All Darwin saw when he looked through the microscope was a roundish mass surrounded by a membrane with a semi-liquid fluid. I remember reading in my school textbooks and seeing statements that declared the inside of the nucleus held nothing but clear fluid. Thanks to today’s more powerful microscopes, we know that a single-cell organism, the most basic unit of any living thing, is incredibly complex.
In fact, it’s so complicated that the greatest computers can’t fully understand it, and creating cellular models has been a very challenging task. Some cells are so small that you need to use an electron microscope just to see them. They are small . . . very small. Small enough to fit 150,000 cells on the tip of a strand of hair.
Today molecular scientists describe a single cell as a high-tech factory. They are complete with artificial languages and decoding systems. They have central memory banks that store and retrieve impressive amounts of information. They have precise control systems that regulate the automatic assembly of the components and proofreading, quality-control mechanisms that safeguard against errors. They have assembly systems that use principles of prefabrication and modular construction. Can you imagine that all happening inside one little cell?
Cells also have a complete replication system that allows the organism to duplicate itself with bewildering speed. Charles Darwin was clearly wrong. A living cell, far from being simple, is one of the most amazing and complex things on the earth.
As I studied the scientific evidence of how a cell actually functions, it poked huge holes in my passive acceptance of the evolution I was taught in school.
Consider a simple illustration of the Law of Chance, provided by Abraham Cressy Morrison, chemist and president of the New York Academy of Sciences, in his book Man Does Not Stand Alone:
Suppose you take ten pennies and mark them from 1 to 10. Put them in your pocket and give them a good shake. Now try to draw them out in sequence from 1 to 10, putting each coin back in your pocket after each draw.
Your chance of drawing No. 1 is 1 to 10. Your chance of drawing 1 and 2 in succession is 1 in 100. Your chance of drawing 1, 2 and 3 in succession would be one in a thousand. Your chance of drawing 1, 2, 3 and 4 in succession would be one in 10,000 and so on, until your chance of drawing from No. 1 to No. 10 in succession would reach the unbelievable figure of one chance in 10 billion. The object in dealing with so simple a problem is to show how enormously figures multiply against chance.2
Now let’s look at what must happen in one single cell for life to be viable.
A simple cell would need a vast number of parts. At least two hundred and thirty-nine protein molecules each containing four hundred and forty-five amino acids, all of which are made up of ten to twenty atoms. Of the hundreds of amino acids, only twenty are used in proteins. And they can’t simply float around randomly.
In order for a protein to function, all four hundred and forty-five of them must be lined up in a single line in perfect, sequential order. For a single cell to spring to life, four hundred and forty-five amino acids would have to accidentally line up perfectly. Not once, but two hundred and thirty-nine times to form twenty-nine proteins to make a living cell.
What I quoted here is what science has observed. These are facts of how life and a single cell actually look. This is why a number of non-Christian scientists today look at the evidence and say this can’t happen by chance, no matter how many billions of years are added to the equation.
Chip Ingram, Why I Believe: Straight Answers to Honest Questions about God, the Bible, and Christianity (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2017).