Science And The Origin Of Life

Commentary by Roger Oakland

The debate over the topic of origins has been going on for centuries. When it comes to who we are and where we have come from, people have strong opinions.

But opinions without facts are useless from a scientific viewpoint. Furthermore, there is a serious problem when we attempt to apply scientific principles to events that occurred in the unobservable past. No one was there to make first hand observation. How, therefore, can we ever know the truth about origins?

Such is the nature of the creation-evolution debate. Evolutionists insist their view is purely scientific and that those who oppose this naturalistic mechanistic explanation are religious fundamentalists who “just believe” no matter what facts are presented. Those who believe in creation can sometimes be equally as opinionated and even sarcastic, sometimes uttering some very uncomplimentary comments.

We should always remember, when it comes to discussing origins, there are limitations. Although both evolutionists and creationists claim they can prove their views, substantiating what has occurred in the unobservable past is not in the realm of science.

Design by Chance?

Intelligent design is a term that is common these days, especially among those who are involved in the creation-evolution debate. Creationists claim design we see in living creatures is the product of an Intelligent Designer. Evolutionists say design does not require a designer and is merely the product of chance.

Perhaps it is time that you spend a few moments thinking about the complexity of life. How could non-living matter be assembled and organized to become living creatures by chance? Is life the product of natural processes or is there an Intelligent Designer?

Before Darwin’s theory of evolution was popularized, William Paley proposed the “watch requires a watchmaker” argument in support of the creation view. However, Darwinists have always claimed that Paley’s idea lacked “scientific credibility”. For example, the following statement by Richard Dawkins from his book The Blind Watchmaker makes this point:

Paley’s argument is made with passionate sincerity and is informed by the best biological scholarship of the day, but it is wrong, gloriously and utterly wrong. The analogy between telescope and eye, between watch and living organism, is false. All appearances to the contrary, the only watchmaker in nature is the blind forces of physics, albeit deployed in a very special way. A true watchmaker has foresight: he designs his cogs and springs, and plans their interconnections, with a future purpose in his mind’s eye. Natural selection, the blind unconscious process which Darwin discovered, and which we now know is the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life, has no purpose in mind. [1]


It should be noted that Richard Dawkins is Britain’s most outspoken promoter of Darwinian evolution. He heads up the Department of Public Understanding of Science based in Oxford, England. It is his goal to educate the British people to the idea that evolution is science and creation is religion.

John Reader, another promoter of evolution, in the conclusion of his book The Rise of Life: The First 3.5 Billion Years, recognizes each one of us has a choice whether or not we believe in a Designer. He, however, wholeheartedly rejects the creation view. As he stated:

The simplest explanation attributes life on Earth to the work of some supernatural force which has ordered that things be so. This explanation has the unquestioned merit of encompassing everything; there is nothing that the invocation of a supernatural force cannot explain. No question remains if God was behind it all – belief in the omnipotent God is all that is required. [2]



So there it is. As Reader says, while believing in God is simple, it is simply wrong. But what if he is wrong? What if there is a God who created?

I like what the apostle Paul stated in Romans chapter one – the evidence that God has created is so obvious from the things that He has made, we are without excuse if we reject that evidence. Professing to wise, we become fools. From a biblical perspective, it is the evolutionist who is the foolish one for not seeing that design requires a Designer.

When it comes to determining the truth about origins, let’s stick with the facts. The conclusion you come to regarding why you exist is very important.

[1] Richard Dawkins, “The Blind Watchmaker,” (New York: WW. Norton and Company, 1987, p. 5

[2] John Reader, The Rise of Life: The First 3.5 Billion Years, Alfred A. Knopf, 1986, p.9