Can Science Explain How Life Began?

The Philosophical Bias
How did life begin in the universe? How did life begin here on our tiny planet? This fundamental question has HUGE implications, because the answer will shape our view of the world completely. Are we the result of unguided natural processes, or are we the result of a designer God? Before we turn to science for this answer, we need to quickly review the philosophy that guides science and directs its conclusions. This philosophy is called ‘philosophical naturalism’. It is the presumption that only natural causes can be used to explain what it is that we see happening in our world. I know that may sound complicated, but when it comes right down to it, ‘philosophical naturalism’ is simply the belief that there are NO supernatural forces in the universe (such as God) that can be used to explain the phenomena that we see in the world around us. Think of it like looking into an old box or chest.

Focusing on the Inside of the Box
You walk up on the box and open it. Of course you immediately recognize that there is an ‘inside’ and an ‘outside’ to consider here. Well, this is pretty much how secular science sees the world. There’s an ‘inbounds’ and an ‘out of bounds’. The ‘inbounds’ is all the stuff that can be seen and understood inside this box. It is the natural world; the world filled with natural laws of science and the matter we see all around us. The ‘out of bounds’ is the realm of the supernatural. All that kind of ‘God’ stuff is clearly out of the box for the naturalist. Naturalism requires all answers to come from inside the box we are living in! Well, if we really want to test this philosophical approach to science, we simply have to begin to examine the things that are in our world. So, for the sake of argument, let’s say you opened the box and discovered that it contained a beautiful locket.

And let’s say I asked you the simple question, “So, tell me how the locket got in the box…” Now, while you might want to respond, ‘Duh, someone put it in there!’, you need to remember that the answer cannot come from something that is outside of the box! The naturalist must rely on the stuff inside the box to explain what he or she sees. So maybe you think for a second and come up with a good answer. You say, “Hey, the locket simply formed over time from all the pre-existing materials that were in the box!” OK, now you’ve hit on something! Your theory maintains that the locket actually evolved over time! That seems like a possibility, doesn’t it? Well, maybe not. After all, you might wonder where the original material (that eventually formed the locket) first came from. That’s a fair question, I think. And then you might also question how something that looks specific and complex could just appear in this shape! Even if the material was already in the box, how long would it take to come together in such a specific form? Logic tells you that it would take a VERY long time, and the box doesn’t even look that old! Maybe this first ‘natural’ solution needs to be re-thought!

OK, so maybe it didn’t evolve on its own, but there’s another possibility, isn’t there? Perhaps the locket has always been there! Maybe it is as old as the universe and all the other material that we see around here is also infinitely old! Well, that seems to be an answer, but the more you think about it, the harder it is to believe. We know for a number of reasons that our universe is not infinitely old. We know this from the expansion that we see in the cosmos, the law of entropy, the radiation echo and a number of other evidences, including the philosophy of infinite regress. And if you just use your plain old common sense, you’ve just got to feel a little uncomfortable answering the question, “How did it get here” with the answer, “it didn’t GET here at all, it’s always been here!”

If you really think about it, you know that you’ve got to suspend logic to some degree in order NOT to come to the simple conclusion that someone on the outside of the box is responsible for the locket being on the inside of the box! This explanation satisfies our sense of reason not because we are simple people of faith, but because it satisfies our observations and logical investigation of the facts (more on that HERE). We did not limit our investigation in advance by clinging unreasonably to a philosophy that would only allow us to look inside the box for answers! So while secular science continues to argue that it is objective and unbiased, try to remember that there is a philosophically limiting perspective involved in their approach. They’ve ruled out the supernatural before they can actually prove that the supernatural does not exist. As Christians, we can remain far more unbiased than the secular world if we will be careful not to attribute ‘natural’ phenomena to the supernatural, while diligent to leave open the possibility that God alone can account for much of what we see around us. It’s not that we are trying to deny natural explanations at all; we are just open to ALL the possibilities. How much more open minded can you get? Sometimes the best scientific approach is the approach that allows you to follow the evidence wherever it leads, even if it leads you to something outside the box!

