Before and after The Origin of Species, people believed in spontaneous generation. In 1860, a year after Darwin wrote his famous book, Louis Pasteur proved to the world that spontaneous generation was not possible. Life cannot come from non-life. An animal cannot come from an inanimate object.
On our planet, over six hundred million different species exist. Evolution’s “faith statement” says that all species came from one simple, single cell. In contrast, creation’s “faith statement” says that God created the extensive variety of life.
The Scriptures state emphatically,
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made so that people are without excuse. (Rom. 1:20)
God created various plants, animals, and species in a harmonic balance to reflect His attributes and character. When you look into the stars, the consistency and orderliness of the galaxies provide evidence of His existence. God created balance and beauty. Our planet is perfectly held in rotation between the gravitational pull of the sun and Jupiter. Jupiter’s size with its strong gravity attracts large rocks and keeps them from striking earth. The size of our moon keeps our planet in perfect tilt. The earth occupies a rare and unique place in all the universe where life can actually happen.
God did all of this so we would know He is the God of wisdom, intelligence, beauty, harmony, and eternity.
Long before people had telescopes, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit led the psalmist to write,
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world. (Ps. 19:1–4)
Our world is an absolutely amazing place. Is this complex planet with beauty, balance, variety, and ecosystems a result of random chance, or does the evidence point to a grand design and therefore a Designer?
Question 4: Which theory best explains our most recent scientific discoveries?
I honestly think Darwinian evolution was a lot easier to believe prior to scientific advances in the late twentieth century. However, as technology has given us new insight into what was formerly invisible, Darwin’s own words refute his theory:
If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.1
When Darwin wrote The Origin of Species in 1859 and he looked at a cell through his microscope, he could not see what we are able to see today. Darwin, after all, had access to a microscope that would multiply only two to three hundred times. The cell seemed so uncomplicated when he looked at it through his microscope. In fact, Darwin himself used the word “simple” to describe single-cell organisms.
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.3
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.
The complexity of the cell is amazing, but let’s dig even deeper. We know that DNA is contained within every cell. DNA is like the software of the cell, the computer program that makes it work. In fact, if you took a teaspoon and filled it to the top with this DNA, your teaspoon could contain the precise instructions to build every single species of organism that has ever existed on the planet, estimated at six hundred to one thousand million species. That is a lot of information in this one little teaspoon.
When you were still the size of a dot in your mother’s womb, if it were possible to go in and remove your DNA and uncoil it, it would have been six feet tall. Your DNA would have encoded on it precise instructions for piecing together every part of your body. From your six hundred muscles to your two million optic nerves, to your one hundred billion nerve cells. Isn’t that awesome? In fact, if the genetic information and DNA in a microscopic single-cell organism was spelled out in English, it would equal the whole volume of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Today’s technological advances allow us to store incredible amounts of information. I am going to date myself, but I remember in college using microfiche. We thought it was really cool, and oh boy, can you imagine all this information on this little thing? Now I’ve got five thousand songs on my iPod, or I can stream almost any song I want to listen to. Compared to the DNA that God put in our bodies and every living thing, that is miniscule.
World-class expert in the chemistry of DNA Robert Shapiro was asked what he thought the chances were that DNA could have been formed by a random process. His answer: “None. It’s absolute nonsense.” Dr. Francis Crick, who shared the Nobel Prize for discovering DNA, said that he is convinced that life could not have ever evolved from non-living matter on the earth. This observation is not from a creationist or a Christian, but an atheist scientist looking objectively at the data.4
If we’re going to be objective and really look at the data, the research, and the evidence, we’ll find that the genius and the complexity of a single cell and DNA challenge the very core presuppositions of classic evolutionary thought.
In fact, the evolution of DNA is unbelievable. It is not its mere existence, but its staggering complexity. It’s the divine computer program demonstrating that there must have been a Programmer.
Ingram, Chip. 2017. Why I Believe: Straight Answers to Honest Questions about God, the Bible, and Christianity. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker.
We have just completed a 6-Week Bible Study Lesson Series on Chip Ingram’s book, Why I Believe. It is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions, as well as part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription plan. The idea is to invite each participant to purchase their own book and discuss it each week.
Why I Believe, Lesson #1
Chapters 1, 2
Why I Believe in the Resurrection
Did Jesus Really Die?
Why I Believe, Lesson #2
Chapters 3, 4
Why I Believe the Bible
Don’t Take My Word for It
Why I Believe, Lesson #3
Why I Believe in Life After Death
Why I Believe, Lesson #4
Chapters 6, 7
Why I Believe in Life Creation
Science or God?
Why I Believe, Lesson #5
Why I Believe in the God of the Bible
Why I Believe, Lesson #6
How is that Working for You?