation that God created life is "...it leaves unexplained the origin of the Designer."
The skeptic asks, "If God created the universe, then who created God?" God, by definition, is the uncreated creator of the universe, so the question, "Who created God?" is illogical. A better question would be, "If the universe needs a cause, then why doesn't God need a cause? And if God doesn't need a cause, why should the universe need a cause?" Everything which has a beginning has a cause. The universe has a beginning; therefore, the universe has a cause. It is important to stress the words "which has a beginning." The universe requires a cause because it had a beginning. God, unlike the universe, had no beginning, so he does not need a cause. Einstein's general relativity shows that time is linked to matter and space. So, time itself would have begun along with matter and space at the beginning of the universe. Since God, by definition, is the creator of the whole universe, he is the creator of time and is independent and outside of time. He is not limited by the time dimension he created, so he has no beginning in time.
Dawkins describes 1 in a billion odds as "such a small probability that we haven't the faintest hope of duplicating such a fantastically lucky, miraculous event." I wonder what words he would use to describe the odds of something 100 billion times bigger than 1 billion to one. This is the number Dawkins uses, other estimates are much higher. Odds are 100 billion billion to one.
100,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1
Logic is the branch of philosophy which deals with the principles of reasoning. Classical logic, as taught in ancient Greece and Rome, used a system of rules for deduction. The modern scientific and philosophical logic of deduction has become closely allied to mathematics. Math is a numerical representation of logic. Most everyone would agree a 1% chance is pretty slim odds on any wager. What about a 100 quintillionth of a 1% chance? How logical is that?
Nobody would make a bet with those odds, but millions die every year who have wagered their eternal soul on them.
A basic principle of logic is the Law of Noncontradiction. This law states a sentence and the opposite of the same sentence cannot both be true. "There is a creator...There is not a creator." They cannot both be true and they cannot both be false. One is true and the other is a lie.
There are only two choices. One choice has odds of 100 billion billion to one. Some choose the alternative because they don't like the odds. Some choose the odds because they don't like the alternative. One option has odds so astronomically mind boggling that the odds of the only alternative are exponentially greater by default. It is interesting how atheists don't believe in miracles considering spontaneous generation, if it ever did happen, is inexplicable by the laws of nature which is the very definition of a miracle.
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. II Corinthians 4:4
You will be ever hearing but never understanding. You will be ever seeing but never perceiving. The hearts of these people have become calloused. They hardly hear with their ears and they have closed their eyes. Matthew 13:14-15
Through faith we understand that the universe was framed by the word of God so that things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. Hebrews 11:3
God gives life to the dead and calls into existence things that do not exist. Romans 4:17
Many individuals like to ridicule people who have faith in God, but one could make the valid point it takes more faith to believe in spontaneous generation than it does to believe in a creator.
Dawkins describes himself as a writer of History. After reading his book riddled with words like assume, hypothetical, imagine, postulate, probably, should, suppose, suspect and theory, I would say Fiction writer is more accurate.
It's also good to note in Charles Darwin's book The Origin of the Species, one subject he never addresses is the actual origin of the species! Theories about how we grew out of some primordial ooze all start after life had already begun. This is a fairly large missing link evolutionists like to skip right over.
For the sake of argument, let's assume something that was dead sprang to life in self-replicating form and spawned all life as we know it. And let's also imagine this was at least somehow represented in the fossil record. How would creatures be able to evolve and change into different ones? There are two ways:
Cross Breeding and Mutations
First let's look at Cross Breeding. No one disputes the fact that horizontal variation (microevolution) exists. All species have a certain range of differences. But vertical transformation (macroevolution), where one kind of species transforms into another, is not allowed and does not occur. Dawkins tries to use the fact that snakes have a different number of vertebrae, microevolution, as proof that they evolved from another creature, macroevolution. This is a common, but false, argument. Here is another amusing example from Dawkins, "You may find it hard to imagine an Amoeba turning into a man...but you do not find it hard to imagine an Amoeba turning into a slightly different kind of Amoeba. From this it is not hard to imagine it turning into a slightly different kind of slightly different kind of...and so on." While trying to postulate how macroevolution works, Dawkins uses dog breeding as an example, "Ah, but they are still dogs aren't they? They haven't turned into a different 'kind' of animal. Yes, if it comforts you to use words like that, you can call them all dogs." Boundaries between kinds are proven biological facts. Centuries of experimental breeding provide convincing evidence against evolution. When abnormal lines are crossed, sterility is the result. For example, a horse and donkey can mate and produce a new animal, the mule. However, the mule is sterile and unable to procreate. The fact that hybrid offspring do not have the ability to reproduce is strong evidence against evolution. This is another example of how proven scientific facts confirm what the Bible says, each reproduces after its own kind.
