A focused way of asking this question is: Can we explain the existence of life without recognizing that its creation was a miracle? When prominent atheist turned agnostic Richard Dawkins was asked how life began, he replied by saying he had no idea. Indeed, the most important mystery in biology today is the creation of life. Is it, then, a miracle?
Why is life a mystery? All life requires information storage devices known as chromosomes. Their DNA and proteins are too tiny to be seen by the naked eye, or even under a normal microscope, yet DNA has a sophistication and complexity that scientists have barely figured out. Given the amazing sophistication and complexity of DNA and given that even the simplest living organisms contain DNA, what are the chances that the DNA necessary for life could come about by random circumstances? None whatsoever. To suggest that DNA could have come into existence by random materialistic forces is to leave the real world behind and descend into the world of fantasy.
But as amazing as DNA is, the information it carries is even more astonishing. How can information be created by non-living matter? It can’t. Because of this difficulty for evolutionists, well-known scientist Michael Behe has observed that one-third of academic biologists now conclude that Darwin’s theory is inadequate to explain life. These biologists know, among other considerations, that Darwinism cannot explain the information necessary for life. Such scientists typically keep their views to themselves, however, in order to avoid the persecution they will face if they make their viewpoints public.
Darwin avoided the question of how life began. Darwin and his early followers incorrectly assumed the cell was a simple structure. Today’s scientists, by contrast, have concluded that cells are extraordinarily complex. Cells can make enzymes, make a cell membrane, move about, digest things, react to hot or cold, reproduce, etc. This means that even a single-celled organism is extraordinarily complex—far more complex than the computer with its word-processor that I am using to describe it. Nature alone cannot create complex information.
The big question of our time is not the origin of species. The big question is the origin of information, and we cannot explain the origin of information without seeing its creation as a grand miracle. Can materialistic science (a world without miracles) explain the information within lifeforms? It cannot. A world without miracles must be a world without life. The Apostle Paul said it this way:
For His [God’s] invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world in the things that have been made. (Romans 1:20)
As Paul said, when we observe the amazing complexity of life, the existence of God and his miraculous creation are “clearly seen.” God and His miracles are obvious from observing what He has created. Those who refuse to see the miracle of life are unable to see its divine origin.
When we realize that all of life is a miracle, then other events such as the resurrection of our Lord, or the Red Sea crossing, do not seem all that surprising. As criminal investigator J. Warner Wallace realized, a fair-minded investigation must follow the evidence to where it leads:
If the evidence pointed to the reasonable existence of God, this certainly opened up the possibility of the miraculous. If God did exist, He was the creator of everything we see in the universe. He, therefore, created matter from nonmatter, life from nonlife. He created all time and space. God’s creation of the universe would certainly be nothing short of…miraculous.
Is this a reasonable conclusion? The Apostle Paul in Romans 1:20 says it is. King David expressed the same idea in Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.” A fairminded study of the world we live in leads to the same conclusion. We make no apologies for recognizing it as true.
Allen Quist is author of The Reason I Believe: The Basics of Christian Apologetics and also Evidence That the Bible Is True: The Apologetics of Biblical Reliability.