“Then God said, ‘Let the waters below and the Heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear’; and it was so (1:9). And God called the dry land Earth and the gathering of the waters, He called seas; and God saw that it was good (1:10). Then God said ‘Let the Earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with seed in them, on the Earth’; and it was so (1:11). And the Earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind and trees bearing fruit, with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good (1:12). And there was evening and there was morning, a third day” (1:13).
“Then God said ‘Let there be light in the expanse of the Heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be four signs, and four seasons, and four days and years (1:14); and let them be for lights in the expanse of the Heavens to give light on the Earth’; and it was so (1:15). And so God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also (1:16). And God placed them in the expanse of the Heavens to give light on the Earth (1:17), and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good (1:18). And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day” (1:19).
Introduction: God’s third and fourth creation days include the creation of the continents, the first single celled and multi-celled plant life and the clearing of the Earth’s atmosphere to allow the Sun’s light and star light to become clearly visible for the first time on the Earth’s surface. Like God’s first and second creation days, His third and fourth creation days reveal seven proofs of His creation.
First, amongst all the world’s creation accounts, the Bible uniquely proclaims that God created the Earth’s continents of dry land from the oceans. Until the 20th Century, believers had only their faith to defend this claim. Yet, during the 20th Century, scientists confirmed that the Earth was once covered in oceans, and the Earth’s continents rapidly arose from these oceans, just as the Bible claims. Second, amongst the creation accounts, the Bible also uniquely proclaims that planet-like matter preceded animals and humans. For Centuries, believers had nothing but their faith to defend this claim. Yet, during the 20th Century, scientists confirmed that the early Earth was filled with simple plant-like organisms, including bacteria and then blue green algae in the oceans. Third, the DNA common to all of life’s first organisms was also irreducibly complex at its first appearance. It also provides evidence of God’s intelligent design. DNA further appeared under hostile environmental conditions and without sufficient time for it to evolve. Fourth, the first appearance of bacteria also provides evidence of God’s intelligent design. It also defies a theory of gradual mutation. Fifth, the first appearance of protists with eukaryotic cells (organisms whose cells contain a nucleus and other organelles enclosed within the membrane) also provides evidence of God’s intelligent design. They were also irreducibly complex when they first appeared. There is also no evidence of any predecessor organisms to support a theory of evolution. Sixth, the first appearance of fully formed plants provides further evidence of God’s intelligent design. Plants appear in the fossil record in an irreducibly complex form and without any intermediate or predecessor species. This again defies any theory of gradual mutation. Finally, the Bible proclaims that God made the light of the Sun and the stars visible during His fourth creation day. Here, Moses used a special Hebrew word “asa” to indicate that the light from the Sun and stars first appeared or became visible on day four. For centuries, believers had nothing but their faith to defend this claim. Yet, during the 20th Century, scientists confirmed that the early Earth atmosphere was initially clouded with dust. This dust and the high wind speeds caused by the early Earth’s faster rotation rate blocked much of the light from the Sun and the stars. As the Earth’s rotation rate slowed because of the Moon, the light from the Sun and the stars became visible on Earth, just as the Bible proclaims. God used this long time to carefully seed the Earth with organic plant-like matter and create abundant natural resources for mankind’s later use.
Genesis 1:9-10 describes the emergence of dry land from a water-covered planet. As described in the study for days one and two, the collision of a mars-sized object with the Earth, initiated plate tectonic activity. This in turn triggered the formation of the first early supercontinent.
In the corresponding verse of Psalm 33:7, God is revealed to have “gather[ed] the waters of the sea together as a heap.” Psalm 104:6-9 also describes with amazing detail the initial coverage of the Earth with water and the subsequent emergence of dry land:
6 You covered it [the Earth] with the deep [water] as with a garment; the waters were standing above the mountains. 7 At Your rebuke they fled, at the sound of Your thunder they hurried away. 8 The mountains rose; the valleys sank down to the place which You established for them. 9 You set a boundary that they may not pass over, so that they will not return to cover the earth (Psalm 104:6-9).
Scientists have now confirmed that the Earth was in fact at one point covered by water. According to Ross: “plate tectonic activity began to transform the heavy basalts of the ocean floor into lighter rock called silicates (Silicates are essentially hydrated basalts). Because silicates are lighter than basalts, they float above basalts. In due time, enough silicates built up to rise above sea level, and at that point dry land appeared.” During the first 4 billion years of the Earth’s history, the Earth’s dry land mass grew from 0 percent of the planetary surface to 29 percent.
After two initial supercontinents formed, a third super-continent called “Pangea” (which formed .25 billion years ago) has since split into the Earth’s seven present continents. Each continent has drifted at a rate of approximately 1/2 to 1 inch per year. Ross observes that this remarkable continental drift has led to the creation of a planet with the exact optimal conditions for a life-sustaining planet:
“With almost all of the continental landmass located in the northern hemisphere and so little in the southern latitudes . . .Earth’s present orbit keeps most people closest to the Sun in the winter months. Northern latitude winters are warmer and its summers are cooler, so most of humanity avoids uncomfortable and even dangerous climatic extremes.”
“The continents, though separated by large oceans, have points of close contact with one another. These points once facilitated rapid early human migration from the region of human origin to all the continents, making global civilization possible.”
“Continents are oriented in such a way as to provide long north-south boundaries for the oceans. These boundaries help break up the jet streams so that rainfall gets more evenly distributed. Continent orientation also enhances tidal delivery of nutrients to (and removal of waste products from) the biomass-rich continental shelves.”
“The continents make up 29 percent of the Earth’s total surface area. Such a ratio of continents to oceans helps provide humanity with maximal biological resources.”
Thus, God intelligently designed the continents for our benefit. More importantly, without independently knowing the sequence of the Earth’s geological history, Moses and David both accurately described the early Earth’s transition from a water-covered planet to a mixed dry land and water-covered planet. This again shows that the Bible is a self-authenticating document. No other holy book or creation account makes these types of accurate claims thousands of years in advance. These facts verify the Apostle Paul’s claims that, “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
If you are convinced of the Bible’s accuracy, are you trusting in God’s promises for you? Are you sharing your faith with others who doubt the Bible?
In Genesis Chapter 1:11, God proclaims “‘Let the Earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with seed in them, on the Earth’; and it was so.” By proclaiming that the various plants were created with seeds in them, the Bible reveals that God created the plants to be self-sustaining and self-reproducing. The Hebrew word for “plants” is not limited to seed-bearing plants. The words “seed” “trees” and “fruit” have much more specific meaning in English than in Hebrew. According to Ross: “The Hebrew nouns used here, zera’, es and peri, mean respectively, semen or the embryos of any plant species,” “any large plant containing woody fiber” and the “food and/or embryos produced by any living thing.”
Bible scholars agree that the terms zera’ and peri could refer to any plant species that has ever existed. Ross advises that “the es includes all large plants containing cellulose and could possibly refer to all larger than microscopic plants whose fibers provide a measure of stiffness.” Thus, these verses include the first single and multicellular planet life to appear in the oceans.
The appearance of plant-like life, including bacteria and blue green algae in the oceans, is again confirmation of the Bible's accuracy. No other holy book can make similar claims about the order in which things appeared upon the Earth.
God further had a special purpose in seeding the Earth with bacteria, blue green algae, and other plant-like organisms before any other creatures. As Ross explains, God carefully seeded the Earth with things that would later benefit mankind:
For humanity to be provided with an abundance of limestone, marble, ozone, oxygen, water, top soil, coal, oil, gas, salt, phosphate, gypsum and so on, millions of generations of life would need to predate us. Because the physical realm changes with respect to time, God apparently created different species at different times to suit the changing environment.
In other words, if early plant life, like bacteria and blue-green algae, had not existed for millions of years, the energy basis of our modern economy, oil, natural gas and coal would not exist. Every detail in the order of creation was created for a specific reason. God loved us so that He wanted to create the most comfortable life-sustaining planet possible for humans to inhabit.
God’s act of seeding the Earth with these organisms also prevented the Earth from losing its atmosphere and freezing over the way Mars did. Ross explains that carbon-dioxide easily reacts with atmospheric water to form carbonic acid. This carbonic acid quickly falls to the surface where it reacts with the crustal rocks to form carbonates. Ross concludes that if it were not for the more active rate of tectonic and volcanic activity in the early Earth’s atmosphere and the gasses created by the Earth’s first plant-like organisms, these carbonates would have leached enough carbon-dioxide and water from the atmosphere to turn this planet into a permanently frozen, arid wasteland, just like Mars.