Now on to Mutations. Many people believe mutations offer the best explanation for evolution. The following can be found on page 233 of The Blind Watchmaker: "The more 'macro' (a mutation) it is, the more likely it is to be deleterious, and the less likely it is to be incorporated in the evolution of the species. As a matter of fact, virtually all the mutations studied in genetic laboratories, are deleterious to the animals possessing them." For reasons I am not entirely sure of, Dawkins goes on to add, "Ironically, I've met people who think that this is an argument against Darwinism!"
Evolution is falling apart today. The theory of evolution is crumbling in the face of total lack of evidence. However, you might not hear about it because many people in this world simply find the only alternative to evolution, a divine creator, completely and totally unacceptable. If we were talking about any other subject, evolution would have been abandoned long ago, but atheists do not want to believe in God so they must believe in evolution by default, regardless of the fact that it does not have one leg to stand on. If evolution is a lie, then there is God. There is a moral standard. There is accountability for your actions.
Paleontology is the study of prehistoric life through fossils. This is the branch of science that should offer impressive and convincing evidence for evolution. The only source of unbiased, tangible and documented evidence to determine whether evolution actually occurred in the past is the fossil record. Does the fossil record really support evolution or does it advance biblical creationism?
There are several questions that evolutionists have a difficult time answering:
Why do all fossils appear instantly in the fossil record?
The fossil record reveals a total absence of multicellular life forms in the lower two thirds of the earth's crust. This is referred to as the Precambrian period. Then, advanced life appears in abundant numbers during the Cambrian period. This period contains the oldest rocks in which complex fossils are found. The Cambrian sedimentary rock fossils contain many millions of highly advanced and well developed life forms. This is referred to as the Cambrian Explosion.
In the Precambrian period, the fossil record only has sparse, unicellular fossils. In the Cambrian period, the fossil record indicates life appeared suddenly in tremendous complexity, great diversity and unbelievable abundance without evolving from any ancestors.
There is no gradual evolution of the fossil record. If everything developed from the same primordial soup, certainly there would be some very basic creatures that would have existed between the soup and the creatures we are familiar with. Why aren't there any? Where is the connetion between unicellular organisms and all other life forms?
Why are there not many thousands of transitional fossils?
One of the biggest obstacles for evolutionists to overcome is the total lack of substantial transitional fossils. If we have been evolving for millions of years, there should be a tremendous amount of intermediate fossils. There are no concrete links of plants to animals, fish to amphibians, amphibians to reptiles or reptiles to birds and mammals. The fossil record is composed mostly of large gaps.
Charles Darwin said, "Why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined?" Darwin also admitted, "By this theory innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth." The reality that there are none prompted him to conclude this fact is, "the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory." There should literally be a minimum of hundreds of thousands of transitional fossils.
Darwin was at least honest enough to acknowledge the unavoidable problem of all the missing links. He felt this dilemma could be explained by an incomplete fossil record. He said the missing links and the critical gaps would eventually be filled. After more than 100 years, the fossil record has grown by a staggering amount. However, there has been no real discovery of any credible transitional fossils. To this day, the fossil record continues to be composed mainly of gaps. There are enough fossils today to convince us the gaps are real and they will never be filled.
Because there is no credible evidence for transitional fossils and they refuse to believe in God, scientists Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould claimed evolution really does not work in a gradual process. They stated evolution occurs by quick, large leaps. This concept is known as punctuated equilibrium. It is interesting how these scientists, after realizing the fossil record fails to lend any credibility to the theory of evolution, have changed the entire philosophy of how evolution happened in order to fit the facts of the fossil record. Even so, punctuated equilibrium lacks any scientific evidence to support it.
If evolution has been occurring throughout all of history, shouldn't there be at least one documented case of a creature turning into another? Is it not mildly perplexing there is no hard evidence that any animal, reptile, fish, bird or plant has evolved into another one? How is it possible and acceptable there is not one change of any phylum, class, order or family into another on record? There is no widely accepted proof any species has ever changed. The fossil record strongly supports Scripture which states that each species reproduces after its own kind. This is an unfortunate fact for evolution which requires life to be in a continual state of disarray and change. The Bible is not only verified by the fossil record but it is also confirmed by modern scientific observation and experimentation.
Evolutionists will point to a handful of questionable fossils and declare them to be solid evidence for evolution. Creationists point to the millions of fossils which compose the entire fossil record to validate divine creation. To the unbiased observer, the preponderance of the evidence points to divine creation and away from evolution. The only problem is the majority of people are biased. People believe what they want to believe. Many are not even interested in what the facts are because they could be contrary to what they already think.
EVIDENCE FOR AN OLD EARTH
The belief that the Earth is billions of years old is firmly entrenched in our society. These numbers are derived from radioactive dating. There are three main types: carbon-14, potassium-argon, uranium-lead. Carbon-14 is used to date things that were once alive. Potassium-argon and uranium-lead dating are used to date rocks that are supposedly millions and billions of years old.
Due to the half-life of carbon-14, no objects over 50,000 years old should test positive for c-14. If a sample does test positive for carbon-14, it is great evidence the sample is not millions of years old. Coal was alleged to have formed many millions of years ago. This means no coal should test positive for c-14, but that is not what happens. There has never been any coal found that is completely void of c-14.
