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Where Did Life Come From?

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There are two ways of explaining where life came from. Those who believe in the theory of evolution say that the first life came into existence 4 or 5 billion years ago as a result of billions of years of accidental, random atomic collisions. As we stated on the Creation Versus Evolution page, scientists call this development of the first living organisms from nonliving matter abiogenesis. A second explanation is the view of the Bible—that God created life. On this page we will offer a short introduction to this topic of life’s origins.

Phylogenetic TreeThe image we have here is an example of a “tree of life” or “phylogenetic tree,” similar to one you might find in a public school science or biology textbook. It is meant to show visually how simple life evolved (according to Darwin’s theory of natural selection) into the plants, animals, and humans we see today. For example, the variations we see today in horses could add up over time, allowing some of these horses to change to the point that they are no longer horses. Scientists call this process of developing new life forms from existing (but different) life forms macroevolution.

This “tree of life,” like all the others, starts with some simple (cellular) life form as the base or “root.” It does not start from non life (such as some carbon atoms).

The Cladogram—A Sidestep

Evolutionary CladogramSome of the more sophisticated books supporting evolution have replaced the phylogenetic tree with a cladogram. Realizing that there are unbridgeable gaps in the fossil record, the idea of a gradual transition from one species to another has had to be reconsidered, and this has been reflected in the way that links between them are shown in diagrams. Where before fossils were placed in a line of supposed sequential evolution using phylogenetic trees, they are now presented in cladogram charts as relationships to each other. [1] It is interesting to note that acceptance of cladogram charts implies a rejection of Darwin’s theory of natural selection, since cladogram charts do not illustrate gradual change as an evolutionary mechanism.

A great deal of time, effort, and money have been spent trying to learn how evolution brought about the existence of these first living organisms (single cells). Although some scientists can make their beliefs sound very logical, the only scientific “proof” that anyone has provided is merely a statement of theory, something like “billions of years of random atomic collisions created life.” That is, scientists have never demonstrated how this first life came into existence from non life by an evolutionary mechanism.

People who believe in abiogenesis recognized this problem long ago. To explain this difficulty, scientists proposed that proteins and nucleic acids evolved first, and they later evolved into “life.” (That theory makes sense, since these two molecule groups are the primary building blocks of cellular and multicellular life.) However, as of this date, nobody has discovered any proof that proteins or nucleic acids could evolve from non life either. A review of the scientific literature makes this clear. Michael Behe sums it up well in his book Darwin’s Black Box.

    “There is no publication in the scientific literature—in prestigious journals, specialty journals, or books—that describes how molecular evolution of any real, complex, biochemical system either did occur or even might have occurred. There are assertions that such evolution occurred, but absolutely none are supported by pertinent experiments or calculations.” [2]

Looking at this evidence, we can make two observations:

  • Scientists and universities all around the world have been trying for over 100 years to prove that evolution is the mechanism that created life, yet no scientific evidence has been found.
  • Every experiment that does not support one point of view is actually proof for some other point of view.

Therefore, since the theory of evolution has failed to explain where life came from, most people would agree that it is time to consider the “second point of view.” The obvious choice, for those who can accept it, is that life came into existence through a creator—the God of the Bible. This fact, unlike the theory of evolution, is not in conflict with the scientific evidence.

For more information, see our Creation Versus Evolution page. We also suggest reading Darwin’s Black Box by Michael J. Behe, a Professor of Biochemistry at Lehigh University. (Note: In our opinion, Behe’s book is written for an audience that has at least a high school science background. If you would like something that is a little less “work” to read, try The Collapse of Evolution by Scott M. Huse.)


[1] Bowden, Malcolm (1991) Science vs Evolution, Sovereign Publications, Kent, p. 31
[2] Behe, Michael J. (1996) Darwin’s Black Box, Touchstone, New York, p. 185

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