By no mere coincidence, Ross concludes that God correctly balanced the rate of plate collision to drive surface carbonates deep underground. Heat, pressure, and chemical components deep in the crust in turn broke down the carbonate into carbon-dioxide, water, and minerals. In a perfectly balanced system, volcanos then recycled these trapped residuals back to the surface.
Moreover, the high rate of tectonic activity allowed the Earth to form three supercontinents. The third supercontinent “Pangea” separated into the present continents today. As the rate of tectonic activity has slowed, these continents have rested in their present locations, moving at a slower rate. Ross further notes that in their present locations, these continents are strategically located to obtain the greatest possible abundance of irrigated land and the greatest possible abundance of diverse life upon the planet.
Moses would have had no way of knowing that life appeared in the order described in Genesis or that early plant life would have appeared under an initially darkened Earth’s atmosphere. The amazing accuracy with which the Genesis text reveals the correct order of scientific events confirms its inerrancy.
The first appearance of self-replicating organisms is further proof of God’s intelligent design of all life on Earth (Gen. 1:11-13). Scientists have now confirmed that the hostile, early Earth atmospheric conditions should have destroyed these building blocks of DNA, which include amino acids, proteins, and RNA. The theory of “intelligent design” establishes that DNA is “irreducible complex” when it first appeared. The first organism with a replicating system could not have slowly evolved through errors in prior replicating systems. The theory of intelligent design establishes the presence of a programmer in the language of life’s first organisms.
The Darwinist’s failed belief in “biochemical predestination”. Darwinists have attempted to explain life’s first appearance on Earth without God through a process called “biochemical predestination.” This is the evolutionary belief that life could have self-assembled from early inorganic matter. In December of 1952, a University of Chicago graduate student named Stanley Miller conducted an experiment that many, for decades to come, would argue proved the possibility of the self-assembly of organic matter from inorganic matter. Russian biochemist Alexander I. Oparin developed the theory behind Miller’s experiment in 1924. Using Oparin’s theory as to the ideal atmospheric conditions which would be necessary for amino acids to spontaneously form, and assuming the early Earth atmosphere contained only these ideal gases, Miller attempted to replicate these conditions. Miller introduced ammonia (NH3), methane (CH4), water vapor (H20), and hydrogen (H2), into a sealed glass apparatus with boiling water. Miller subsequently introduced a spark to simulate an electrical charge in the early Earth’s atmosphere.
Within a few days, the water and the glass were stained with a reddish-goo. A subsequent chemical analysis revealed that the goo contained amino acids-the building blocks of protein, a prerequisite for life.
Yet, Miller’s experiment only produced a 2 percent yield of amino acid. Moreover, the experiment yielded only three of the twenty amino acids that occur naturally in proteins. While subsequent experiments produced more, no experiment has ever produced all twenty. Ignoring the limited scope of this discovery, the expression “primordial soup” quickly arose to explain the presumed origin of life on Earth through purely natural processes. Richard Dawkins used this theory in his book The Selfish Gene (Oxford University Press 1989) p.14) to assert that life must have evolved from inorganic matter. Likewise, Douglas Futuyma in his book, Science on Trial: The Case For Evolution (Sinauer Associates 1995) p. 223), cites these experiments as proof of the theory of evolution.
The late Carl Sagan, a former astronomer and leader in the search for extraterrestrial life, called Miller’s experiment “the single most significant step in convincing many scientists that life is likely to be abundant in the cosmos.” Chemist William Day described the experiment as “an experiment that broke the log jam” to show that the first step in the origin of life was not a chance event, but one that had been inevitable.
Miller’s experiment formed the basis of a theory of biochemical predestination still used by many biologists today. As noted by astronomer Harlow Shapley, Miller’s experiment “assures us of what we have suspected for a long time: that one can bridge the gap between the inanimate and animate, and that the appearance of life is essentially an automatic biochemical development that comes along naturally when physical conditions are right.”
Yet, the optimism within the scientific community for the possibility of self-organization of biotic matters from inorganic matter has since changed substantially. In July of 1999, scientific researchers from around the world gathered at the University of California at San Diego for the Seventh Annual Origins of Life Conference. This conference meets on a yearly basis to compile scientific research looking for the cause of a first appearance of life upon Earth.
After reviewing recent discoveries of the 1980's and 1990's, these researchers came to a startling conclusion: life could not have emerged upon the Earth by natural processes alone. To explain the appearance of life, these researchers have concluded that life had to have begun on another planet. Microscopic life is now theorized to have been brought to Earth by a meteorite or some other means from a life sustaining planet. The abandonment of biochemical predestination by the experts in the field of origins of Earth’s first life is arguably one of the most important scientific conclusions of the 1990's to support creation according to Genesis.
The following seven factors rule out the possibility of self-organization of living material from inorganic matter in the early Earth:
1. The compressed time scale;
2. An inhospitable early Earth’s atmosphere;
3. The hostile surface conditions;
The lack of any reason why the organic self-replicating systems would naturally self-assemble;
The statistical impossibility of the self-assembly of self-replicating organic matter under natural conditions;
The impossibility of life having naturally started on some other planet and having naturally arrived and spread on our planet from a meteorite, and
7. The intelligent design of the chemical language of DNA.
(1) The Compressed Time Scale For Life To Emerge
Alexander Oparin, whose theories Miller used in his experiments, believed life would require hundreds of millions if not billions of years to spontaneously form. In speaking of the “primeval-soup” theory and another less accepted theory called the “Cairns-Smith theory”, Richard Dawkins explains that no less than a billion years are necessary for chance processes to account for the formation of life:
[T]hose two theories postulate a particular event - the spontaneous arising of a self-replicating entity - as occurring only once in a billion years, once per eon. One and a half eons is about the time that elapsed between the origin of the Earth and the first bacteria-like fossils.
Richard Dawkins elsewhere writes, “Given infinite time, or infinite opportunities, anything is possible.” In fact, life did not have infinite time or infinite opportunities. Nor did life have even a billion years to form.
Astronomers now know that life only had between five and ten million years to spontaneously form. Through the dating of lunar craters and comparisons of craters on the Moon, Mars and Mercury, astronomers now know that the Earth and other bodies close to the Sun experienced heavy bombardment by meteorites, comets and asteroids, and dust in their early history.
Astronomers estimate that from 4.25 until 3.8 billion years ago, the bombardment of the Earth was so intense that no life could have survived. From approximately 3.8 until 3.5 billion years ago, the bombardment decreased. However, at least 30 life-exterminating impacts are estimated to have occurred during this 300 million-year period. Another preeminent advocate of modern Neo-Darwinism, Niles Eldredge, concedes, “[T]here is mounting geochemical evidence that the Earth was bombarded by many extraterrestrial objects - apparently comets - at the same time that the Moon was pockmarked by its own bombardment 3.8 billion years ago.”
Scientists have now verified that the first fully formed microorganisms appeared only 26 million years after the oceans first formed. In 2017, scientists discovered evidence of 4.28 billion years old fossilized microorganisms in hydrothermal vents near the Nuvvuagittuq Belt of Quebec. This is shortly after the first oceans formed 4.41 billion years ago and not long after the Earth formed approximately 4.54 billion years ago.
Life was also widely spread across the globe. Using the ratio of 12carbon to 13carbon found the world’s oldest Precambrian rocks in Australia, South Africa and Greenland, scientists have also now verified that a plenitude of other types of microorganisms existed between 3.5 and 3.8 billion years ago.
Comparing both the asteroidal bombardment and fossil records, astronomers estimate that life had between only 5 and 10 million years to form on its own. Although the number would appear to be a long time, it is only a brief moment in Earth’s geological history. Moreover, no advocate of biochemical predestination has ever supported the belief that life could spontaneously organize under such a short time period. Indeed, Dawkins openly concedes that no less than a billion years are necessary for a naturalistic explanation to succeed. The concession of Niles Eldredge on this is explicit, “Now, one of the most arresting facts I have ever learned is that life goes back as far in Earth’s history as we can possibly trace it.”
With such a short time span, Hugh Ross concludes that for life to spontaneously self-organize, life created from inorganic matter should be easily replicated through laboratory experiments. However, no biochemist today can manufacture from scratch a single DNA or RNA molecule or any of the more complex proteins. Dawkins himself concedes, “It is often pointed out that chemists have failed in their attempts to duplicate the spontaneous origin of life in the laboratory.”
With such a compressed time scale, no theory can explain the self-organization of inorganic material into organic material by purely natural processes. By process of elimination, life’s appearance upon the Earth can only be attributable to one source: God.
