Science still asks many questions about the origin of life on earth. For example, New Scientist magazine has written: "There is much about planet earth that remains frustratingly unknown. How did it form from a cloud of dust? How did it manage to nurture life?" (Stuart Clark, "Unknown Earth: Our Planet's Seven Biggest Mysteries," Sept. 7, 2008).
Yet many scientists claim to understand the big picture. They generally say that the planets circling the sun "all formed from the same cloud of gas and dust that surrounded the sun at its centre, dust grains collided and stuck to each other, growing in size and generating ever larger gravitational fields. These clumps collided and merged, building the planets we know today. That's the big picture" (ibid., emphasis added throughout).
But is it really? Who in fact truly possesses the big picture? Do not Darwinians and other proponents of evolution casually overlook the truths revealed by the divine Creator who "inhabits eternity"? (Isaiah 57:15).
A large percentage of scientists believe the formation of our planet is the product of unplanned accidents. Likewise, the origin of life and all its marvelous complexity, they believe, is nothing more than the result of a series of chance events.
Do we really believe this? Could it be that a much more credible explanation is readily available?
Creation: A valid alternative?
The Bible tells its own story about the formation of our planet. Genesis 1:1 presents an overall picture: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Along with the rest of this chapter, other parts of the Bible provide us with many additional intriguing details.
Long ago God asked the patriarch Job: "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?" (Job 38:4). This remains a humbling question for everyone today. None of us were present to witness the creation. Adam and Eve came along only after the physical creation was finished. Yet our first parents were the crown of God's work because, unlike the animals, they were made in His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27; 5:1-2).
God questioned Job even further about the earth's origins: "Who determined its measurements? ... Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars [the angelic host] sang together and all the sons of God [again, the angels] shouted for joy?" (Job 38:5-7). A great number of scientists assume that the proportions of the earth were just a fortuitous accident. God says He deliberately measured it.
This entire biblical passage describes acts of intricate planning and forethought. The Creator compares His creative works to that of a builder. The apostle Paul plainly wrote that "God is not the author of confusion"—or for that matter, accidents (1 Corinthians 14:33).
Paul told a congregation that had allowed some things to get out of control, "Let all things be done decently and in order" (verse 40). How much more would our Creator Himself do things in perfect order? He first planned, and then He executed His plans perfectly. One cannot read chapters 38 through 41 of the book of Job without understanding that God plans His creative acts in great detail.
The prophet Isaiah records other important declarations directly from our Creator: "My hand has laid the foundation of the earth" (Isaiah 48:13). A little earlier Isaiah had also stated: "Thus says God the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it" (Isaiah 42:5).
As Sir Jonathan Sacks, the chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, has written: "The believer might wonder, as does Lord Rees, president of the Royal Society, in his Just Six Numbers, at the extraordinary precision of the six mathematical constants that determine the shape of the Universe, such that if even one were fractionally different neither we nor the Universe would exist" ("Genesis and the Origin of the Origin of the Species," The Times [London], Aug. 30, 2008).
What the creation teaches mankind
The apostle Paul declared, "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse" (Romans 1:20, New International Version).
But instead of those among the intelligentsia abiding by what they already knew about God from His glorious creation, they have often "changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things" (verse 23). Today men prefer to almost deify evolution by teaching that human beings gradually emerged through a slow process of natural selection.
Yet the marvels of creation are meant to teach us God's nature and how He thinks and plans. King David of Israel often meditated on the heavenly bodies—"your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars, which you have set in place" (Psalm 8:3, NIV)—and was inspired by these wonderful works of God.
Moved by the magnificence of what he saw, David wrote: "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world" (Psalm 19:1-4, NIV). Their mute but powerful testimony can be witnessed from every point on our planet!
The Bible tells us that the Creator "sits above the circle of the earth" and "stretches out the heavens like a curtain" (Isaiah 40:22). He revealed that the earth is round long before this truth dawned on most of mankind.
God affirmed His own creative action in Isaiah 45:12: "I am the one who made the earth and created people to live on it. With my hands I stretched out the heavens. All the millions of stars are at my command" (Isaiah 45:12, New Living Translation).
The role of men and the image of God
Astrophysicist Paul Davies has written: "We human beings have been made privy to the deepest workings of the universe. Other animals observe the same natural phenomena as we do, but alone among the creatures on the planet, Homo sapiens can also explain them. How has this come about?
"Somehow the universe has engineered not just its own awareness, but its own comprehension. Mindless, blundering atoms have conspired to make, not just life, not just mind, but understanding. The evolving cosmos has spawned beings who are able not merely to watch the show, but to unravel the plot. What is it that enables something so small and delicate and adapted to terrestrial life as the human brain to engage with the totality of the cosmos and the silent mathematical tune to which it dances?" (The Goldilocks Enigma, 2007, p. 5).
Scientists often ask the right questions, but do not always come up with the right answers. The Bible reveals that man is not an animal in the spiritual sense. Nor has the universe engineered human comprehension. Nor have "mindless, blundering atoms" caused human understanding. Nor has the so-called evolving cosmos spawned human beings. Instead, the Almighty God created man with all of these wondrous capacities.
Indeed, human beings were made in the very image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Later, God testified of man's awesome potential as He observed humanity's rebellious activities at the Tower of Babel: "And this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do" (Genesis 11:6, King James Version).
Why do human beings have this magnificent, though sadly misused, gift of imagination? "But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding" (Job 32:8, NIV).
Why life only on planet earth?
The New Scientist cover article mentioned earlier asked a highly relevant question: "How come Earth got all the good stuff?" Indeed, why is our planet so suitable for sustaining life?
The article continued, "We know that its distance from the sun provides the right amount of heat and the light to make the planet habitable." Venus is by far too hot, at more than 900 degrees Fahrenheit, and Mars far too cold. Why is the position of the earth just right?