Faith and the Facts
Sometimes it seems like people of faith and people in the scientific community are coming from very different places. People of faith are often seen as people who refuse to look at the evidence. They are seen as people who live a life of BLIND faith, and their language is often seen as evidence of their trust in something that they cannot prove. When the faithful use words like “…I believe…” and “…I trust that…”, the non-believing world looks at our language as evidence of the fact that we believe in something blindly. But when you listen closely to the scientific community, it doesn’t take long to realize that their language isn’t all that much different than the language of the faithful. Read the science textbooks carefully. You’ll find expressions like “…scientists postulate…” or “…one possibility is…” or “…experts theorize that…” as these textbooks seek to describe what these scientists have discovered in their investigations. Look at those words for a minute. These words are not words that describe facts, these are words that describe uncertain possibilities. These are words of FAITH. They’ve investigated the evidence and followed it as far as they could. Now, at this place in their journey, and far from certainty, they must also resort to language that reveals that they have placed their trust in something they cannot completely prove. These people are using the language of faith, because they are also people of faith.

How Does It All Begin?
The natural explanation of our origins is a concept known as “abiogenesis”; the notion that all life here on planet earth originated as the result of natural processes. In essence, all living things have emerged from non-living matter. This process of “abiogenesis” is often difficult to understand, and the word itself is both familiar and awkward at the same time. An easier way to remember and think about the term might be found by breaking the word up into its components. Think of the word as a description of a “natural biological version (abio) of the Genesis creation story (genesis)”.

When we look at it this way, it’s pretty clear that the term is appropriate as it is used by the secular scientific community, because let’s face it, abiogenesis theories are actually creation stories for those who don’t believe that there is a God involved in the creation! Let’s be clear about something here. All of us (believers and non-believers alike) have embraced a creation story. It’s as simple as that. Christians have one in the book of Genesis. Atheists are still looking for a better version that satisfies their philosophical naturalism. All of us have a creation story. The question we have to ask here is simple: “Is the naturalist creation story more reasonable than the supernaturalist creation story”? Perhaps more importantly, is the naturalistic version supported by the evidence? That’s something we are now going to look at.

Abiogenesis is Part of a Larger Process
Now understand here that abiogenesis is a process in itself, but it is not an isolated process. It is part of a larger naturalistic progression. Abiogenesis attempts to describe the development of matter from non-living forms to living organisms. That’s simple enough to understand, in and of itself. And evolution, as we traditionally think of it, is yet another process that attempts to describe the development of simple living organisms as they advance toward all the diversity of life that we see in our world today. Now many evolutionists will try to argue that abiogenesis and evolution are two separate issues, and that one has nothing to do with the other. They will say that Darwin himself never made any claims about the origin of life and only described the evolution of life forms once they appeared on planet earth. They would like us to look at the two issues as two unconnected investigations; one having no bearing on the other.

But let’s be honest about this. The end goal of any process of abiogenesis results in the appearance of the first form of primitive life here on earth. Scientists often describe this primitive self sustaining life form as something similar to a bacterium or archeobacterium. But whatever shape or form this self replicating life took, it is clearly the end of a process that turned non-living matter into a sustainable life form. And evolution claims that all life on earth (all the diversity of life forms) begins with a common ancestor. Evolution describes a ‘tree of life’ in which all biological diversity seen at the branch trips can be traced back to a common trunk and a common life form from which everything evolves. This life form is incredibly primitive and is often called the “last universal common ancestor” or “LUCA” for short. It too is microscopic in size and has been described in a manner similar to the life forms that emerge from the abiogenesis process. Now it should be clear by looking at the nature of both (1) the product of abiogenesis and (2) the common ancestor required for evolution, that we are talking about the same life forms. While we realize that abiogenesis theories often describe many emerging forms of life, and evolutionists might like us to believe that the first emerging form is not necessarily LUCA, it is clear that LUCA must have come from the end of this abiogenesis process.

Evolution is forever linked to abiogenesis because abiogenesis produces the very thing that evolution requires to begin its work! The two theories are forever linked in this way, by the early organisms they claim to either produce or require! So why don’t all evolutionists readily admit that abiogenesis should be part of their investigative responsibility? Well, many don’t want to embrace this part of the investigation because they simply know that it is a theory that is filled with dramatic improbabilities that require large leaps of faith. Let’s take a look at some of the claims of abiogenesis theorists and some of the problems they have discovered along the way.