(2) The Hostile Early Earth Atmosphere
In the years following Miller’s experiment, geologists have also discovered that the early Earth atmosphere bore no resemblance to the ideal atmosphere theorized by Miller and Oparin. As stated above, those experiments required the presence of ammonia, methane, water vapor, and hydrogen. Richard Dawkins cites to the presumed existence of these elements and the absence of oxygen to assert that evolution could plausibly occur from inorganic matter:
It seems probable that the atmosphere of Earth before the coming of life was like that of other planets which are still lifeless. There was no oxygen, plenty of hydrogen and water, very likely some ammonia, methane and other simple organic gasses. Chemists know that oxygen free climates like this tend to foster the spontaneous synthesis of organic compounds. They have set up in flasks miniature reconstructions of conditions on the early Earth . . . The building blocks haven’t come together to form a self-replicating chain like RNA. Maybe one day they will.
In fact, Dawkins and other evolutionary advocates like Futuyma, Eldridge, and Gould who rely upon these assumptions have been proven wrong. Geologists have now concluded that the early Earth atmosphere contained gasses hostile to the spontaneous formation of amino acids including: carbon dioxide and nitrogen.
Even more problematic for spontaneous life theorists is the recent discovery that free oxygen existed in the early Earth’s atmosphere before the first appearance of life. Scientists have discovered various oxygenated rocks, like rusting iron, which predate the first known existence of life. Moreover, it is now known that significant levels of oxygen would have been necessary to produce the ozone necessary to shield the first biological life from harmful ultraviolet radiation. Researchers believe that oxygen appeared as a result of volcanic outgassing and the photodissociation of water vapor.
The presence of oxygen is fatal to the theories of spontaneous generation as oxygen acts as a poison preventing the formation of organic compounds. Moreover, oxidation quickly destroys any compounds that do form. By way of analogy, many food preservatives are simply substances that protect food from the effects of oxidation. Stephen Meyer concludes:
[E]ven a small amount of atmospheric oxygen will quench a production of biologically significant building blocks and cause bio molecules otherwise present to bio-degrade rapidly.
Scientists now also know that if methane was present in the Earth’s early atmosphere, as Dawkins postulates, the high concentrations of ultraviolet radiation would have converted the methane into an oil slick up to 10 meters deep. Ammonia, another important ingredient in Miller’s experiment and Dawkin’s prediction, is also destroyed with ultraviolet irradiation. Further, hydrogen, the third major component in Miller’s experiment and Dawkins’ hypothesis, cannot accumulate in any significant concentration due to its weak gravitational attraction to the Earth. Without the presence of these three critical elements, two prominent expert chemists in the field, Bradley and Thaxton, conclude:
Unfortunately, an attempt to make the building blocks of life from such an atmosphere is like the ancient Egyptians’ insistence that their Hebrew slaves make bricks without straw.
(3) The Hostile Surface Conditions
Geochemists have now also discovered that the nitrogen-rich Prebiotic soup, required for Oparian’s model and Miller’s and Dawkins’ hypotheses, did not exist. Richard Dawkins summarizes the once common view of the Prebiotic soup as follows: “The organic substances became locally concentrated, perhaps in drying scum round the shores, or in tiny droplets. Under the further influence of energy such as ultraviolet light from the sun, they combined into larger molecules. Nowadays large organic molecules would not last long enough to be noticed. They would be quickly absorbed and broken down by bacteria or other living creatures. But bacteria and the rest of us are late-comers, and in those days, large organic molecules could drift unmolested through the thickening broth.” Dawkins separately adds, “In our picture of the replicator acting as a template or mold, we supposed it to be bathed in a soup rich in the small building block molecules necessary to make copies.”
Dawkins has again been proven wrong in his assumptions. Summarizing the recent work of researchers studying the early Earth rocks, Meyer concludes that if the required amino and nucleic acid-rich ocean had existed, it would have left large deposits of nitrogen-rich minerals (nitrogenous cokes) in the metamorphosed Precambrian sedimentary rocks. With a nitrogen content less than .015 percent in these deposits, Meyer concludes:
From this we can be reasonably certain that: there never was any substantial amount of ‘primitive soup’ on Earth when Precambrian sediments were formed; if such a soup ever existed, it was only for a brief period of time.
Adding to the problems identified by Meyer, Ross notes that the various nucleotide sequences essential for building RNA and DNA molecules require radically different environmental conditions for their assembly. Cytosine and uracil require near boiling temperatures for their assembly. By contrast, adenine and guanine require near freezing temperatures for assembly. Thus, Ross concludes it would be impossible under natural conditions for all four building blocks to assemble themselves together in adequate concentrations at the same location.
Moreover, if inorganic matter could have randomly organized into amino acids, proteins, RNA, and then DNA under such hostile environmental condition and within such a short timeline, Ross notes that the extreme temperatures of the early Earth’s surface would have quickly decoupled or destroyed any randomly formed RNA molecule:
At the time of life’s origin, Earth’s surface was relatively hot, probably between 800 and 900 C (176-1940 F), with little temperature variation. That is, Earth’s surface was without any cold spots. That leaves warm temperatures where RNA nucleotide sequences to decouple. Moreover, new experimental results demonstrate that all of the RNA nucleotides themselves degrade at warm temperatures. They can last only from 19 days to 12 years. The most optimistic naturalistic hypophysis demands that they hold together for millions of years. Even at water’s freezing point, cytosine decomposes in less than 17,000 years. Outside the cell, there is no environment providing sufficient stability and protection for RNA molecules and their nucleotide (sequences) basis. This means RNA molecules cannot survive without cells while cells cannot survive without RNA. Both must be constructed simultaneously.
Leslie Orgel, a leading origin-of-life researcher, agrees that RNA could not have survived on the surface of the early Earth: “It would be a miracle if a strand of RNA ever appeared on the primitive Earth.”
Accordingly, there is no natural explanation which can account for the self-assembly of amino acids, proteins, RNA, and DNA under such hostile surface and atmospheric environmental conditions. This is especially given the short timeline for the assembly to occur.
(4) Problems Explaining the Random Self-Organization of Inorganic to Organic Matter
After Darwin published the Origin of Species in 1859, many scientists began to think about a problem that Darwin himself had not addressed, namely, why life would have arisen in the first place from inorganic matter on its own. Natural selection, or the favoring of certain traits in certain environments, presupposes an organism with a replicating system. If life first emerged from inorganic matter, the inorganic matter did not have a replicating system. Dawkins concedes the same problem with his hypothesis:
The theory of the blind watchmaker is extremely powerful given that we are allowed to assume replication and hence cumulative selection. But if replication needs complex machinery, since the only way we know for complex machinery ultimately to come into existence is cumulative selection, we have a problem.
On this point Dawkins is right. No theory of natural selection relating to the favoring of certain hereditary traits or genetic mutation can explain why inorganic matter would randomly associate into complex forms of organic matter.
Thomas Huxley, one of Darwin’s biggest promoters in the 1870's conceded on the issue of spontaneous generation “there [is] no evidence that anything of the sort [has] occurred recently.” Darwin himself conceded in an 1882 letter that there was “no evidence worth anything . . . in favor of a living being, being developed from inorganic matter”.
Nevertheless, as a matter of blind faith in natural evolution, he wrote, “Yet, I cannot avoid believing the possibility that this will be proved some day in accordance with the law of continuity.” The law of continuity of which Darwin spoke was the belief that material causes or methodological naturalism could explain the universe and all life within it. Alternatively, Darwin asked people to believe in his theory not based on scientific proof but upon a faith that it would one day be proven true. In short, Darwinism had become a faith of its own.
(5) The Statistical Impossibility of the Self-Assembly of Replicating Organic Matter
The probability of self-assembly of even the simplest living organism is, in fact, a statistically impossible event. Ross provides the following example of the mere impossibility of even the simplest life forms self-assembling:
If all the chemical bonds in the Earth’s simplest living creature were broken, the chance of its re-assembly, even under ideal environmental and chemical conditions and if no components were allowed to escape and if no foreign substances were permitted to intrude, it is less than one in 10100,000,000, a number so large that it would fill a thousand sets of Encyclopedia Britannica with zeros if anyone were to write it out in standard notation.
Even if most sequence positions for the atoms are not critical, Ross still estimates the odds by the most conservative of calculations to be less than one in 103000 for assemblies attempted continuously over ten billion years. Ross notes that more rigorous calculations are presented in text books written by atheists and agnostics.
