Almost a Miracle
This is part of a quote from Nobel Prize laureate Francis Crick. For those who may not be familiar with him, he is one-half of the duo that discovered the structure of the basic building blocks of life, the Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecule. In 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick were able to build upon the work of English chemist and X-ray crystallographer Rosalind Franklin. She made contributions to the understanding of the molecular structures of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), RNA (ribonucleic acid), viruses, coal, and graphite. Because Dr. Franklin died of cancer at the age of 37 in 1958, she was not honored along with Watson, Crick and British physicist and molecular biologist Maurice Wilkins who all shared the Nobel Prize for their work with regard to DNA in 1962. Ironically, it was Wilkins who showed Franklin’s high quality X-ray diffraction image of the DNA molecule (Photo 51) to Watson and Crick. He did this without Franklin’s knowledge or permission. That, along with the fact that the structure of DNA was not conclusively demonstrated until the late 1950’s, might have been a reason for not mentioning Dr. Franklin’s work when that Nobel Prize was given.
I am sharing the background of this momentous discovery for two reasons. I consider the contributions that Rosalind Franklin made to the discovery of the structure of DNA to be an essential part of the story concerning this basic building block of life. Even though she was posthumously honored for her work dozens of times, there is little doubt that the sexism of that era contributed to the way Franklin treated with regard to her part in the discovery of the structure of DNA.
The Miraculous Origin of Life
This brings me to the point of this short essay. In the 1960’s, the concept that we were alone in the universe was almost generally accepted as true by the scientific community. The search for extraterrestrial life was relegated to the imagination of science fiction writers. But in 1981, Crick wrote the following in his book Life Itself: Its Origins and Nature:
An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going. But this should not be taken to imply that there are good reasons to believe that it could not have started on the earth by a perfectly reasonable sequence of fairly ordinary chemical reactions. The plain fact is that the time available was too long, the many microenvironments on the earth's surface too diverse, the various chemical possibilities too numerous and our own knowledge and imagination too feeble to allow us to be able to unravel exactly how it might or might not have happened such a long time ago, especially as we have no experimental evidence from that era to check our ideas against.
As we can see, Crick describes the origin of life as being “almost a miracle.” However, he clearly believed that you will be able to demonstrate there are good reasons to believe that molecules, under the right circumstances, can evolve into men. The only problem with this statement is that it is nothing more than pure speculation. Apart from being an oversimplification of enormous proportions, the deliberate search for extraterrestrial life has produced nothing but more speculation. Jacques Monod, a French biochemist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1965, concurs with Crick. In his 1976 book, Chance and Necessity, Monod wrote:
“Man knows at last that he is alone to the indifferent immensity of the universe, whence which he has emerged by chance.”
What is the scientific basis for such a statement? Nothing but that fact that life does exist. To ascribe the miracle of life to chance or a series of serendipitous chemical reactions is nothing more than foolishness dressed up in scientific sounding jargon. I refer to this as the “Whoop, there it is” version of the origin of life. Do not doubt this characterization. Astrobiologists are scouring the known universe for Goldilocks planets with confidence that one of the alleged 11 billion of them might be harboring some form of life.
Today, most of the atheist and agnostic scientists agree with Carl Sagan who once said, “The origin of life cannot be that hard, or it would not have popped up so quickly once the Earth became hospitable.” This hopeful attitude is rooted in belief that the universe is so immense that there just has to be life out there somewhere. This Pollyanna-like mindset flies in the face of the facts. The more we discover about life at its most basic level, the more we realize that life is incredibly complex. Even the beauty of the double helix DNA molecule humbles those who understand the near perfection of its design. In addition to this highly improbable scenario, we know that the enormity of the known universe (remember that only 5% of the known universe is visible to the naked eye) is dwarfed by the odds against the forming of even the simplest organic molecules by random chance alone.
Hope springs eternal in the mind of the evolutionist
There can be no doubt that the discovery of the DNA molecule has been truly revolutionary. In order to propose a creation without a Creator, evolutionary cosmologists and biologists have had to jettison the concept that life is a bye-product of random chemical reactions. In its place, they have had to propose that life is the result of some kind of directional self-organization that favors one organism over another. Although natural selection has been used to explain how living organisms evolve, this mechanism, even when coupled with the ever-elusive beneficial mutation, has proven itself to be woefully inadequate. The problem was summed up by anti-evolutionist Harvard Professor, Louis Agassiz, who famously pointed out that “Natural Selection can explain the survival of the fittest, but not the arrival of the fittest.”
The problem was summed up by anti-evolutionist Harvard Professor, Louis Agassiz, who famously pointed out that “Natural Selection can explain the survival of the fittest, but not the arrival of the fittest.”
These mechanisms cannot produce the types of changes that can morph a single-celled microorganism into both a blue whale and a conifer tree, a bombardier beetle and a dandelion. For this reason, although natural selection remains the central mechanism of Darwinian evolution, most modern evolutionary biologists agree that natural selection and beneficial mutation alone cannot produce the wildly different varieties of flora and fauna we find on our planet.
Now the evolutionary faithful are proposing that our search for life is too narrow. They ask why should we limit the search for extraterrestrial life to carbon-based lifeforms? It is due to the fact that more than 150 years later, the evidence for Darwin’s Theory is inconclusive at best, and MIA at worst. It is for these reasons that Francis Crick began to speculate that deoxyribonucleic acid might just be the result of alien experiments. In short, Crick’s solution for the lack of evidence concerning the origin of DNA was to offer more speculation.
This time, he offered the theory of Directed Panspermia. This theory is based upon an earlier work by Shklovskii and Sagan in 1966 titled simply “Panspermia.” This theory postulated the deliberate transport of microorganisms in space to seed the building blocks of life throughout the universe. Directed Panspermia replaced the debunked theory by Shklovskii and Sagan who, 6 years earlier hypothesized that spores might have made the voyage from somewhere in outer space and landed on our planet. Crick, and his co-author, L.E. Orgel, wrote their paper “Directed Panspermia” in 1973 opening the door to even more speculation. Evidently, ET not only made a house call, he, she or it had paid us a visit with the expressed goal of sowing its wild alien oats.
At the Creation Studies Institute, we would hardily agree with Francis Crick and the vast majority of evolutionary scientists who consider the origin of life a miracle. A biblical miracle is defined as an event where the laws of nature are suspended. The Messiah turning water into wine at the Marriage feast in Cana, iron floating on the surface of the Jordan River, and the parting of the Red Sea with the Israelites walking though it on dry ground are just a few of the miracles recorded in the Word of God. There can be no greater miracle than the incarnation of the Messiah, Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob became the Lamb of God so that sinners could be transformed into saints. This is also a true miracle.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new… 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him, II Cor. 5:17-21
We want you to partner with us to continue to fight this good fight. We see how the enemy of our souls has been making inroads into the body of believers. Today very few preachers and teachers are standing firm in the defense of the Creator. We are told that few of today’s pastors are preaching the pro-life message. Even fewer are vocal in the defense of “In the beginning, God created…” Gen. 1:1.
The book of Genesis is the foundational book of God’s Word. Attempting to spiritualize God’s Word or inject the billions of years of the evolutionary timescale into the Hebrew Scriptures compromise the integrity of the Bible as well as the Author of the Bible. It is only by grace through faith that we can continue to minister the gospel of Jesus Christ. We cannot do it without your help.
Submitted by Pastor Steven Rowitt, Ph.D.