We have been told that the successive layers of rock have been laid down over millions of years. This opinion is called into question when polystrate fossils are introduced. Polystrate fossils are fossils, usually trees, that extend through several rock layers. The problem is that in order for something to become a fossil, it has to be buried either causing its death or immediately after death. Otherwise, it would decay or be scavenged by animals and there would be nothing to fossilize. Polystrate fossils are some of the best evidence rock layers haven't been laid down over many millions of years. They are often found in coal fields that possess human skulls, artifacts and gold jewelry. 75% of the earth's surface is sedimentary rock which forms underneath moving water. Fish fossils have been found on the tops of mountains.
Other evidence which points to a rapid layering of rock are:
Thick layers of "rock" are bent in wavy lines without fracturing, indicating the layers were soft when bent.
Lack of surface erosion between layers (water, wind, roots, worms, etc).
Lack of fossilized soil layers in the rock strata, indicating no long time gaps.
Dykes and pipes where a soft mixture has been pushed up through overlying layers before hardening.
EVIDENCE FOR A YOUNG EARTH
The following examples are not meant to be solid evidence that proves the earth is young. Creationists cannot prove the age of the earth using a particular scientific method anymore than evolutionists can. Most of us realize all science in this area is suspect because we do not have all the data, especially when dealing with the uncertain and distant past. This is true of both creationist and evolutionist scientific arguments. But creationists understand the limitations of dating methods better than evolutionists who claim they can use processes observed in the present to "prove" the earth is billions of years old. In reality, all dating methods, including those which point to a young earth, rely on unprovable assumptions.
Calculations based on the measured permeability of cap rock reveal the oil and gas pressures could not be maintained for much longer than 10,000 years in most cases. If these fossil fuel deposits have really been there for millions of years, they would have leaked through the fractured cap rock long before now.
Saturn is cooling off. Saturn radiates three times more energy than it receives from the Sun. It is not massive enough to retain its primeval heat from formation 4.5 billion years ago. Because it is still giving off internal heat, it cannot be billions of years old.
The Moon is receding very slowly from the Earth. Both are considered to be 4.5 billion years old. The Moon never could have been closer to the Earth than 11,500 miles. This distance is known as the Roche limit. The tidal forces of the Earth on a satellite of the Moon's dimensions would break it up into rings like those of Saturn. Based on the present rate of lunar recession, the Moon would have been within the Roche limit around 1 or 2 billion years ago, 50-75% too soon.
The Earth's magnetic field has been measured scientifically for over 100 years. Studies reveal the strength of this field is decaying exponentially at a half life of 1,400 years. If this measurement is consistent with the past, the magnetic field would have been comparable to that of a magnetic star as few as 30,000 years ago. The estimated heat produced by those currents would have melted the earth.
The Earth's rotation is slowing a fraction of a second per year. If the earth were billions of years old, the centrifugal force should have notably deformed the earth.
Finally, there is an account of how the universe came about and how life began in the book of Genesis.
You do not need to check your brain at the door to believe the testimony revealed in Genesis. There is not one shred of scientific evidence that invalidates the claims found in these verses which state God created life and the universe.
"At the present stage of geological research, we have to admit that there is nothing in the geological records that runs contrary to the view of conservative creationists, that God created each species separately, presumably from the dust of the earth." (Dr. Edmund J. Ambrose, The Nature and Origin of the Biological World, John Wiley & Sons, 1982, p. 164)
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light "day" and the darkness he called "night". There was evening and there was morning - the first day. Genesis 1:1-5
God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it and it was so. God called the expanse "sky". There was evening and there was morning - the second day. Genesis 1:6-8
God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place and let dry ground appear" and it was so. God called the dry ground "land" and the gathered waters he called "seas". God saw that it was good. Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it according to their various kinds" and it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning - the third day. Genesis 1:9-13
God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth" and it was so. God made two great lights, the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night and to separate light from darkness. God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning - the fourth day.
God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems according to their kinds and every winged bird according to its kind. God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas and let the birds increase on the earth." There was evening and there was morning - the fifth day. Genesis 1:20-23
God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground and wild animals, each according to its kind" and it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. God saw that it was good. Then God said, "Let us make man in our image and in our likeness. Let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground." God created man in his own image. In the image of God, he created him. Male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number. Fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Then God said, "I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. To all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground, everything that has the breath of life in it, I give every green plant for food" and it was so. God saw all that he had made and it was very good. There was evening and there was morning - the sixth day. Genesis 1:24-31
Thus, the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day, God had finished the work he had been doing. So on the seventh day, he rested from all his work. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2:1-3
There is a lot of debate about how long biblical creation took. If people would read Genesis chapter one, they would know. Scripture makes it clear, God called the light 'day' and the darkness he called 'night'. There was evening and there was morning. Creation took six twenty-four hour days.