Could a mindless cosmic force have randomly (i.e., by pure chance) caused the formation of all types of life? Could even the most elementary of living organisms have randomly evolved from some inanimate source? Could elementary organisms with no brains have randomly evolved into intelligent life, most notably human beings?
In this article we will focus primarily on the credibility of evolutionary theory, which claims that intelligent life, including humans, evolved from lower forms of life, the most elementary of which are alleged to have initially evolved from inanimate matter.
The Transformation from Inanimate to Animate
On page 92 of his book entitled The Case for Faith, Lee Strobel says with regard to the theory of evolution, “Darwin’s theory presupposes that nonliving chemicals, if given the right amount of time and circumstances, could develop by themselves into living matter.”
With regard to the chemical composition of the human body, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia provides the following assessment:
Almost 99% of the mass of the human body is made up of six elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. Only about 0.85% is composed of another five elements: potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium. All 11 are necessary for life. The remaining elements are trace elements, of which more than a dozen are thought on the basis of good evidence to be necessary for life.
This raises the question as to what the probability is that all of the necessary chemicals could, by chance alone, come together in the right proportions to bring a fully functioning human being into existence?
Walter Bradley, Ph.D., on page 101 of Strobel’s previously mentioned book, notes that there was not a sufficiently long interval between the time the earth cooled to the right temperature and the time that evolutionists argue was when life first emerged. He goes on to say,
[T]he mathematical odds of assembling a living organism are so astronomical that nobody still believes that random chance accounts for the origin of life. Even if you optimized the conditions, it wouldn’t work. If you took all the carbon in the universe and put it on the face of the earth, allowed it to chemically react at the most rapid rate possible, and left it for a billion years, the odds of creating just one functional protein molecule would be one chance in a 10 with 60 zeroes after it.
According to Wikipedia, the self-proclaimed biggest multilingual free-content encyclopedia on the Internet, “the total number of non-bacterial species in the world has been estimated at 8.7 million. . . .” If the odds of creating just one functional protein molecule would be one chance in a 10 with 60 zeroes after it, as Bradley has stated, what would be the chance of creating 8.7 million non-bacterial species? And there are also other factors to consider.
John MacArthur, the President of The Master’s College and Seminary, raises the following questions on page 32 of his book entitled The Battle for the Beginning: “How could life, self-consciousness, and rationality evolve from inanimate, inorganic matter? Who designed the many complex and interdependent organisms and sophisticated ecosystems we observe? Where did intelligence originate?”
Then, on page 98 of the same book, MacArthure says,
As author and biochemist Michael Behe has pointed out, evolution can deal only with “systems that are already working.” By definition, that which does not function simply cannot “evolve.” It is therefore impossible for inanimate matter to produce biological systems by “evolution.”
In Scientific Creationism, a book edited by Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., the following argument is made on page 46:
No doubt one of the most difficult stages in the evolutionary process would be the transition from non-life to life, from non-replicating chemicals to self-replicating systems. Nevertheless, if the evolution model is valid, this transition must have occurred, and it must have occurred by natural processes which can be explained in terms of the same laws of nature which operate today.
That being true, it should be expected as a basic prediction from the evolution model that the processes themselves still operate today and therefore that the evolution of life from non-life also is taking place today. When empirical observations show that evolution is not occurring today, then the evolution model must be modified with another secondary assumption, namely, that there were different conditions in the earth’s primeval atmosphere and hydrosphere than those which exist at present.
Paul Little, on page 12 of his book entitled Know Why You Believe, states that experiments have shown that “life never arises except from life. . . . But since it is a conclusion that seems to lead back to some supernatural creative act, it is a conclusion that scientific men find very difficult to accept.”
The Transformation of an Existing Species into a New Species
With regard to the evolution of one species of life into a new species, MacArthur asserts on page 134 of his previously mentioned book,
Science has never observed, and never will observe, the evolution of one species into a new life form. That is a genetic impossibility.