Looking for Evidence
Now you know very well that all of us who believe in creation stories are occasionally going to be asked for some kind of evidence that our creation story is true. The secular world asks for this kind of proof from Christians, and it sometimes seems like we are the only ones who are required to defend our faith. But as we’ve discussed, secular science also has a creation story of its own, and it’s fair to ask for a little evidence that this story might be possible. Maybe that’s why scientists have been working for years to answer some of the tough questions that arise when examining the origin of life. Let’s look at their evidence.

Dirty Dishes and the Pre-Biotic Soup Bowl
Whether you realize it or not, you examine evidence every day. We do it all the time, and sometimes we don’t even think about it. Let’s say for example, that tomorrow night you are tasked with the job of washing the dishes for your family, even though you weren’t home for dinner! Do you think that as you are washing the dishes you might be able to determine what everyone had for dinner? How would you find out? Well, you would probably be able to see what they ate by looking closely at the stuff that was stuck to the plates! In essence, you would be examining the trace evidence! Let’s say you came across a bowl that was used for soup. Not just any soup, but tomato soup! OK, we’ve all eaten something like this and we know that no matter how hungry we are, we usually leave some trace behind in the bowl! If someone came after us and looked at our soup bowl, they would know that we just had tomato soup. How would they know? Well, there would be evidence somewhere in the bowl!

Abiogenesis theorists claim that something similar to this happened on the early planet earth. A large body of water known as a primordial or pre-biotic soup existed on earth and it is in this soup that early life emerged. Somehow this soup, rich in ‘pre-biotic’, organic materials became the place where RNA or DNA emerged, giving rise to early protein development and finally those early forms of life needed to begin the larger evolutionary process described by Darwin. Virtually all abiogenesis theories trace their roots back to the notion of a pre-biotic soup of one kind or another. Regardless of how they claim the building blocks for life appeared, they all claim that the soup existed to provide an environment for these building blocks to form the first forms of life.

Well if it’s true that the pre-biotic soup was here on earth, shouldn’t we be able to find the dirty bowl? Scientists think so, and that’s why they’ve done so much work to find trace evidence of the soup we’ve been talking about. They started by looking at the worlds oldest rocks, like the rocks found in places like Greenland, South Africa and Australia. It’s here in rocks like these that scientists expected to find some evidence of the pre-biotic soup. They were, in essence, looking directly at the soup bowl! It was in the oldest rocks on earth that they expected to find the evidence for their theory. But sadly, no evidence was to be found. This is incredibly important for us to grasp. If there is only one thing that you come away with here, this should probably be it: THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF A PRE-BIOTIC SOUP. Scientists are operating in the realm of unsupported theory and wishful thinking when they try to argue that life can begin naturally on planet earth in a pre-biotic soup. There is simply no evidence of this in the very place that they would expect to find such evidence!

Imagine Taking This Position in Court
Think about it for a minute. Imagine that you are sitting on a jury and listening to a criminal case in a courtroom. You’re all in place when they walk in the defendant and he takes his position at the defendant’s table. The prosecutor then enters the room and looks you all squarely in the face. He says, “ladies and gentlemen, I am here to demonstrate that the defendant is guilty as charged. I want you to know that it is my firm belief that he is guilty. I have been a prosecutor for many years and I know a guilty person when I see one. I want you to trust me on this. I am an expert.” Then he simply sits down. The judge in the case then tells the prosecutor to call his first witness, and the prosecutor stands and says, “Your Honor, I have no evidence to present.” The judge cannot believe his ears. YOU cannot believe what you are hearing either. This prosecutor is trying to get you to accept something as true, but he doesn’t have any evidence to support his beliefs. Now tell me: how likely are you to accept his version of the truth and find the defendant guilty?

