Evolution and the Origin of Life

“I’m an atheist,” the young man stated boldly. He had a typical hipster appearance with long straggly hair and tattoos. His girlfriend was hanging on his arm.

“Would you say you’re an atheist or an agnostic?” I asked him. I explained, “An atheist says they know there is no God, but an agnostic says he doesn’t know whether there is a God or not.” I waited for his response, hoping the Lord was about to make another atheist backslide.

“I guess I’d say ‘atheist,’” he replied.

“Okay, so let me ask you another question: Do you know everything there is to know?”

“No.”

“Could there be a part of this universe or even outside of this universe where God exists? See, in order to say absolutely, positively that there is no God, you’d have to know everything there is to know. In effect, you’d have to be God. What do you think now – atheist or agnostic?”

“Yeah, I’d say I’m an agnostic,” he chuckled lightly.

“Okay, let me ask you a deep question – where do you think we came from? What is the origin of life?” I asked.

“Oh, evolution man,” he said with a smile.

“Well, evolution is the belief that one kind of animal can change into a totally different kind of animal through natural selection plus mutations. Actually, Darwin’s theory of evolution doesn’t speak to the origin of life. I see biblical and scientific problems with Darwin’s theory, but that’s a different topic. The question I am asking you is where did life come from?”

“The big bang,” he said without hesitation.

“I see. Well, what was in the beginning of the big bang? Matter, right? Matter and energy, but where did that matter come from?”

“Hmmm… I don’t know,” he answered with a puzzled look.

This is a typical conversation that I’ve had dozens of times as I share the gospel with folks.

One question that Christians frequently raise is “How do you get the conversation started?” Of course, there are many great ways, but one of my favorite tools is gospel tracts. I especially like the ones that are full color, look professional, and have an engaging and biblical gospel message. I’ll give them to cashiers, kids hanging around in a mall, waiters with a generous tip, and just about anyone. They are great ice breakers to get into a conversation about the person and work of Jesus Christ.

But more and more I run into an obstacle before I even get to speak of Jesus as the God-man who died on the cross for the sin of the world. That stumbling block is belief in evolution.

That’s where creation evangelism comes in. Creation evangelism is a powerful combination of creation apologetics and biblical evangelism. This one-two punch, delivered with gentleness and love can be powerfully used by God to give answers to those whose questions about God, creation, evolution and the origin of life have gone unanswered so far.

When talking with people who believe in evolution, I enjoy bringing up the topic of the origin of life. I like to explain that the theory of evolution doesn’t really have to do with the origin of life, but the origin of species. How life originally started is outside the general theory of evolution.

Big bang cosmology has to do with the origin of the universe and the implication is that life started sometime after that. The main argument that I use to challenge the belief that there is no Creator God is what I call the ‘Law of Biogenesis’ argument.

This is how a characteristic “Origin of Life” conversation goes:

“If you believe in the big bang, where did that piece of matter come from originally? What’s the origin of the ‘singularity’?”

The answer is usually “I don’t know,” or, “It has always existed.”

So I typically repond, “Let’s say it has always existed. Then you believe that billions of years ago, there was nothing but a piece of highly condensed matter, called a singularity, which suddenly exploded and out of the explosion came all this order and life itself. Is that right?”

“Yeah.”

“See I agree that something has always existed. If you think long enough and hard enough, you’ll have to conclude that something has always existed, something is eternal. For instance, let’s say you believe life came to Earth through aliens, the theory of panspermia. I’d ask you, where did that alien life come from? Maybe a different planet, right? And where did that alien life come from? Maybe a different universe, right? And where did that different universe life come from? You see where I’m going? Something was in the beginning; something has always existed.

So now let’s take our two different worldviews. I believe that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. You believe that in the beginning matter existed. They’re both belief systems by the way, each one of us cannot scientifically prove our belief ultimately. We both have faith in our different histories. But here’s the big question: Which one of our beliefs is supported by real operational science?

The “Law of Biogenesis”

You see, there is a law in the field of biology called the “Law of Biogenesis.” Back in the 1700s the consensus of the scientific community was a theory called “spontaneous generation”. This says that life can spontaneously generate from non-life, inorganic materials. They thought this was proven scientifically because they thought they saw examples of it such as rotting meat turn into maggots. Many believed that microorganisms like bacteria could spontaneously arise from non-living material.

In the 17th century, an Italian scientist named Redi demonstrated that if you cover the piece of rotting meat, it did not turn into maggots. But the meat left out in the open eventually had maggots crawling all over them. He showed that it wasn’t the meat spontaneously generating maggots, but flies were landing on the open meat, laying their eggs which then hatched as maggots.

Some time later Louis Pasteur came along and made some new discoveries, using operational science. Using controlled experiments with swan-necked flasks, he showed that even microscopic life originates from prior life. Thus, he proved the “Law of Biogenesis” which says that life comes from life. You see, life only comes from life, life has never been observed to come from non-life. The Law of Biogenesis destroyed the old theory of spontaneous generation.

Now, let’s look at the big bang theory, which is a belief that in the beginning there was matter and that matter exploded and out of that explosion came life. Well, that sounds like a form of the old discredited theory of spontaneous generation. To believe that, you have to have blind faith that life came from non-life (at least once) perhaps billions of years ago. But that goes against real observational science that life only comes from life.

I also believe that something has always existed. I believe that the Creator God, the one and only true God, the God of the Bible is eternal. In fact, Jesus Christ is called the “eternal life” (1 John 1:2). I believe that in the beginning was Life, Eternal Life, and He created lower life forms: human beings. This is in line with the Law of Biogenesis. You see, we both have beliefs about our origins, but your belief goes against observational science while my belief is in line with real science.

Now all of that has to do with where we came from, but the bigger question is where are we going? What do you think happens to you when you die?

From that point we’re off and running to the gospel of Jesus Christ!

I hope you see how creation evangelism can work. If evolution or belief in the big bang is a stumbling block for someone, we can use creation apologetics to demolish the stronghold of atheistic beliefs and then point people to the good news of Jesus Christ, which starts with the bad news of man’s depravity.

Be careful not to stay in the argumentation phases of apologetics too long. Aim to quickly make that deliberate transition to the gospel of Jesus Christ, because it is the gospel that is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).

Additional Learning on the Law of Biogenesis

Prayer

Pray that God will break down the stumbling blocks of unbelievers and the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ will go forth from the lips of believers.

Author: Tony Ramsek
Posted on March 13 2017
At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
Colossians 4:3-4