Every living thing has a complex code, stored in its DNA . . . that determines its fundamental characteristics. The DNA code is analogous to a computer’s program. DNA contains the information that enables the organism to reproduce, preserve, and repair itself. The genetic structure of every living organism limits that organism to what it is – no more, and no less. There is no genetic information that can enable an organism to transform itself into something it is not.
Subsequently, on page 136 of the same book, MacArthur asserts,
[E]ach living organism has been programmed differently, and the genetic program is what determines the appearance, composition, size, and function not only of the creature itself but also of every organ and even every individual cell that makes up the larger organism.
Where did this genetic information come from? It certainly didn’t come out of nowhere. It should be obvious to all that it didn’t just fall into place by accident or by random chance.
What about mutations? We know that genes sometimes mutate. Changes occur in the DNA structure that cause changes in the appearance of creatures. Could a series of random mutations explain how one species evolves into another?
Certainly not. Mutations can alter or destroy existing information in an organism’s genetic code, but they cannot add new information. Mutations are genetic mistakes. They can cause a form of evolution, known as microevolution, where the characteristics of a species are slightly altered. Different breeds of dogs and different families of horses are products of microevolution. But genetic mistakes cannot explain macroevolution, the theoretical process by which a whole new species is formed.
Genetic information giving a species complex new abilities, such as wings to fly or gills to breathe underwater, would be far too complex to be explained by random mutation.
Likewise, Allen Bowman, Ph.D., declares on page 83 of his book entitled Is the Bible True?,
Science cannot point to a single proved case of a species developing out of another distinct species. On the contrary, the one most striking fact about all species of life is their unalterable tendency to breed true to form. The development of different varieties within a species . . . is something within an entirely different category. We are speaking of species, not of varieties. Evolution is very far from being a proven fact.
Then, on pages 84-85 of the same book, Bowman states,
The difficulty with [the] naturalistic explanation of things is that it leaves great gaps. . . . Evolution cannot explain . . . the tendency of species to reproduce true to form; of the exquisite adaptation of means to ends which alone makes life possible on this planet. There is the gap between the inanimate and the animate: evolution cannot explain how life began. There is the gap between the lower animals and man: evolution cannot explain the origin of human intelligence. . . . The difficulty with evolution is that it leaves out of the picture the one factor that must be there if we are to have any real explanation of the universe – the factor of intelligence.
Gleason L. Archer, on page 57 of his book entitled Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, says there is “no evidence whatever that any ‘lower’ species phased into the next ‘higher’ species by any sort of internal dynamic, as evolution demands.” Archer goes on to state on page 62,
It is interesting to observe that the fossil-bearing strata . . . contain the first evidence of invertebrate animal life with startling suddenness in the Cambrian period. There is no indication in the pre-Cambrian strata of how the five thousand species of marine and terrestrial animal life . . . may have developed, for there is no record of them whatever prior to the Cambrian levels. . . .
Basil Atkinson, Ph.D., on page 47 his book entitled Is the Bible True? (the same title as Bowman’s book), declares, “If the evolution theory were true, thousands of intermediate species, that is to say, of missing links, must have been found in a fossilized condition in the rocks. But none have been found.”
On pages 69-70 of Scientific Creationism, Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., asserts,
[T]here are many similarities between different kinds of plants and animals, and evolutionists have interpreted these as evidence of common ancestry. Creationists, on the other hand, interpret the same similarities as evidence of common creative planning and design. The evolutionist has to assume all such characteristics have developed by chance mutations and natural selection. Creationists explain them as structures designed by the Creator for specific purposes, so that when similar purposes were involved, similar structures were created.
If the cat and dog evolved from a common ancestor in the same environment by the same process, how did they ever get to be different? It would seem there ought rather to be an integrated series of animals between cats and dogs, so that one could never tell where “cats” stop and “dogs” begin.
Subsequently, on page 72 of his same book, Morris declares,
If an evolutionary continuum existed, as the evolution model should predict, there would be no gaps, and thus it would be impossible to demark specific categories of life. Classification requires not only similarities, but differences and gaps as well, and these are much more amenable to the creation model.