Well the case for a pre-biotic soup is very similar to what we have just described. The scientific community wants us to believe in something for which they have no evidence. Now this is a foundational belief on the part of abiogenesis theorists and therefore it is foundational to evolution as well. If this first premise is not true, evolution cannot even begin. And for something so critical to both theories, isn’t it reasonable to expect SOME kind of evidence? When the secular scientific community enters into a discussion of the problems with the pre-biotic soup theory, you will generally hear them use the language of faith. Textbooks are filled with phrases like “…scientists postulate…” and “…one possible explanation is…” or “…experts theorize that…” when trying to describe the conditions of the early earth. This language is important because it means that the scientists are not simply following the evidence where it leads, but have already determined where it SHOULD lead. Even when they LACK the evidence of a natural cause, they simply believe IN SPITE of the deficiency. They, in essence, take a faith position on something that they cannot support evidentially.

The Creation of Amino Acids
Now, even if we had some evidence that a pre-biotic soup ever existed on planet earth, a logical question might be, “How did the first building blocks of life (amino acids) come about?” Remember that amino acids are the building blocks that are used to form proteins, and proteins (in turn) assemble to form every mechanism within living cells. If a pre-biotic soup ever existed, it would need amino acids as an essential ingredient. Well, you probably know from your textbooks that a lot of speculation and work was done to try to prove that amino acids came about naturally. In 1953, Stanley L. Miller and Harold C. Urey conducted an experiment at the University of Chicago. They took molecules that they believed would be present in the early earth atmosphere (methane, ammonia, hydrogen, and water) and ran a continuous electric current through the system (simulating lightning in the early atmosphere). They found that they were able to produce amino acids by doing this and claimed that they had a model for the natural creation of the building block of life. Now I’ll bet you still see this experiment in you biology textbooks and that you’re already familiar with it.

But did you know that the experiment is now refuted by the scientific community? Researchers now believe that the experiment is flawed for two reasons. First, the gas mixture that Urey and Miller used is NOT reflective of the atmosphere of the early earth (now believed to NOT contain redundant molecules and to be comprised primarily of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and water vapor). In addition to this, the Urey / Miller experiment required a CONTINUOUS electrical charge that is not a realistic representation of lightning storms in the early atmosphere. In essence, while the scientists were able to create Amino Acids, they certainly did not create them in an environment that was anything like the early earth atmosphere. This is no proof for the natural occurrence of amino acids! In fact, the one thing the experiment did prove is that when an intelligent agent is allowed to control the environment in a specific and careful way, making sure to develop just the right combination of elemental ingredients and environmental controls, the building blocks of life CAN actually be created. But isn’t that a proof for an intelligent creator rather than a natural process?

Grasping at Straws (or Aliens)
Now, in response to the difficulty that scientists have had trying to create the simplest of life’s building blocks through natural processes, many have resorted to other explanations for the presence of these ingredients on planet earth. One of the most popular explanations is that these basic building blocks existed somewhere in the universe and were deposited here on earth via meteors that crashed into that primordial sea! Now even this theory has its problems. First, you should recognize that the theory wouldn’t exist at all if not for the fact that more reasonable explanations have already failed and supernatural explanations won’t even be considered. You should also know that this view is not supported by some body of evidence that points to its reality. It too, is a theory without evidential support. In addition, the quantity of pre-biotic material that would be required in a primordial soup is far greater than can be accounted for by way of this kind of explanation. And finally, the explanation itself merely defers the problem to other worlds where we once again have to try to understand how something can come from nothing. To accept this kind of explanation is to, in effect, throw up your hands and admit that you just can’t explain it. Would we, as Christians, be allowed to take this kind of position?

It should be clear through all of this that secular science has yet to provide us with a verifiable pathway to the creation of amino acids. There is certainly a great deal of speculation about the issue, but little in the way of evidence. When it comes right down to it, these scientists have not provided us with any evidence that the basic building blocks of life can be created through a solely natural process. So, once again the textbooks are filled with the language of faith. You’ll find all kinds of discussions about the creation of amino acids, but they’ll always be characterized by phrases like “…scientists continue to speculate…” as the secular scientific community continues to search for the answers while denying the possibility of the supernatural.

