You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power;  for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created." (Revelation 4;11)
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Very Simple Observations and Concepts Show That Natural Processes Cannot Create Life

By Timothy R. Stout

      How did life appear? Many people claim that natural processes are sufficient in themselves to transform simple, naturally appearing chemicals into plants, animals, and people. No external help of any kind is needed. By contrast as we shall see, simple and conclusive observations from science show how and why this cannot happen. This in turn naturally leads to the conclusion that life must have originated from an intelligent, powerful source whose existence lies outside of natural laws and processes. In other words a Creator God is required to make the first appearance of the cells of physical life. The evidence is clear. People reject the obvious because of personal religious bias, not because of the strength of the evidence.

Part 1. The inadequacy of natural processes

      There are five simple, key observations that provide the foundation to understand why a natural origin of life is impossible:

1. Many chemical combinations of atoms are possible and are commonly found.

2. Only a very few, limited number of the total chemical possibilities are useful for life. The useful ones tend to be extremely difficult to form compared to the others. To be useful not only requires them to appear, but to do so in extremely specific, pure forms in reasonably high concentration at a specific location at a specific point in time. Even chemicals that could be useful at one point in time and location could work against life at another.

3. Natural processes will tend to produce the various chemical possibilities according to a natural distribution dependent upon the currently available mix of chemicals. This is a manifestation of the principal of entropy, which is one of the most basic laws of nature.

4. The resulting natural distribution works against a natural origin of life. Contaminants and poisons are consistently created in such large quantities that they make a natural appearance of life impossible. This has been confirmed by essentially every experiment performed in abiogenesis (the study of the origin of life).

KEY OBSERVATION: 5. There is no connection between the principles which produce the above natural distribution of chemicals and the principles which determine the products required for life. In other words, there is nothing to restrict natural processes from producing their normal, nonspecific distribution of products, such that only those required for life would be formed and at the specific time and place needed. It is this lack of a required constraining factor that makes a natural origin of life impossible. This applies to every hypothetical stage of abiogenesis. This is the key issue. Thousands of experiments have been performed in abiogenesis since Stanley Miller’s famous experiment in 1953. Not a single one of these experiments has taken starting chemicals appropriate for any stage of abiogenesis and then, using processes suitable for a pre-life environment and without human intervention, converted them into new products actually usable for a subsequent stage of advance. The universal failure of abiogenesis experiments can be traced back to this specific issue. Until abiogenists acknowledge and face up to this reality and provide a plausible, verifiable solution to it, experiments and discussions involving a natural origin of life are just so much play acting. This is the key, underlying problem the which renders the entire discussion about a natural origin of life meaningless.

      All five of these statements are consistent with experimentally observed results. They are conclusive. Natural processes produce chemicals that  interfere with and would prevent the appearance of life, not form it.

       Our pamphlet, How God Reveals Himself Through Science: Chemical Evolution Cannot Create Life discusses these issues in detail, particularly in the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th chapters. In the pamphlet I use the term “Abiogenetic Disconnects” to represent the above 5th concluding observation which defines the true problem.

 Part 2. Use of information in a cell requires its single-step, non-evolutionary initial appearance.

      An information-driven system must make a single-step first appearance (see our pamphlet, chapter 4). Computers and living cells are both examples of these systems. For instance, in a computer a large body of information must be stored in a medium. The information must be in fully working form from the beginning. At the same time, there must be a hardware mechanism capable of accurately reading the information from the medium, accurately decoding it, and effectively using it to accomplish a task. Neither the information nor the hardware apparatus can perform a useful task unless the other is present. Thus,a computer requires  both the hardware and the software (information) to be present simultaneously and in fully functioning form.

       Since by definition evolution is a process of gradual changes spread over many steps, evolution is by definition the opposite of a single-step appearance.  Therefore, evolutionary processes cannot bring about the initial appearance of an information-driven system such as a computer.

       A living cell is another form of an information-driven system. It requires a huge body of information in completed, functioning form, stored in a readable medium such as DNA. It also requires an adequate cellular means to read, decode, and effectively use the information.  None of these has value without the others. All four elements must make a sudden, single-step initial appearance in already working form. Evolutionary processes cannot bring about the initial appearance of a living cell.

Part 3. How coded information points to a Creator God.

      Beyond this, genetic information is coded. The code assigns meaning to a sequence of symbols. The invention of codes is a product of intelligence. Natural physical or chemical processes do not invent codes. They do not generate large blocks of coded information and store them in a medium. They do not build an apparatus to read, decode, and use stored information. In nature, only already living cells can do these things.

      The relationship between intelligence, codes, and information leads to another ramification. It  is one thing to intellectually design a system. It is yet another to have the capability to construct the hardware to implement the design and actually make it. To make the first cell required an exact placement of individual atoms and molecules to form a very large, complicated assembly and it needed to do this in a single step. The intelligent entity which designed life must have had a will, for it determined to do this and determined in advance how things would fit together. It had intelligence beyond comprehension as it figured out how to build a cell using mostly the common chemicals carbon,oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorous. It required the ability to place the atoms and molecules exactly where the plan called for them to be placed. We have already shown the the laws of physics and chemistry work against the appearance of life, not promote it. So, to make the first cell, this entity needed to have the capacity to work outside of the natural laws of physics and chemistry while it was building a cell which would function within those laws.

     What do you call an entity with intelligence beyond comprehension, with a will, and with the ability to assemble atoms and molecules according to a preplanned design without regard to the laws of physics and chemistry?  You call this entity God. Actually, this list of requirements gives the definition of a personal, living God. Therefore, the creation itself bears testimony of a living Creator God, One who has the attributes of intelligence, will, and power. Romans 1:20 says that God considers the evidence of Himself and His attributes to be so clearly revealed by the creation that a person is without excuse who does not receive Him. He does not recognize the validity of any excuse for atheism or agnosticism. Furthermore, He will hold each person accountable for what he does with the innate knowledge of Him provided by the creation. So, even though we are similar to the first living cell in that we can only function within the laws of physics and chemistry, our existence gives us irrefutable evidence of a miracle-working Creator who can work outside of those laws.

      A true understanding of the observed data of science do not lead to atheism and agnosticism, but to awe of the living, Creator God who made the things we see around us.

      Indeed, we read in the Bible in Revelation 4:11,

"You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created."