Assessments of Evolutionary Theory
Strobel says on pages 90 and 91 of his aforementioned book,
More and more biologists, biochemists, and other researchers – not just Christians – have raised serious objections to evolutionary theory in recent years, claiming that its broad inferences are sometimes based on flimsy, incomplete, or flawed data.
In other words, what looks at first blush like an airtight scientific case for evolution begins to unravel upon closer examination. New discoveries . . . have prompted an increasing number of scientists to contradict Darwin by concluding that there was an Intelligent Designer behind the creation and development of life.
Everyone concedes that evolution is true to some extent. Undeniably, there are variations within species of animals and plants. . . . This is called “micro-evolution.”
But Darwin’s theory goes much further than that, claiming that life began millions of years ago with simple single-cell creatures and then developed through mutation and natural selection into the vast array of plant and animal life that populate the planet. . . . Scientists call this more controversial theory ‘macro-evolution.”
Initially troubling to me was the paucity of fossil evidence for the transitions between various species of animals. Even Darwin conceded that the lack of these fossils “is perhaps the most obvious and serious objection” to his theory. . . .
And, Strobel states on page 92 of his previously mentioned book that the fossil record shows “there is the sudden appearance of nearly all the animal phyla, and they appear fully formed, ‘without a trace of the evolutionary ancestors that Darwinists require.’ It’s a phenomenon that points more readily toward a Creator than Darwinism.” Strobel then notes,
In his book Origin of Species, Darwin also admitted: “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, then my theory would absolutely break down.” . . . Behe’s award-winning book Darwin’s Black Box showed how recent biochemical discoveries have found numerous examples of this very kind of “irreducible complexity.”
Clark Pinnock, on page 113 of his book entitled Set Forth Your Case, says,
Scientifically the concept of evolution has almost outworn its usefulness. So many inner contradictions have been pointed out that the hypothesis has ceased to be helpful. . . . [N]o scientist has come anywhere near demonstrating an unbroken line of evolution with any certainty.
Morris states on page 8 of his previously cited book, “There are literally thousands of scientists and other educated intellectuals today who reject evolution, and this would certainly not be the case if evolution were as obvious as many scientists say it is.”
On page 88 of his book entitled Life Itself: Its Origin and Nature, Francis Crick, a co-discoverer of DNA makes the following admission:
An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.
Nathan Busenitz says on page 45 of his book entitled Reasons We Believe,
None other than Bill Gates has compared the information in DNA to a software program much more complex than anything human beings have ever developed. We would never conclude that a Microsoft program came into existence without a designer. So why would we think this about DNA?
And, Bradley makes the following statements on pages 108, 109, and 110 of Strobel’s aforementioned book:
I think people who believe that life emerged naturalistically need to have a great deal more faith than people who reasonably infer that there’s an Intelligent Designer.
Many [scientists] have reached that conclusion.
[W]hat I’ve found is absolutely overwhelming evidence that points toward an Intelligent Designer.
The evidence is compelling. “[C]ompelling” says you have to really work hard not to get that conclusion.
Each cell in the human body contains more information than in all thirty volumes of the Encyclopaedia [sic] Britannica. It’s certainly reasonable to make the inference that this isn’t the random product of unguided nature, but it’s the unmistakable sign of an Intelligent Designer.
Adam and Eve
Some people may question whether or not Adam and Eve were actually the first humans from whom all other humans have descended. In this regard, Norman Geisler, Ph.D., and Thomas Howe, M.A., state on pages 31-32 of their book entitled When Critics Ask,
There is good evidence to believe that Adam and Eve were real persons. First, Genesis 1-2 presents them as actual persons and even narrates the important events in their lives. . . . Second, they gave birth to literal children who did the same. . . . Third, the same phrase (“this is the history of”), used to record later history in Genesis (6:9; 9:12; 10:1, 32; 11:10, 27; 17:7, 9), is used of Adam and Eve (Gen. 5:1). Fourth, later OT chronologies place Adam at the top of the list (1 Chron. 1:1). Fifth, the NT places Adam at the beginning of Jesus’ literal ancestors (Luke 3:38). Sixth, Jesus referred to Adam and Eve as the first literal “male and female,” making their physical union the basis of marriage (Matt. 19:4). Seventh, Romans [the biblical book] declares that literal death was brought into the world by a literal “Adam” (Rom. 5:14). Eighth, the comparison of Adam (the “first Adam”) with Christ (the “last Adam”) in 1 Corinthians 15:45 manifests that Adam was understood as a literal, historical person. Ninth, Paul’s declaration that “Adam was formed first, then Eve” (1 Tim. 2:13-14) reveals that he speaks of a real person. Tenth, logically there had to be a first real set of human beings, male and female, or else the race would have had no way to begin.