The Perfect Environment?
Another problematic area for the naturalistic perspective of science is the nature of the early earth and the environment it offers for the evolution of life. See, naturalists believe that there are only certain conditions in which the building blocks of life can emerge. And, of course, they would expect to see these conditions present on the early earth if their theory about origins is true. They have long imagined that life could not have emerged from a superheated environment or an environment that was so chaotic that it prevented the essential building blocks from developing. They have imagined a relatively benign and calm pre-biotic soup that would be kind of like the porridge in the story of the three bears. You know, not too cold, not too hot, but JUST RIGHT! But in addition to this, naturalists have always maintained that, just as Darwin described, the evolutionary process take a considerable amount of time, even under these required conditions. So if the naturalists are correct, an investigation of the ancient past should reveal two things. First, we should see the gradual emergence of life, and second, we should see this life emerge in conditions that are benign enough to allow the process to occur! So, is that what we see? Well, we need to return to our ancient earth rocks to see if either of these evidences are present to support the notion that primitive cellular life could have emerged naturally on our planet. As we said earlier, the oldest rocks on the planet are found in Greenland, South Africa and Australia. Let’s first take a look and see if they tell us the story of slowly emerging life. Scientists believe that these rocks are 3.5 to 3.8 billion years old! That’s VERY old and it’s going to be important to try to remember these dates. Scientists discovered something important in these rocks in Western Australia. They discovered fossils! That’s right, in the very oldest rocks that can be found on the planet, scientists discovered Stromatolite fossils. Stramatolites are MACROSCOPIC microbial gnats and their presence in the rock suggests that there is already a complex microbial community living on the planet even at this early date. In the oldest rocks that we can find, life is already present.

Now why is that so important? Because something amazing was happening on planet earth at nearly the same time! Scientists tell us that from 3.8 to 3.9 billion years ago, earth was experiencing what has been called the “Late Heavy Bombardment Period”. It is a time in earth’s history when asteroids from the outer regions of the solar system pelted the tar out of our planet! The number of hits to the planet’s surface was so large, that it turned the surface of the planet into an incredibly hot and chaotic magma ocean. This period in earth’s history has been termed the “Hadian” period. You may recognize the Greek root for this word, it appears in the Bible as the word “Hades” (we often translate it as “hell”). The term is appropriate, because earth was truly a hellish environment! You can imagine how hard the earth was hit by simply taking a look at the surface of the moon. Imagine how many strikes our young planet must have suffered in this period and imagine what the surface of earth must have looked like!

So, immediately following this crazy and hostile environment of the Late Heavy Bombardment Period, we discover something amazing and something that defies the scenarios imagined by the abiogenesis theorists. We find that life (metabolically complex life) is already in existence on planet earth. The two things that abiogenesis theorists need (time and a non-hostile environment) are missing from the historical record of planet earth. Life appears to be as old as the planet, and it defies the hostile environment that should not allow it to develop at all.

So it’s pretty clear that two expectations on the part of naturalists and abiogenesis theorists fail to come true in light of the physical evidence. Life is as old as the earth and there is simply not enough time for this life to develop under naturalistic explanations. In fact, the earth is far too hostile to allow for life to begin naturally! In light of these realities, science textbooks often find themselves speaking that same old language. You’ll often hear phrases like, “scientists continue to study…” or “scientists believe that life may have…” This is once again the language of faith and uncertainty. And it this seems to be a faith that is grounded not so much in the physical evidence, but in a strong desire to deny the supernatural.

One of the reasons that the Late Heavy Bombardment Period poses such a problem for abiogenesis theorists is because they have come to understand the complexity that even the simplest life forms have here on planet earth. It’s almost hard to grasp how incredibly complex the simplest single cell organism can be. It’s hard to imagine how amino acids can form into proteins and then proteins can form into the machinery that runs within each cell, but let’s give it a shot. OK, let’s begin by just imagining what it takes to form simple proteins. Imagine that I toss you a bag of pearls and we watched the bag hit the table. All the pearls spill out. Imagine the time that has to pass and the natural forces that have to come into play in order for these pearls to organize on their own and line up in rows. What are the odds of that happening? How long would it take to happen by chance? Now, how much longer would it take for these same pearls to not only line up on their own, but connect in a more permanent and beautifully complex manner, forming special clusters and patterns similar to necklaces and earrings? Can that actually happen by chance? Well, a lot more than that has to happen if amino acids are going to come together naturally and form proteins that will in turn be the building blocks for cellular life. Compared to the biological development of proteins, the pearl necklaces and earrings are far more likely to happen by chance!