These long statistical odds for the formation of even the most primitive cell can be broken down into the following steps. First, as discussed above, ideal atmospheric and surface conditions must exist for the formation of amino acids. Second, even if long periods of time existed for creation to take place together with favorable environmental conditions, the amino acids must still be properly sequenced in a specific order to create proteins. This proper sequencing can be analogized to the ordering of letters in a sentence to form words. An improper order or the wrong kind of amino acid will prohibit the formation of proteins. Third, even if proteins can be formed under these conditions, these proteins must also be sequenced in complex arrangements to form RNA, like the words forming a sentence. The RNA must also be sequenced in highly complex ways with other chemicals to form the basic building block of life - DNA, like sentences forming a meaningful message.
Bradley and Thaxton note that, even under laboratory conditions where humans may give mother nature a hand, “the synthesis of key building blocks for DNA and RNA such as ribose sugars have never been successfully done except under highly plausible conditions without any resemblance to those of an early Earth.”
Moreover, no human laboratory has ever created DNA or RNA. If humans under the latest technologies and best efforts cannot produce DNA, it is hard to fathom how nature might have done so on its own with such hostile atmospheric and surface conditions and within such a short period of time.
Putting aside the more complex stages of forming RNA or DNA, Bradley and Thaxton offer the following statistical model to establish why the natural formation of even the most basic protein molecule, a prerequisite to both RNA and DNA, is a statistical impossibility. As a preliminary matter, to understand this model, the names “L and D amino acids” and “peptide chemical bonds” must be explained. First, there are two types of amino acid arrangements found in nature. These are called L and D amino acids. These two terms refer to the exact arrangement between the carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen atoms. Each arrangement of L and D amino acids is equally present in nature. Each arrangement of L and D amino acids also appears in an equal percentage when created in laboratory experiments. However, biological proteins found in organic matter contain only L amino acids.
Second, a peptide chemical bond is an exactly aligned sequence of 20 L amino acids, arranged in a complex, 3-dimensional structure. The peptide bonds must be properly arranged with other peptide bonds at the proper connection sites to form proteins.
With these two concepts in mind, Bradley and Thaxton illustrate the problem of forming even a basic protein, assuming the amino acids can be formed given the problems outlined previously:
The problem of assigning the amino acid building blocks into functional protein can be illustrated using probability and statistics. To simplify the problem, one may assume that the probability of getting an L-amino acid [the only type of amino acid useable in biological matter, unlike a D-amino acid] to be 50 percent and the probability of joining two such amino acids with a peptide bond to also be numerical 50 percent. The probability of getting the right amino acid in a particular position may be assumed to be 5 percent, assuming equal concentration of all 20 amino acids in the Prebiotic soup [again, assuming one ever existed]. The first two assumptions are realistic, while the third would be too low for some amino acids and too high for others.
Neglecting the problem of reactions with non-amino acid chemical sites, the probability of getting everything right in placing one amino acid would be 0.5 x 0.5 x .05 = .0125. A probability of properly assembling N [any assigned numbers of] such amino acids would be .0125 x .0125 . . . continued for N terms of .0125. If a functional protein had 100 active sites [locations where peptide bonds can join with other peptide bonds], a probability of getting the proper assembly would be .0125 times itself 100 times, or 4.9 x 10-191. Such improbabilities have led essentially all scientists who work in the field to reject random, accidental assembly, or fortuitist good luck as an explanation as to how life began.
If we assume that all carbon on Earth exists in the form of amino acids and that the amino acids are allowed to chemically react at the maximum possible rate of 1012/s for one billion years, the greatest possible time between the cooling of the Earth and the appearance of life, we still must conclude that it is incredibly improbable (10-65) that even one functional protein would be made.
Bradley and Thaxton conclude:
The current scenario of the origin of life is about as likely as the assembly of a 747 by a tornado roaring through a junkyard.
Biochemist Robert Sauer of MIT likewise estimates the probability of achieving a functional sequence of amino acids in a functioning protein as a chance of roughly 1 in 10-65 . To provide some context as to how impossible a probability this is, it is estimated that there are only 10-65 atoms in our galaxy. Biochemist Michael Behe compares these odds to blindfolding a man and having him find a single marked grain of sand hidden in the Sahara Desert not once but three times.
Under any of the calculations, the chance of a workable protein is proven to be a statistically impossible event. According to Borel’s law, any allegedly random event with a chance greater than 1 chance in 1050 is a statistically impossible event. Thus, God’s creation of the first life is mathematically proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Despite all of these problems, in an attempt to resurrect Prebiotic natural selection as an explanation of the origin of the first primitive cells, Richard Dawkins and Bernard-Olaf Küppers each developed computer models to speculate how early inorganic matter might have formed into early organic matter.
Each of these computer models associated English letters with various chemical elements. The computer performed random generations associating these letters together until these letters formed English words. These English words, according to these computer models, represent the early precursors to DNA. Both Dawking and Küppers concluded that these computer generations simulated how life might have first formed on its own. Ignoring the problems of the hostile early Earth atmosphere and surface conditions, the short time span for creation to occur, the over simplicity of assigning letters for complex chemical elements and the biases of the computer models, biologist Stephen Meyer offers the following additional criticism of their results:
Despite superficially impressive results, these ‘simulations’ conceal an obvious flaw: molecules in situ do not have a target sequence in mind, nor will they confer any selective advantage on a cell and thus differentially reproduce until they combine in a functionally advantageous arrangement.
Alternatively, without any coherent theory like natural selection with hereditary traits mutating in a struggle for limited food and mates, there is no mechanism to explain why inorganic matter would randomly associate with inorganic matter on its own. Inorganic matter does not replicate, nor does it compete with other inorganic matter for survival, food, or mating. In short, there would be no reason for a randomly arranged protein to organize other proteins into RNA or DNA. There also would be no reason for the first randomly organized protein to stay organized and not break down, especially given the 800 and 900 C (176-1940 F) constant temperature of the early Earth, as noted above by Ross.
Accordingly, the theory cannot account for the existence of a diversity of life on Earth in pure and complete methodologically natural terms. To continue to believe that scientists will one day theorize a way for organic matter to self-organize itself by natural processes alone from inorganic matter - - in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence against such a theory - - is itself a faith.
By process of deductive elimination, no natural explanation is possible to explain the first appearance of life on Earth. God’s role in the creation of life is again proven. The cumulative acts of creation also prove that God is not merely a remote “first cause”, who merely set in motion the laws of nature and left life to emerge on its own. Thus, theistic evolution is also not a viable theory to explain for the progressive creation of the universe, a fine-tuned universe, a fine-tuned solar system and a fine-tuned Earth to support life of any kind, and the first life within the Earth. Dawkins’ own admission as to the consequence of proving God’s direct role in the creation of the first life on Earth is worth quoting:
But of course any God capable of intelligently designing something as complex as the DNA/protein replicating machine must have been at least as complex and organized as the machine itself. Far more so if we suppose him additionally capable of such advanced functions as listening to prayers and forgiving sins.
Dawkins nevertheless rejects God’s role and His existence for the mere philosophical reason that, “it leaves unexplained the origin of the Designer.” Yet, this is not a scientific criticism. Just as Dawkins concedes the Creator who can be proven to be the author of even the simplest biological machines on Earth must be infinitely complex.
God’s role in the creation of life on Earth is unchallengeable. As Dawkins openly concedes, “We still don’t know exactly how natural selection began on Earth.” Jeremiah long ago aptly questioned those: “Who say to a tree, ‘You are my father,’ and to the stone, ‘You gave me birth.’” (Jeremiah 2:27(a)).
(6) The Impossibility of Life’s Arrival From Another Planet Through Space
Recognizing the sheer impossibility of explaining the self-assembly of organic from inorganic matter in the early Earth, experts in the field of origins-of-life biology have now turned to our neighboring planets in the hope of resurrecting a natural explanation for the origin of life. Ignoring the design parameters necessary for life of any kind to arise by natural processes alone, this theory is flawed for other reasons. First, the theory presupposes that life arose by natural processes on another planet without attempting to explain how. Second, the theory presupposes that organic life could survive an interplanetary ride on a meteorite and survive upon landing on the Earth.
As explained in the study of days one and two, life could not have naturally arisen on a neighboring planet. Ross further refutes the possibility of life arising in another galaxy and surviving an interstellar planetary ride as a scientific fantasy:
Life transported from some distant ‘exotic’ location in the cosmos to Earth, would arrive dead, in fact, so broken down that none of life’s building blocks, (DNA and RNA, or proteins) would survive. Stellar radiation pressure strong enough to move microbes across the long reaches of interstellar space would kill the microbes in a matter of days. If the microbes were imbedded in sizable dust grains, their chemical properties might be protected from the side effects of interstellar radiation, but only supergiant stars generate enough radiation pressure to move dust grains, and life is impossible anywhere in the vicinity of a supergiant star.
