A Christian Perspective on the Origin of Life: Part 1
Today I am making my first installment on the subject of the origin of life from a Christian perspective. Due to the enormity of the subject I have decided to make a series of it so as to deal, in depth with the scientific, archeological and historical evidence. I approach this subject with great care so as to not compromise the truth in order to please the masses. There are many who have done so; seeking to appeal to ‘the other side of the aisle’ so to speak. They have twisted and tweaked the evidence or embraced that which they know to be false in order to not rock the boat. But it is interesting that just as in politics; the ‘other side’ makes no concessions, has no intention of making concessions and yields to no offers of a ‘deal’ but rather stands firm in its assertions. Therefore I must also stand firm in the convictions that I have embraced as true and will do to the end, God willing.
Before I begin to tackle the subject at hand I must clear the air concerning a statement that has been made concerning the Christian view of life. It has been stated that “Christians have made the extraordinary claim and it is up to the Christians to explain themselves. Christians must supply the evidence to back up their truth-claims. Evolutionists are excluded from this.” They would say that the evidence is in as far as they are concerned. There is no further need of debate on their side. Now is this right? Is all the evidence in? Has the “Theory of Evolution” been declared fact by overwhelming evidence or are there holes in the evidence? Should one side be given a pass while demanding the other side to bend over backwards and defend their position? This is where many stand today.
So in our first installment I would like for us to consider a summary of the two positions and see who has the most extraordinary/fantastical position!
Christians, taking the Bible as their rule of faith and practice (and I’m talking about real Christians, not those who merely attend church for whatever reason other than because they love God and have been called according to His purpose) believe the Genesis account of Creation: that God (and real Christians really believe there is such a Being who has made Himself known through what has been made) spoke, and the universe was created with all of the planets and stars and galaxies etc. He then spoke and by the power of His word life arose in all of its manifold forms. Christians believe that God spoke and made mankind and that He did so one time; that is, He didn’t make a lower form of man and then continue to improve upon it till what we see today is the product of this evolutionary process. We believe that God didn’t make prototypes but instead made man right the first time. So the Christian sees God as the catalyst, the Creator of all things.
The evolutionary viewpoint, which I will say that I held for much of my early life, is the Big Bang Theory and the ramifications thereof. Let’s examine this process and I will be drawing from my memory from science class in High School. As I recall, at first (and this was somewhere around 5 billion years ago) there was nothing…then some gas appeared and began to swirl around…soon there were many of these gaseous swirls as they continued to split kind of like cells in the body. The gas swirled faster and faster and dust particles began to form in the gas. As the friction increased the gas and dust particles slowly solidified into molten masses. These molten masses then began to slow down and cool while atmospheres began to take shape around them. During this cooling process, condensation from the heat began to form clouds in the newly formed atmosphere which dropped down rain, further cooled the earth and formed the oceans, lakes and streams while geologic upheavals resulted in the vast mountain ranges that we see today.
Then, and this was according to my science book, a simple form of life began to form around the shallow eddies of the ocean. These single celled creatures began to multiply and metamorphosis occurred as they grew into many different forms, very primitive at first and then gradually more and more complex. This evolutionary process took billions of years to accomplish as single celled creatures took on more complex forms; from the amoeba to the age of reptiles, then to the age of mammals, continuing to very primitive man and then to man as we know him today. There are those who declare that man is still evolving and that we are looking to see Homo sapien, sapien or a more advanced form of man.
I must mention some of the other theories concerning the origin of these simple cells which evolved into what we see and know today. Some scientists postulate that they were formed when lightning struck a mud puddle. Others speak of these simple cells arriving on the backs of crystals, while Francis Crick believed they were deposited here by alien life forms. Professor Dawkins echoed a form of this theory when he stated, (and he prefaced his statement with “No one really knows for sure”) that life could have come from some alien life forms which had arisen through the Darwinian evolutionary process into an advanced race. These aliens may have deposited some self-replicating cells here on earth and these cells began to multiply and take the many forms of life that we see and know today. And so we see that this view begins with nothing, from which something appears. That ‘something’ is completely arbitrary; self created, (unless you hold to aliens depositing life on this planet) self-replicating and self governing. Those life forms which are strong survive and those which are weaker die to make room for more advanced and sturdy ones.
Now of course there are variants to both views of the origin of life. As far as the ‘Christian’ perspective is concerned, (and I say ‘Christian’ loosely here) there are all kinds of compromise ‘solutions’ meant to appease the evolutionary crowd. We have the Theistic Evolutionary Theory which states that God exists and it was He who deposited self replicating cells (replacing the aliens) and then He stepped back (Deism) to watch what happened. There is the Day Age Theory which declares that each day of creation lasted millions to billions of years thus once again seeking to appease the evolutionists and substantiate their claims. The Gap Theory is interesting in that it postulates that verses 1 and 2 of Genesis speak of a ‘first creation’ and that verse 3 begins a second creation; the first having been wiped out. My perception is that all of these views have been postulated by Cino’s (Christians in name only) who care nothing for the Bible, who in fact deny the Scriptural record in order to:
a. Make a name for themselves. b. Try to bring both sides together c. Who knows?
Now the similarities of both views are interesting. Both declare that at one point there was nothing…though the Christian viewpoint includes the existence of God in this nothingness. Both declare that life began at a point in time although the evolutionary view states that life began simply and then evolved into more and more complex forms while the Christian view declares that God made all things exactly as He desired and declared them to be ‘very good.’
Both views conclude therefore that life does exist (unless of course you are a philosopher who can’t decide what living is or what thoughts are or whatever else he can throw into the mix.) Thanks to Wintermute for directing me to Professor Theobald, I can also include that both sides believe that life came from one original species. The difference of course is that Christians believe that these original species were created by God while those who hold to the Theory of Evolution believe in an original species which evolved into the myriad of life forms (or Moderne Organisms per Professor Theobald) that we see today. The Christian view is that Adam and Eve were the first humans, created by God and told to fill the earth while the evolutionist view would be that humans evolved from these first simple life forms.
So in summary; both sides can agree that single celled organisms exist, that Dinosaurs and Wooly Mammoths and the like walked the earth at a point in time and that human beings and multiple forms of animals exist today. What we don’t agree on is the origin of these life forms or the length of time or the reason some species continue while others fail. While those who hold the Darwinian approach speak of billions of years necessary to achieve complex life forms, the Christian, taking the Bible for his guide and doing the math, would come to the conclusion that the world is around six thousand years old or so; give or take a few years.
This is the end of the first installment as I have sought merely to set the table with the basic foundational truths of each viewpoint. I have not sought to critisize either view but to give a very brief summary of the beliefs held by each. As you can see, both positions make quite fantastic declarations. The question is; who is right, who is wrong? Let the evidence, rather than emotions speak. A note for the atheists; I haven’t quoted one bible passage as of yet. Next week I will begin to examine the archeological evidence concerning both views of the origin of the earth as well as the evidence concerning the origin of man and animals. I believe it will be quite fascinating!