Maybe DNA Can Help!
Maybe your thinking, hey there’s got to be something to make the process of moving from amino acids to proteins a little easier! Well, you right, there a genetic tool that helps guide the protein formation process. It’s called DNA! DNA is built with a series of sub-unit molecules and these molecules form the intricate helix shape that you probably recognize from your textbooks. DNA contains an incredible volume of information, like a huge library (literally) and the DNA guides the formation of proteins and dictates the characteristics of the organism. See, protein creation is easy with the assistance of DNA! But you may have noticed something. You may have noticed that the DNA needed to help form proteins is actually far more complex than the protein itself! Oh great, just when we thought things might be getting easier, they’ve actually gotten far worse! This level of complexity is even harder to understand and imagine as the result of an unguided random process of naturalism. See, the DNA strand contains sequences which guide the formation of proteins within the cell and the organism. The more complex the organism, the more complex the DNA of that organism. The more proteins required to build the cell, the longer the DNA information needed. That is a VERY simplified explanation, but I think you get the idea.

Scientists have now mapped out a number of species and organisms by looking carefully at the information in their DNA. They carefully look at the gene sequences and document and categorize these sequences. A variety of “genome projects” have now been completed and scientists are now able to determine something interesting. They are now able to make a very good estimate of the minimum number of gene products (proteins) that are required for an organism to live on it’s own, metabolize food, reproduce and qualify as a self sustaining form of life. Scientists are now able to estimate very accurately the minimum requirement for life. They’ve discovered that the simplest of life forms still require anywhere from 1500 to 1900 gene products (used to form proteins). That’s an important number, because it presents an impossibility for abiogenesis theorists.

Here’s the problem: researchers have done the calculations on the mathematical odds of such a simple organism developing on its own, through a natural process that is unguided. Let’s take a look at one estimation proposed by Hubert Yockey who published it in an article in the Jourrnal of Theoretical Biology. Here is what he calculated. Assume up front that there actually WAS a pre-biotic soup (a big stretch, I know). Now also assume that this soup contained the maximum number of amino acids, say 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (10 to the 44th power) amino acids (yes, I know that’s also a huge stretch, considering there is no evidence that amino acids can form naturally on the early earth, but go with me here). Now assume these amino acids could somehow come together randomly once every second and could somehow STICK together in a variety of shapes, trying to find the right combinations to create proteins (yet another stretch considering the process is unguided). Even with all these less than probable conditions, it’s not very likely that a single protein could be formed. In fact, here’s what the math looks like. Under these unlikely conditions it would take 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (10 to the 24th power) years for there to even be a 95% chance of a single protein being created.

Now those odds are important because researchers estimate the age of the universe to be about 13.8 billion years old. If that is true, then the entire universe has been in existence less than one trillionth of the time needed to create a single protein! See the problem here? Well it gets worse. Take this estimation of the time needed to form a single protein and extrapolate it across the simplest of life forms requiring 1500 to 1900 proteins to sustain minimum life. You’ve no just multiplied the odds against such a life form occurring naturally by 1500 to 1900! Are you starting to understand the long odds against minimum life forms developing on their own? But it gets even worse than this! It gets worse because simple cells are not just a matter of a specific NUMBER of gene products and proteins, they are a matter of a specific FUNCTIONAL ORGANIZATION of these parts! You don’t build an engine by throwing its two hundred parts on the floor of the garage! You have to assemble these two hundred parts together in a way that makes sense so that the parts all perform their specific function and purpose related to one another. So we’ve now taken the odds against the natural APPEARANCE of the proteins and multiplied it astronomically by requiring these proteins to FUNCTION and CONTRIBUTE in a SPECIFIC way! Think about that for a minute.

When you really think about the functional complexity of even the simplest life forms, and the odds against these forms coming together and developing on their own, you realize that early life is simply too complex and time consuming to occur as the result of natural processes. Maybe that’s why the textbooks are filled with faith language. You’ll read phrases like, “…many scientists postulate…” or “…scientists believe that someday they will learn…” Over and over again scientists couch their discoveries in terms that allow them to accept their theories by faith. It’s clear that science just doesn’t have all the answers. Now you may also hear the argument that just because science doesn’t have the answer, it doesn’t mean that they won’t someday figure it all out. You’ll hear them say something like, “Just because we haven’t proved our theory yet, doesn’t mean that it isn’t true…” Statements like this are simply an admission that they are unable to provide a creation story that is any more probable than ours. In fact, their creation story is even less probable because it is so unlikely, given the nature of THEIR OWN discoveries! They have to IGNORE the evidence to believe what they believe. We are simply FOLLOWING their evidence to believe what we believe!