But, what about the scientific evidence which indicates that humanlike beings lived many thousands of years before Adam and Eve? Bowman, on pages 90-91 of his previously mentioned book, suggests,
There is [a] possibility which is worth considering even though it so startles many Bible readers that they are inclined to reject it out of hand: the possibility of a pre-Adamite race of hominids. By “hominids” we mean a species of manlike creatures distinct from the human race. We do not use the term in the sense of missing links between animals and men as do [some] historians.
Most people instinctively think of any race of pre-Adamites as identical with our own race and so consider the idea to be out of accord with Bible teaching as a whole. Careful definition of terms is essential, and this theory posits hominids as a distinct species.
Thus, it can be argued that the humanlike beings that lived before Adam and Eve were not actually humans. In this regard, Archer states on page 64 of his previously cited book,
If we examine the biblical record carefully, we must recognize that when God created Adam and Eve in His own image (Gen. 1:27), He breathed something of His own Spirit into them (Gen. 2:7) in a way that He had not done to any previous order of creation.
There may have been advanced and intelligent hominids who lived and died before Adam, but they were not created in the image of God. This is the line of distinction to which God’s word commits us, and it is here that we must reject any interpretation of pale anthropological data that supposes that a skeletal resemblance establishes that pre-Adamic anthropoids were true human beings in the biblical sense of the term.
Roger R. Nicole and J. Ramsey Michaels, on pages 158-159 of their book entitled Inerrancy and Common Sense, assert: “[T]he conceptions of human origins as presented by Genesis and by anthropology, when both are properly understood, are not in contradiction, but form a complementary whole.” [Note: According to Webster’s Dictionary, anthropology, teaches about the origin, nature, and destiny of humans, especially from the perspective of their relation to God.]
Although it may be possible to reconcile the story of the creation of humans, as recorded in the biblical book of Genesis, with the science of anthropology, it does not seem possible to reconcile macroevolution (the theoretical process by which an entirely new species is formed) and the biblical account of creation. Because the information we have presented indicates that much – and, perhaps, most – of the evidence in support of macroevolution is not credible, the biblical account that God created all the basic kinds of intelligent life should be given serious consideration as a plausible alternative.
We conclude that more faith is required to believe that the higher forms of life, particularly human life, are the result of pure chance, rather than to believe that an Intelligent Designer (i.e., God) created everything. [For additional reasons to believe in the existence of God, see the Appendix that immediately follows and/or click on “Evidence that God Exists.”]
The Human Genome
Although scientists believe that there are 20-25 thousand human genes, they estimate that there are three billion pairs of genes in the human genome, according to an article on the National Human Genome Research Institute website (https://www.genome.gov/human-genome-project/Completion-FAQ). That article states,
A genome is an organism’s complete set of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), a chemical compound that contains the genetic instructions needed to develop and direct the activities of every organism. DNA molecules are made of two twisting, paired strands. Each strand is made of four chemical units, called nucleotide bases. The bases are adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G) and cytosine (C).
The human genome contains approximately 3 billion of these base pairs, which reside in the 23 pairs of chromosomes within the nucleus of all our cells. Each chromosome contains hundreds to thousands of genes, which carry the instructions for making proteins.
So, what is the probability that these three billion pairs of genes could come together by pure chance to form a human being? Presumably, the odds against such an occurrence would be so astronomical as to make it virtually impossible. And, if chance can be ruled out, then a Creator (i.e., God) is the only logical explanation as to how human beings came into existence.