Author: Ron Graham
The Origin of Life on Earth
—Why it's a puzzle to science
How did life arise on planet earth? This question has tested the wisdom of human beings down through the ages.
Scientists of the 21st Century probably know more about natural life than people knew in times past. However even today scientists are still a long way from discovering (by their own sciences) how life originated.
It's not easy to formulate a theory of life's origins that gives rise to testable predictions —especially if your theory insists that all life came from a single “simple” organism formed naturally from stuff without life.
A theory with that constraint produces serious puzzles. However, if a theory allows for Earth’s original life to have comprised numerous complex organisms formed by supernatural intelligence, the puzzles don't arise.
I will mention three of the puzzles and show how Genesis chapter one reveals the answers.
1 Non-living Matter to Living Creature
Genesis 1:3, “and God said”
First Puzzle: How did the first organism form by natural processes? Genesis says that didn't happen. Rather, descriptions of the first life on earth are prefaced with the words, "and God said..." (Genesis 1:3,11,20,24,26).
All worlds, including our world and the life in it, came into being "by the word of God" (Hebrews 11:3, 2Peter 3:5).
In nature, non-living matter can change from chaos to order —water forming into ice crystals for example. But even the simplest living thing is thousands of times more organized, and contains within itself a very complex encoded information system that tells it how to grow and reproduce.
The richest conceivable mix of materials and natural forces appears quite insufficient to account for such an organism’s origin. Genesis accounts for it in three words: "and God said..."
2 One Kind of Creature to Many Kinds
Genesis 1:11, “after its kind”
Second Puzzle: What causes and sustains the development of one kind1 of organism into another? Genesis says that doesn't happen. God made many different life forms, each "after its kind" (Genesis 1:10-11,21,24).
Paul says, "All flesh is not the same; there is one flesh of men, another of beasts, another of birds, another of fish" (1Corinthians 15:39). Those are some major divisions of life within which, Genesis says, there were distinctly different and original kinds.
In nature, as a certain kind of organism multiplies, the individuals exhibit variations which may be passed down to their progeny. So through numerous generations there can arise notable variations of the same kind of organism. This is true for bugs, owls, horses, and you-name-it.
The variations however are derived from information passed down from the original ancestor and are therefore restrained by how much information that original organism possessed. If all creatures that exist descended from one original organism, what impossibly vast information it must have contained!
Genesis solves this puzzle in three words; it accounts for the various kinds of creatures by saying that each was made separately in the beginning "after its kind".
3 Creatures Reproducing Themselves
Genesis 1:11-12, “seed in itself”
Third Puzzle: Eggs come from chickens and chickens from eggs; fruit trees come from seed and seed from the fruit. This cycle doesn't have a “Start Here” sign, so how did it ever get started?
Genesis says that didn't happen. An original organism already had its "seed in itself" (Genesis 1:11-12). Fruit trees (or chickens) didn't have to develop this cycle; it was installed, whole and running, in their original ancestors.
Paul says, "What you sow is not the “body” that is to be, but a bare grain, wheat or maybe something else. But God gives it a “body” just as he wished, and to each of the seeds a “body” of its own" (1Corinthians 15:37-38).
In nature, most of the more complicated organisms procreate by producing a seed or egg which another of them can fertilize. From the seed or egg there emerges a reproduction of themselves —including its own coded information system, derived from theirs, which guides its growth.
In turn, it produces a seed or egg and the cycle continues. Again, how did this cycle come into being? Genesis anwers this in three words; it says that an original organism had its "seed in itself"
Note:— After Its Kind. In this article, the word “kind” is not used in any special scientific sense, but simply to mean a distinct type of creature. For example dingoes, wolves, and foxes, might tentatively be regarded as variations belonging to one kind, or perhaps each itself is a distinct kind.