God’s Continuing Role
I know that’s kind of a confusing question maybe, but I want you to think about the role that God has played in both your creation AND your continuing existence! He did more than just create you, He continues to keep your body generating heat, He continues to keep your heart beating! Let’s take a look at what God says! Let’s begin by taking a look at what God says through the psalmist in Psalm 139 and let’s take a look at it in two translations. Let’s read it in the New International Version first:

Psalm 139:15-16
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.

OK, now let’s read it in “The Message” version:

Psalm 139:15-16
You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.

OK, it’s pretty clear that God creates everything from nothing, and that includes us. What we are seeing when we examine the ancient past on our planet, is the creative activity of Almighty God. The scriptures say over and over again that God created everything from nothing, so we shouldn’t be surprised when we see life appear spontaneously and in a way that CANNOT be explained naturally. We also know from the scriptures that God is not the author of confusion and did not use the random process of macroevolution as his creative tool. You’ll see that this will be supported by the physical evidence as well. But for now, I want you to think about more than God’s creative power. Think about it for a minute. If God is powerful enough to CREATE us, He’s also powerful enough to be involved in keeping his creation alive. The Scriptures begin by telling us that God uses the elements He created in our world and somehow turns them into the living organisms that we call “humans”:

Genesis 2:7
“…the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

But He does more than that. The Scriptures also describe a very wise man of God named Job. Now, Job certainly had his share of troubles, but he understood the role that God continued to play in his life. He knew that God had created him just as Genesis said previously:

Job 33:4
The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

But He also knew that God had a role in his every day life. Job knew that God was the only reason why he CONTINUED to live:

Job 34:14-15
If it were his intention and he withdrew his spirit and breath, all mankind would perish together and man would return to the dust.

More Than Matter
See Job was light years ahead of his time. Today, scientists continue to study the phenomena and mysteries that they see in the human body. One amazing fact is that the human body continues to generate heat, and for some reason, your heart continues to pump! Now science can certainly examine the functional components and processes that cause your body to stay warm and your heart to continue to pump, but they cannot get to the SOURCE of this energy. They can see THAT these processes result in heat and energy, but they cannot tell us WHY they should result in heat and energy. Don’t you ever wonder why all of creation is driven toward LIFE? Why should it be this way? What is the source of all this energy? Job knew the answer to this. God is not just a CREATOR, He is also the SUSTAINOR! He continues to keep His creation going. If He stopped, we would all cease to exist. If life was just the proper organization of matter, we could probably generate life from chemicals right now. In addition, we could probably bring the dead back to life as well. But we know that there is more to the creation of life than simply the proper placement of the molecules. Life requires the mysterious and divine source of energy that drives all creation. Where does this energy come from? Your “legos” don’t become a work of art until you enter the picture as the builder. All the matter we see in our world doesn’t come to life unless a master builder enters the scenario.

So, What Now?
OK, you know that the Origin of Life cannot be explained naturally and you may already accept the possibility that God alone is the source of all life in the universe. Now that should give you something to think about. That alone should put you in a position of worship and awe. If there really is a God that powerful, why would we ever find ourselves acting as if there is no God at all? Why wouldn’t we trust a God that powerful? Well maybe it’s because we have been focusing on God’s CREATIVE power and not on God’s SUSTAINING power. Think not only about how powerful God must be to have created you, but also about the fact that God continues to KEEP you alive here on planet earth. Think about that for a minute. Why would God keep you here? What is it that He wants you to do with your life? If He didn’t think you had something to contribute, why would he keep you here? Have you been looking for your purpose in this life? Have you thought about why God would want you here? It seems reasonable to think that if God is actually expending some energy to keep your heart beating, you may want to think about why you’re here!

J. Warner Wallace