Likewise, even if life could have arisen naturally on a place like Mars, the inter-planet flight on a meteorite would likely destroy life for the same reasons. On these points, Niles Eldredge agrees, “Until we have positive evidence to the contrary, in other words, we must assume (as Darwin did) that life arose here on Earth.”
Accordingly, even if life could have arisen by natural processes on some other planet, there is no natural explanation for how such life could be viably transported to the Earth and spread within the Earth to evolve into the abundance of life within the Earth today. By process of elimination, God’s creation is again proven.
(7) God’s Intelligent Design in the Chemical Language System of DNA
As outlined above, there is no natural explanation for the self-formation of the building blocks of DNA; amino acids, proteins, and RNA, let alone explain the formation of DNA in itself. We know that the very first life to appear within the five to ten million year window, bacteria, look just as it does today with fully functioning DNA. Even in the lowly bacteria, DNA contains millions of chemical sequences. DNA is itself evidence of God’s intelligent design. DNA contains the fingerprints of His creation, just as a computer program on a silicon computer chip is evidence of an intelligent programmer, or just as a radio message from outer-space would be considered evidence of an intelligent sender on another planet.
Each DNA molecule stores millions of specifically arranged chemicals called a nucleotide sequence. These are the bases along the spine of the DNA’s famous double helix strands. These strands bind the double helix together. The four chemicals which are specifically arranged on each nucleotide sequence or bases are called adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine. Biochemists represent these four chemicals by their first letters “A, T, G, and C.”
To provide an analogy, computers are programmed in a binary code of electronic “ones” and “zeros.” By contrast, the Programmer of DNA, arranged the language of life by a vastly more complex “quaternary code” composed of these four chemicals.
Some evolutionists have sought to explain away the organization of DNA by suggesting that these four chemicals naturally bond together in nature. However, it is precisely because these four chemicals do not naturally bond together that the DNA molecule is able to convey entirely different chemical messages such as whether to build cells to form a horse or a housefly. Again by way of analogy, it is precisely because the electronic code of “ones” and “zeros” do not bind together in the same way that we can write computer programs.
Francis Crick, a Nobel laureate who helped discover DNA, argued that the genetic code could not undergo significant evolution. Chemist Dr. Fazale Rana explains: “His rationale is easy to understand. Any change in codon assignments would lead to changes in amino acids in every polypeptide made by the cell. This wholesale change in polypeptide sequences would result in a large number of defective proteins. Nearly any conceivable change to the genetic code would be lethal to the cell.”
Even if DNA could significantly evolve without destroying the cell, there was, again, no time for such mutations to occur in Earth’s history before the first DNA appeared. Like RNA (discussed previously), Dr. Rana explains that DNA traces back too close to the origin of the Earth:
Even if the genetic code could change over time to yield a set of rules that allowed for the best possible error-minimization capacity, is there enough time for this process to occur?
Biophysicist Hubert Yockey addressed this question. He determined that natural selection would have to explore 1.40 x 1070 different genetic codes to discover the universal genetic code found in nature. The maximum time available for it to originate was estimated at 6.3 x 1015 seconds. Natural selection would have to evaluate roughly 1055 codes per second to find the one that’s universal. Put simply, natural selection lacks the time necessary to find the universal genetic code.
Other workplaces the genetic code’s origin coincidental with life’s start. Operating within the evolutionary paradigm, a team headed by renowned origin-of-life researcher Manfred Eigen, estimated the age of the genetic code at 3.8 +/- 0.6 billion years. Current geochemical evidences place life’s first appearance on Earth at 3.86 billion years ago. This timing means that the genetic code’s origin coincides with life’s start on Earth. It appears as if the genetic code out of nowhere, without any time to search out the best option.
Mathematics professor William Dembski pioneered the use of “intelligent design” to distinguish things that might occur naturally from those things that are designed by an intelligent being. DNA meets his criteria of being both “complex and specified” to have been created by a Programmer:
Briefly, intelligent design infers that an intelligent cause is responsible for an effect if the effect is both complex and specified. A single letter of the alphabet is specified without being complex. A long sentence of random letters is complex without being specified. A Shakespearean sonnet is both complex and specified. We infer design by identifying specified complexity.
While evolutionists might state a viable case for why DNA might have minor mutations when creating chemical replicating instructions, evolutionists can't explain why the first DNA would naturally form in the first place. Even the first most simple biological organism contains DNA. The amount of specifically arranged chemical information within the DNA for even the most simple biological organism contains more information than that stored on any of the most sophisticated computer programs known today. Just as we can safely assume that a computer program has a programmer, so we can safely presume that the DNA chemical program has a common programmer: God. God uses the four chemicals in vastly different arrangements within each DNA strand connecting each double helix to create each uniquely designed life upon the Earth.
Even assuming amino acids, proteins, RNA, and DNA could self-organize under the environmentally hostile conditions described above, no theory of gradual mutation can describe the appearance of the first bacteria. It is now known that the genome of the bacteria contains a string of over four million symbols of information.
How does four million symbols of information self-organize? If there was no prior self-replicating system, there is no way evolution can account for the first bacteria.
Even the replicating system of the most simple bacteria is beyond anything that humans can create. How then does it form on the Earth in only a few million years and under extremely hostile surface conditions? Evolutionists have no answer.
By Darwin's own definition, the complexity of the bacteria at the cellular level disproves his theory of evolution. He wrote:
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.
Dawkins and Eldredge speculate that something less complex than the bacteria must have first appeared. “The earliest fossils we have are of very simple, mostly rod-shaped bacteria - far advanced over the simplest of molecules capable of self-replication that must have constituted the earliest forms of life.” Neither the fossil record, the hostile atmosphere, the hostile surface nor the asteroidal bombardment supports this rank speculation. If the bacteria has been preserved in the fossil record, why is there no evidence of something that preceded it? Again, the evolutionists have no answer.
In his book, Darwin's Black Box, biochemist Michael Behe cites to the mechanism allowing many kinds of bacteria to swim, the “bacterial flagellum,” as a “complex organ” which meets Darwin's definition of an organ which cannot be explained under numerous, successive, or slight prior modifications.
The flagellum is a hair-like follicle which extends out of the body of the bacteria and beats from side to side to allow the bacteria to move. When viewed with an electron microscope, the bacterial flagellum appears more complex than the workings of an automobile engine. Extending out of the membrane wall is a “hook protein” which allows the hair-like follicle to beat from one side to the other. Inside the membrane wall is a protein “drive shaft”, which powers the hair-like follicle’s movements. The absence of any one of these three parts, the motor, the swivel hook and joint or the hair-like follicle would cause the bacteria to die.
(Cell structure of a prokaryotic bacterium and the bacterial flagellum)
Behe quotes from Dr. Lucy Shapiro of the Department of Developmental Biology at Stanford University to demonstrate the utter complexity of the bacterial flagellum at the cellular level. While reading this technical description, remember that pure chance must explain this complex arrangement because, for all the reasons previously explained, no system of self-replication was yet in existence:
A rotation propeller at the cell surface, driven by a transmembrane proton gradient, provides many bacteria with the ability to move and thus respond to environmental signals. To acquire this powerful capacity, the bacterial cell is faced with the challenge of placing a tiny rotor engine at the base of the propeller. Although the motor is anchored in the cytoplasmic membrane, a significant portion of the entire mechanism extends into the cytoplasm and, at the other end, out into the environment. At least 20 individual proteins are used as part of the complex structure and another 30 are used for its construction, function, and maintenance.
To carry out the feat of core-dating the ordered expression of about fifty genes, delivering the protein products of these genes to the construction site, and moving the correct parts of the upper floors while adhering to the design specifications with the high degree of accuracy, the cell requires impressive organizational skills. The construction scheme must deal with fundamental questions of instructional and developmental biology: how does the cell measure the length of the component makeup of the polymerized subunits? When the appropriate length is reached, how does the cell turn off the assembly of one part of the structure and switch on the assembly of the next part? Are there checkpoint mechanisms that determine whether one flagellum component has been completed and that it is ok to start construction of the next component? How is this information conveyed to the expression of the flagella genes? Because the assembly of the flagellum proceeds in large measure by the passage of structural proteins through a central channel to its distal tip, what is the export mechanism and how does it choose the proteins that are allowed entry into the pipeline?
In summarizing Shapiro’s review of the interrelated components necessary for the bacteria to move and survive, Behe concludes that the bacterial flagellum is irreducibly complex. Many discreet parts of the flagellum must be in place for it to function:
If there is no whip-protein, the bacterium cannot swim. If there is no rotary motor, then the flagellum lies rigor mortis (dead). If there is no base, then the flagellum has nothing to hang on to when it tries to turn.
