Life: God’s Creation or Abiogenesis?

Rat peeking over pebbles

How did it all begin?

by Curt Sewell

We all know the theory of evolution says that complex creatures have evolved from lower forms of life. But where did those lower forms come from? How did it all begin?

The ancient Greeks had a partial answer. They thought that small creatures sprang spontaneously from mud. Aristotle taught that plant-lice sprang full-grown from dew on plants. Others have said that rats were produced by piles of decaying rags, and that maggots came from decaying meat. Today these ideas are called spontaneous generation, or abiogenesis (that is, lifeforms derived from non-living matter). Anton von Leeuwenhoek in 1683, using his new high-power magnifier, gave science some formal basis for this belief, when he demonstrated the tremendous variety of microscopic organisms in nature, probably the first bacteria seen by man. These ubiquitous tiny creatures seemed to appear spontaneously, with no parents.

The ancient Hebrews, thousands of years before the Greeks, also had an answer. Their scriptures told how God had created the first plants and animals — all of the basic kinds that we see today — within a span of six days. He programmed their reproductive mechanisms so that they would reproduce “after their kind.” He equipped them with enough genetic variation to allow limited amounts of change from one generation to the next. Today this reproduction is referred to as biogenesis (that is, life comes only from other similar life).

These two widely differing views on the origin of life have always been controversial. In 1668 Francesco Redi showed that maggots only appeared on spoiled meat if flies had laid eggs there. If he placed a screen to keep flies off, no maggots appeared, even though fly eggs were on the screen. But it remained for creationist Louis Pasteur, in 1861, to describe his simple, yet elegant, experiment that finally proved that life came only from life. Pasteur used a glass flask having a long curved neck, filled with a broth. He first showed that if a broth was exposed to air containing microorganisms, it was soon swarming with microorganisms. However, if the air was first heated or adequately filtered, no growth in the broth was observed. But when that germ-laden filter was put in the broth, growth was immediate. He announced at the Sorbonne, “Never will the doctrine of spontaneous generation recover from the mortal blow of this simple experiment.”

Pasteur’s experiment is still accepted as proof against abiogenesis. But this leaves evolutionists with no source for small “simple” organisms — a key part of their mechanistic Weltanschauung, or world-view. Several schemes involving panspermia were proposed. These said that life seeds had been imported from outer space via comets or meteorites, or even by interplanetary travelers. This falls into the realm of science fiction — there’s no evidence of such a far-out happening, and much evidence against it. Some simple organic molecules have been found in meteorites, but nothing even remotely capable of life. Space is filled with deadly radiation that would destroy any form of lifelike molecules…

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