Is this fortunate distance from the sun just a lucky coincidence—or much more likely a natural result of divine planning and forethought? Isn't this yet another big reason for believing in the Creator?
But let's not stop there. "Without the unique mix of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulphur that makes up living things, and without liquid water, life as we know it could not have evolved" (ibid.).
This unique mix of elements just conveniently happened so life could evolve? Or is this perfect combination of chemical elements more marvelous testimony to the fact that we can understand the Creator's mind through the creation itself, as Romans 1:20 attests? Science has provided mankind with many wondrous facts, but evolutionary scientists have drawn erroneous conclusions from those basic facts.
Yet many mysteries still remain for scientific thinkers. "Another big unknown is how Earth acquired its life-giving water supply. Being so close to the sun, it was probably too hot for water to simply condense out of the gas cloud as the planet formed" (ibid.).
One thing is for sure. If our planet were only a little closer to or farther away from the sun, the earth's water supply would either be evaporated away or frozen as ice. Either way, life as we know it would be impossible. You and I wouldn't exist.
New Scientist got its established facts right and, as mentioned, even asked some of the right questions: "Chemically speaking, Earth is simply better set up for life than its neighbours [the other planets in our solar system]. So how come we got all the good stuff?" This question still confronts us: Was it by sheer accident or by deliberate divine planning?
What really occurred remains firmly based in the creative nature and character of God. "For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who has established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited" (Isaiah 45:18). As Sir Jonathan Sacks observed, "The more we know about the intricacy and improbability of life, the more reason we have to wonder and give thanks" (The Times, Aug. 30, 2008).
The origin of life
But God gets no credit from strict evolutionists. Charles Darwin thought that life first emerged in a "warm little pond." Modern evolutionists have updated his speculation, proposing a "hot, briny liquid cauldron." Many evolutionists believe men are at one with the fish, having evolved into primates from the sea. While there may be common language in the genes, the only point this really demonstrates is one Master Designer.
God is the ultimate intelligent Designer who employed a basic template, so to speak. Incredible interdependency becomes obvious when we study the many forms of life in detail. The complex yet common design existing in this awesome universe shows one Architect, one Designer who crafted everything within an intricately planned framework into which all forms of life suitably fit.
Isn't God the giver of life? Genesis 1:21-25 tells us that the fish, the birds and the mammals were each created "according to its kind." Each kind of life was separately created. The apostle Paul made this astute observation: "All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish and another of birds" (1 Corinthians 15:39). This passage confirms what Genesis 1:21-25 reveals about separate kinds.
These basic biblical kinds did not and do not evolve into one another. Of course, it is certainly true that many varieties exist, say, within the basic dog "kind." But they cannot reproduce with any variety of the cat family. Neither dogs nor cats nor any other species show any evidence of eventually becoming another basic kind. There has been no crossover.
But did human life evolve? Naturalist Sir David Attenborough stated in an interview that to him, "it always seemed clear that we were related to monkeys" (Damian Whitworth, "David Attenborough on Charles Darwin," The Times, Jan. 22, 2009). Did African apes or Asian orangutans gradually evolve into human beings?
The biblical testimony is clear and unequivocal. Having been created in His image, humankind—both men and women—are patterned after the God kind (Genesis 1:26-27). The first man was a son of God by creation (Luke 3:38). The early chapters of Genesis tell us that Adam was the first human being, and Jesus Christ confirmed that Adam and his wife Eve constituted the first human couple (see Matthew 19:4-5; Mark 10:6-7). Later Paul affirmed that Adam was the first man (1 Corinthians 15:45). He also restated that "Adam was formed first, then Eve" (1 Timothy 2:13).
Perhaps the most marvelous masterpiece of all of God's designs is expressed in our own human bodies of both genders. King David of Israel was deeply moved to say, "I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14).
Many of our senior readers may remember that Reader's Digest once ran a series of intriguing articles about the wonders of the different parts of the human body under titles like "I Am Joe's Heart" and "I Am Jane's Womb." Think about who is responsible for the intricate marvels of our human ears and eyes: "Does the one who shaped the ear not hear? The one who formed the eye not see?" (Psalm 94:9, New American Bible).
Doesn't the extraordinary complexity of our own human frames testify to the existence of a Great Designer?
What evolution cannot explain
Well-known British atheist Peter Atkins states at the end of his book The Second Law: "We are the children of chaos, and the deep structure of change is decay. At root, there is only corruption, and the unstemmable tide of chaos. Gone is purpose ... This is the bleakness we have to accept as we peer deeply and dispassionately into the heart of the Universe" (1984, p. 200)
This reflects the disheartening emptiness we are left with if we deliberately choose not to believe in (or avoid seeking to prove) God's existence—and then reject His plan and purpose for our lives.
The atheistic theory of evolution supposes that life evolved by sheer chance. Yet evolution cannot provide any meaning and purpose for the presence of human life on planet Earth. Nor can it supply any credible explanation for the amazing intellect and creative capabilities of mankind.
This erroneous theory provides no hope for the future of our chaotic civilization. It offers no real reason for the cause of all the appalling problems afflicting our age. How can we make awesome technological progress but at the same time not yet understand how to effectively deal with the escalating evils that threaten to overwhelm us?
And yet, divine creation helps explain everything when we really come to know and understand its many implications. Scientists continue searching in vain for a theory that explains everything—when we already have one!
Ultimately, only the Bible explains both the origin and meaning of life on earth. Only God's prophetic Word reveals where mankind is really headed as we face an otherwise unknown and increasingly uncertain future. The Bible reveals why humanity exists and the majestic nature of our final destiny. Atheistic evolution, sadly, has no clue and no say! GN