Scientific discoveries have added to the difficulties for that naturalist. Scientists have discovered that the bacterial flagellum operates with even greater efficiency than the most advanced human motors:
Work done in the burgeoning arena of nanoscience and nanotechnologies not only highlights the machinelike character of these biomotors, it exposes the elegance and sophistication of their design. The cell’s machinery is vastly superior to anything that the best human designers can conceive or accomplish. As a case in point, bacterial flagella operate near 100 percent efficiency. This capability stands in sharp distinction to man-made machines. Electric motors only function to 65 percent efficiency and the best combustion engines only attain a 30 percent efficiency…. Is it really reasonable to conclude that these biomotors are the products of blind, undirected physical and chemical processes, when they are far beyond what the best human minds can achieve?
In addition to complex bio-motors that could not work without each component part appearing at the same time, the most primitive cells have complex biochemical systems that require multiple things to work together for the cell to operate:
Many biochemical systems are made up of components that mutually require each other for all the components to be produced. For example, ribosomes make proteins, yet, in turn, are formed from proteins. So proteins can’t be made without ribosomes, and ribosomes can’t be made without proteins. The mutual interdependence of the components of many biochemical systems signifies intelligent design.
Yet, despite these multiple lines of proof, one federal judge has rejected the claim that the bacterial flagellum is “irreducibly complex”. In Kitzmiller v. Dover Area Sch. Dist., 400 F. Supp. 2d 707, 715, 766 (M.D. Pa. 2005), a judge held that teaching the theory of intelligent design as an explanation for biological systems, like the flagellum, violates the U.S. Constitution because it allegedly “‘conveys a message of endorsement or disapproval’ of religion . . .”
Under the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the Supreme Court has struck down any teaching method that relies upon something other than purely natural explanations to explain the origins of the universe, animals, and people. In 1968, the Supreme Court struck down Arkansas’s statutory prohibition against teaching evolution. In 1987, it even struck down a law that would have allowed the teaching of “creation science” equal time along with evolution.
During a trial in the Kitzmiller case, Professor Ken Miller took issue with Professor Michael Behe’s claim that “any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional”. Professor Miller claimed that some bacteria use exactly 10 of the 40 to 50 proteins involved in the bacterial flagellum to create a molecular syringe called “the Type–III Secretory System.” This molecular syringe is the means by which modern bacteria can inject deadly proteins, like the bubonic plague, into animals or humans. Professor Miller alleged that the Type–III Secretory System could have evolved into the bacterial flagellum.
Professor Miller had no evidence that this in fact happened. He merely claimed that studies existed which explored that possibility. His conjecture about what might have happened was enough for the judge to find that Professor Behe was allegedly peddling a pseudo-science:
Professor Michael Behe excludes, by definition, the possibility that a precursor to the bacterial flagellum functioned not as a rotary motor, but in some other way, for example as a secretory system… As expert testimony revealed, the qualification on what is meant by ‘irreducible complexity’ renders it meaningless as a criticism of evolution. In fact, the theory of evolution proffers exaptation as a well-recognized, well-documented explanation for how systems with multiple parts could have evolved through natural means. Exaptation means that some precursor of the subject system had a different, selectable function before experiencing the change or addition that resulted in the subject system with its present function. … By defining irreducible complexity in the way that he has, Professor Behe attempts to exclude the phenomenon of exaptation by definitional fiat, ignoring as he does so abundant evidence which refutes his argument.
The judge’s conclusions, however, overlooked three glaring evidentiary holes.
First, the absence of evidence is not proof. Biologists who have published papers on this subject clearly state that there is no evidence that the Type–III Secretory System in fact evolved into the bacterial flagellum. Even under their own theory, they have no idea which system allegedly came from the other. Thus, the judge accepted a theory that the Type–III Secretory System might have evolved into a bacterial flagellum without any proof that it in fact did so.
Second, if the Type–III Secretory System exists to inject deadly proteins into animals or humans, when did this evolve? If it allegedly happened that the first bacteria formed, what evolutionary value would that have in a world that included only bacteria for millions of years? If the theory of evolution were true, a Type–III Secretory System would have been a useless mutation in a world without animals or humans to inject. The theory of natural selection states that such a useless mutation should have disappeared.
Third, if the Type–III Secretory System were the precursor to the bacterial flagellum, how did this complex system form on its own? Why would 10 proteins align together in exactly the way to form this molecular syringe? Chemist Dr. Fazale Rana points out that the Type–III Secretory System is itself an irreducibly complex system:
“[T]he type III secretion system – the proposed evolutionary stepping stone to the bacterial flagellum – is an irreducibly complex structure. It’s an elegant machine that, like other bio-molecular machines, bears an uncanny resemblance to humanly crafted devices. In other words, the type III secretion machine, in and of its own right, evinces biochemical intelligent design.”
Dawkins’ own self-doubt about the appearance of bacteria in the non-existent primordial soup is worth quoting:
Do you find both Cairns-Smith’s clay theory, and the more orthodox organic primeval soup theory, wildly improbable? Does it sound to you as though it would need a miracle to make randomly oscillating atoms join together into a self-replicating molecule? Well, at times it does to me too.
For some, there is simply no fact that will allow them to believe in God’s creation. Yet, their beliefs are a faith of their own because they cannot be falsified or disproven.
God in fact had an intelligent plan in creating bacteria and then blue-green algae billions of years before humans. At the earliest possible moment, God filled the Earth with the simplest photosynthesizing plants in order to create the eventual ideal oxygen-rich atmosphere for humans. As Ross explains, God was infinitely patient to create the ideal planet for humans to enjoy. However, mankind’s appearance upon the Earth will be comparatively short because God is in a hurry to conquer evil.
Even if the appearance of the bacteria could be attributed to mere random chance, which it cannot, the subsequent appearance of single-celled eukaryotic organisms, with entirely different internal cellular structures, defies a theory of gradual mutation. To demonstrate how, consider the evolutionary explanation for the appearance of the first single-celled eukaryotic cell, the protist. If you are an evolutionist, you must believe that two or more bacteria joined together in a symbiotic relationship billions of years ago to form the first eukaryotic cell. Excluding the three kinds of single-celled prokaryotes (bacteria, archaea, and protozoans), all other organisms have eukaryotic cells.
The oldest known fossil eukaryotes are about 1.7 billion years old. However, genetic testing strongly suggests that eukaryotes appeared as early as 3 billion years ago, approximately 1.5 billion years after the formation of the Earth.
Photosynthetic life was abundant in the Earth’s oceans for much of its history. Through the study of isotopes, scientists have also indirectly confirmed the presence of photosynthetic life on the continental land masses at least 200 million years before the Cambrian explosion. Again, the Bible correctly places plant life before fish, land animals and people.
American biologist Lynn Margulis first proposed this theory in 1967 and it remains the only widely endorsed theory among evolutionists. As should be immediately obvious, this is not a purely evolutionary explanation based upon initial replicating errors in the bacteria’s DNA. Richard Dawkins explains the theory with only lukewarm support:
Margulis’s theory is that mitochondria and chloroplasts, and a few other structures inside cells, each descended from bacteria. The kinds of bacteria joined forces because of the benefits that each could obtain from the others. Over the eons they have become so thoroughly integrated into the cooperative unit that became the eukaryotic cell, that it has become almost impossible to detect the fact, if indeed it is a fact, that they were once separate bacteria.
Niles Eldredge concedes that the theory was first “greeted with disbelief and even derision as a crackpot idea . . .” He further notes that it only gained acceptance, “once it became clear that the DNA of these organelles [mitochondria and chloroplasts] is always present and bears no resemblance or connections with the DNA of the nuclei of eukaryotic cells.” In overt code words against the possibility of God’s special creation of life on Earth, Eldredge pleads, “There is simply no other rational explanation for the arrangement of DNA within all eukaryotic cells.”
In fact, there is a rational explanation. God’s intelligent design of the eukaryotic organism is established through: (1) the complex and entirely different internal structure of such cells in comparison to the bacteria, (2) the entirely different form of propulsion than the bacteria, and (3) the entirely different make-up of the component proteins in comparison to the component proteins of the bacteria.
(1) The Complex Internal Structure of the First Eukaryotic Organism
The complex internal structure of the first single-celled eukaryotic organism, as Margulis, Dawkins, and Eldredge implicitly concede, cannot be explained under a theory of gradual mutations in an ancestral bacteria. Inside each eukaryotic cell is a minimum of twenty different membrane walls separating different cellular organs that perform unique rolls. None of these are found in the bacteria. Behe describes the various cellular organs within the eukaryotic cell as comparable to the different parts of a mechanized factory, each with discreet complex parts:
The areas include the nucleus (where the DNA resides), the mitochondria (which produces the cells’ energy), the endoplasmic reticulum (which produces proteins), the Golgi apparatus (a weigh station for proteins being transported elsewhere), the lysosome (the cells’ garbage disposal unit), secretory vesicles (which store cargo before it must be sent out of the cell), and the peroxisome (which helps metabolize fats). Each compartment is sealed off from the rest of the cells by its own membranes, just as a room were separated from the rest the house by its walls and door. The membranes themselves can also be considered a separate compartment, because the cell places material into membranes that is not found elsewhere.
A protein traveling from the Cytoplasm to the Lysosome (two separate compartments with a eukaryotic cell) will travel a distance of only ten-thousandth of an inch to reach its final destination. Nevertheless, according to Behe, for a protein to travel between these two vital organs within the cell, the cell “requires the services of dozens of different proteins to ensure its safe arrival.”
In addition to proteins to ensure that other proteins can travel between organs within the cell, additional proteins are necessary to allow other proteins to enter and leave the twenty different cell membrane walls. Each of these proteins must work in perfect unison to allow the cell to communicate within itself. A breakdown in this complex process would cause the cell to die. In addition to all of these required integrated functions, Niles Eldredge himself concedes that the DNA of the mitochondria and chloroplasts organelles “is always present and bears no resemblance or connections with the DNA of the nuclei of eukaryotic cells.”
The bacterium has none of the above described complexity. The theorized initial joining together of two or more bacteria in a symbiotic relationship cannot explain the origin of the entirely separate and distinct integrated network of proteins and related cellular organs. With the requirement of so many interrelated parts to allow the eukaryotic cell to survive, the eukaryotic cell would also appear to meet Darwin’s definition of a “complex organ” which cannot be explained by “numerous, successive, slight modifications.”
Accordingly, at a cellular level, the theory of evolution breaks down. If the simplest living life forms cannot be explained by theories of symbiosis or gradual mutation, then neither can infinitely more complex beings such as humans. Therefore, the theory of evolution cannot explain the appearance of life upon the Earth.
(2) The unique propulsion system of the first eukaryotic organism
As previously noted, the protist was the first organism alleged to have had the eukaryotic cell. The protist is theorized to be the next step in the theory of evolution for all life upon the Earth. Not only is the protist irreducibly complex in the simultaneous presence of so many internal operating systems within the cell, the protist is also irreducibly complex in its method of propulsion. Unlike bacteria which rely upon a single complex bacterial flagellum, protists are propelled by multiple organs called “cilia.” Cilia are also used by sperm to swim and by the human respiratory tract to move air in and out of our lungs. Each cilium is a hair-like follicle surrounded by nine microtubes. Each of these microtubes beat up and down like the pistons in an engine to allow the cilium to move, like an oar on a boat.
In short, the method of propulsion of the cilium is entirely different from the bacterial flagellum. When one considers that the cilium propulsion system needed to appear simultaneously with the inter-working components of the eukaryotic cell to form the first protists, theories of either symbiotic relationships between bacteria or more traditional evolutionary theories of gradual mutation completely break down.
(3) The unique protein structure of the first eukaryotic organism
Not only was the first eukaryotic organism distinct in its internal making and its system of propulsion, it also was composed of an entirely different protein structure. The cumulative differences between the bacteria and the first single-celled eukaryotic organism are staggering.
With the advancement of modern computers, scientists have begun to categorize, in sequence, the protein structures of each known living organism. Scientists had initially hoped to find a progressive sequence showing similarities in the protein structure of organisms like bacteria with those believed to have been in the evolutionary sequence. Again, on a cellular level, the theories of symbiosis and evolution completely break down.
A common protein found in all living organisms, called cytochrome C, demonstrates the incredible dissimilarity in the protein structure between bacteria and eukaryotic organisms. On this note, Richard Dawkins sets forth a test related to cytochrome C for the advocate of the common decent hypothesis to consider:
[W]e can measure exactly how many steps separate one animal from another, at least with respect to a particular protein molecule… any one kind of molecule seems to evolve at a roughly constant rate in widely different animal groups. This means that the number of differences between comparable molecules in two animals, say between human cytochrome and warthog cytochrome is a good measure of the time that has elapsed since their common ancestor lived. We have a pretty accurate ‘molecular clock.’ The molecular clock allows us to estimate, not just which pairs of animals have the most recent common ancestors, but also approximately when these common ancestors lived.” (emphasis in original).
The National Academy of Sciences also cites to this alleged protein clock to attack the science of irreducible complexity:
[S]tructures and processes that are claimed to be “irreducibly” complex typically are not on closer inspection. For example, it is incorrect to assume that a complex structure or biochemical process can function only if all its components are present and functioning as we see them today. Complex biochemical systems can be built up from simpler systems through natural selection. Thus, the “history” of a protein can be traced through simpler organisms ...
Yet, these claims of a predictable and constant rate of change in the molecular cytochrome C protein sequences lead to a startling conclusion when it is used to try to bridge the gap between the bacterium and the first eukaryotic organism. The gap simply cannot be bridged. As summarized by the science writer Richard Milton:
If all eukaryotes have descended from bacteria, then you would expect to find a gradual divergence in their proteins like cytochrome C. In fact, what you find is that all the main classes, from man to kangaroo, from fruit fly to chicken, from sunflower to rattlesnake, and penguin to baker’s yeast, all are equidistant from bacteria with around sixty-five to sixty-nine percent divergence.
Likewise, microbiologist Michael Denton offers the following remarkable observation as to the protein differences between bacteria and the first eukaryotic organism:
Eukaryotic cytochromes, from organisms as diverse as man, lamprey, fruit fly, wheat, and yeast, all exhibit a sequence divergence of between sixty-four percent and sixty-seven percent from this particular bacterial cytochrome. Considering the enormous variation of eukaryotic species from unicellular organisms like yeast to multi- cellular organisms such as animals, and considering that eukaryotic cytochromes vary among themselves by about forty-five percent, this must be considered as one of the most astonishing findings of modern science.
Niles Eldredge triumphantly offers his own test of the proof of evolution which brings us to an inescapable conclusion in light of this cytochrome molecular evidence:
But it is even more important to see that the basic notion of evolution is inherently testable - hence inherently scientific. Had we failed to find this nested pattern of similarities interlinking all forms of life, we would, as scientists, be forced by the rules of the game to reject the very notion of evolution.
Richard Dawkin’s concession as to the consequences of finding molecular dissimilarities is even more candid:
[I]f you have any doubts about the truth of evolution, you can use the pattern of resemblances to test it. If evolution is true, resemblances among animals, notably the pattern of hierarchical nesting. If evolution is false, goodness knows what pattern we should expect, but there is no obvious reason to expect a nested hierarchical pattern.”
The equal sequence divergence of eukaryotic cytochromes, in every kind of organism, from the bacterial cytochrome contradicts Eldredge’s and Dawkin’s claim of a “nested pattern of similarities interlinking all forms of life.” Thus, at the very first test of evolution between the bacterium and the eukaryotic cell, by Eldredge’s and Dawkin’s own test, the theory of evolution fails.
Any one of these observed differences between bacteria and the first eukaryotic organism defies an explanation based upon either symbiosis or gradual mutation. Thus, even if some lucky bacteria had survived an inter-stellar ride from some unobserved and unlikely location, that bacteria could not have evolved into modern life as we know it.
The eukaryotic cell meets all the criteria of God’s intelligent design with no viable alternative. When one weighs the evidence of all three differences together, God’s intelligent design of the first life on Earth is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. God’s multiple, progressive acts of creation further eliminates the possibility that He exists as a remote first-cause of the creation of the universe.
According to Ross, the creation of plants began on day three and continued through the appearance of mankind. God first seeded the oceans and the continents with photosynthetic organisms. He then introduced seed-bearing plants that reproduce through spores. He then introduced seed-bearing plants that reproduced through flowers and seeds.
Scientists have further confirmed the appearance of extinct plants called archaeoptersis before the first land mammals. An international team of paleobiologists verifies that this distinct plant matches the definition of a modern “tree.” It produced free spores very similar to those of the seeds and fruits of today’s trees. The tree is estimated to be approximately 370 million years old, more than a hundred million years before the first dinosaurs allegedly appeared upon the Earth. These paleontologists estimate that the archaeoptersis became established worldwide by the late Devonian era, approximately 390 million years ago. This places the appearance of plants before the appearance of land mammals. The accuracy of the Genesis account is again verified.
The appearance of seed-bearing plants is also further evidence of God’s intelligent design. Like the appearance of the first bacteria and eukaryotic cells, there are no evolutionary predecessors to the first appearance of these highly complex plants.
Professor E. J. H. Corner of the Cambridge University Botany School once offered the following candid admission regarding the lack of evidence in support of any theory of evolution for complex seed-bearing plants.
Much evidence can be adduced in favor of the theory of evolution -from biology, biogeography, and paleontology, but I still think that to the unprejudiced, the fossil record of plants is still in favor of special creation.
Darwin himself described the lack of known origin for flowering plants (angiosperms) as an “abominable mystery.” Despite approximately 150 years of research, the alleged evolutionary record for these plants still remains a mystery to botanists who specialize in the area.
Professor N. H. Hughes offers the following similar concession:
The evolutionary origin of the now dormant land-plant group, the angiosperms, has puzzled scientists since the middle of the 19th Century… with few exceptions of detail, however, the failure to find a satisfactory explanation has persisted and many biologists have concluded that the problem is not capable of solution by fossil evidence…
Professor C. B. Beck as offering similar concessions as to the lack of alleged evolutionary proof for seed-bearing plants:
Indeed the mystery of the origin and early evolution of the angiosperms is as pervasive and as fascinating today as it was when Darwin emphasized the problem in 1879… we have no definite answers, because we are forced to base our conclusions largely on circumstantial evidence, and they must usually, of necessity be highly speculative and interpretative.
Summarizing the lack of proof of evolution for complex seed-bearing plants, Dr. Duane Gish concludes:
Flowering plants burst upon the scene in bewildering variety. Forty-three (43) families of angiosperms abruptly appear with no trace of ancestors or intermediate forms. No wonder evolutionists describe their origin as an abominable mystery.
Not only does the appearance of angiosperms and other complex seed-bearing plants appear without any fossil record to suggest a path of evolution, the appearance of these complex plants also support the theory of God’s intelligent design.
Finally, the Genesis text correctly reveals that Earth’s first plant-like life appeared in relative darkness. Genesis’ day four reveals that God cleared the Earth’s atmosphere to allow for the light from the Sun and from the far away stars to reach the Earth’s surface for the first time. Describing the appearance of light after the clearing of the Earth’s sky after the appearance of the first primitive plant life upon the Earth, many have long presumed that the Genesis text was incorrect or obviously meant to be taken figuratively. In fact, scientific discoveries have now verified that the Genesis text correctly reveals the order of the appearance of primitive life before the clearing of the Earth’s shrouded atmosphere. Ross outlines two factors in his books The Genesis Question and Navigating Genesis which caused the early Earth’s atmosphere to darken and subsequently clear. These include the slowing of the Earth’s rotation rate and the decrease in the Earth’s rate of tectonic and volcanic activity. Life’s early appearance in the Earth also allowed the Earth to be endowed with the coal and fossil fuels for economy today.
(1) The Slowing of the Earth’s Rotation Rate
The slowing of the Earth’s rotation played a critical role in reducing a one-time thick cloud cover over the early Earth’s atmosphere. When life first appeared, the Earth had only an 8-hour per-day rotation day. With such a rapid rotation period, the Earth’s winds would have been driven to constant hurricane-like speeds. Jupiter, for example, with a 10-hour rotation rate has average wind velocities exceeding one thousand miles per hour. As the rotation rate slowed over millions of years, the Earth’s wind speeds slowed as well. Slower wind speeds in turn decreased the production of salt aerosols which are produced as winds whip up ocean waves. The sea-salt aerosols make up the largest fraction of a cloud’s nuclei. According to Ross, the slowing of the Earth’s rotation rate dramatically reduced the early Earth’s cloud cover.
(2) Slowing of the Earth’s Tectonic and Volcanic Rate of Activity
The decrease in the Earth’s tectonic and volcanic activity also played a critical role in the clearing of the Earth’s atmosphere. As described in the study for days one and two, the collision of a mars-sized object with the early Earth set in motion the plate tectonic forces which drive the movement of the Earth’s coastal plates today. Ross describes the slow-decaying radioisotopes from this early collision embedded within the crust of the Earth as the driving force behind the Earth’s level of plate tectonic and volcanic activity.
Over time, the amount of heat released from these radioisotopes has decreased. This decrease has reduced the amount of tectonic and volcanic activity to a level today which is estimated to be approximately 1/5th of their original level. With the decreased volcanic activity in particular, fewer clouds of darkened smoke would have covered the Earth’s atmosphere. The clearing of the Earth’s atmosphere would have made the stars visible for the first time, just as revealed in Genesis.
During His fourth creation day, God is revealed to have cleared the Earth’s atmosphere to allow for both the light of the Sun and the light of the stars to shine clearly upon the Earth. Also during this period, God is revealed to have created the Earth’s seasons. Verse 16 records: “And God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.”
Ross summarizes the writings of various scholars who note that the Hebrew word asa, translated as “made,” appears in the form of a completed action. The Hebrew world does not convey any specific time when the act was completed. This meaning is not discernible by studying the English texts alone. Some words cannot be translated without some loss in the original meaning. Any student of a foreign language can attest to this fact. In other words, the verb tense indicates that it happened in the past, in this case either days one or two, without stating exactly when.
Genesis 1:1 provides the answer to this question. The very first verse in Genesis establishes by the word “heavens” that the stars were first created on God’s first day of creation. In that verse, the Hebrew word bara is used to signify the creation of the universe out of nothing. Any other translation effectively reads the word heavens out of Genesis 1:1. On day four, with the clearing of the Earth’s atmosphere God made the pre-existing light from the stars visible on the surface of the Earth.
This interpretation is in fact possibly confirmed to be the “clearing” of our view from the Earth to the universe above as referenced in the book of Job. Speaking of the creation and the clearing of the clouds over the Earth, Job records the following praise of God’s creation:
He stretches out the north over empty space, and hangs the earth on nothing. He wraps up the waters in His clouds; and the cloud does not burst under them. He obscures the face of the full moon, and spreads His cloud over it…. By His breath the heavens are cleared; His hand has pierced the fleeing serpent. Behold, these are the fringes of His ways; and how faint a word we hear of Him! But His mighty thunder, who can understand? (Job 26: 7-14).
In speaking of the clearing of the view from the Earth to the heavens, why would Job finish his praise with the question as to who can understand God’s ways? The answer may be that our ability to understand the reasons for God’s description of His creation may be limited.
In other words, God may have intentionally chosen to describe the events of creation without referencing the Sun in the beginning verses of Genesis. Biblical historians have noted that, at the time Genesis was first revealed, many of the surrounding societies worshiped the Sun as a god. To distinguish God’s power from those ascribed by humans to inanimate objects like the Sun, God may have revealed the details of creation in a way that did not give prominence to the role of the Sun. In so doing, the focus of our praise remains on God and not the Sun that He created.
At the end of Job, God in fact repeated that the reasons why He created the universe in the manner that He did were beyond Job’s limited powers of comprehension (Job 38-42). Possibly because so many different verses of the Bible reveal the details of God’s creation and because the manner of presentation has hidden meaning, the Hebrews had a tradition that only those over 30 were permitted to interpret the first book of Genesis.
Before we turn to days five and six, consider the remainder of the alleged sequence of natural events leading to the appearance of mankind, consider the evidence presented to this point. No natural chance explanation can explain the appearance of the universe. No natural chance explanation can explain the narrow parameters allowable for the formation of our universe. No natural chance explanation can explain the narrow parameters allowable for the formation of a planet like Earth, capable of sustaining advanced mammal life. No natural chance explanation can explain the formation of a self-replicating biological organism from inorganic matter, especially given what is now known about the early Earth atmosphere. No natural explanation can explain the formation of DNA, the bacteria or the bacterial flagellum, especially given the narrow window of time and hostile conditions for such events to occur. No natural explanation can explain the first eukaryotic cell. There is also no evidence of any intermediate or predecessor forms to the first plants. In summary, if we assume that the universe first formed 15 billion years ago, most of our entire natural history cannot be explained in purely natural terms.
Even without the benefit of modern science, Paul warned against those who ignore the clear evidence of God’s hand in creation: “20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” (Ro. 1:20-21).
Do you have any doubt that God created the universe, Earth, and life in the manner specified in Genesis? More importantly, do you have any doubt that God carefully formed you in your mother’s womb? (Ps. 139:13). Likewise, just as God repeatedly intervened in the Earth’s history, do you have faith that God is actively intervening in each stage of your life? If so, are you sharing your faith with others and praising God when He intervenes in your life?