Many people believe that the universe, including all forms of life, was created by a Supreme Being who is generally referred to as God. However, many other people believe that the universe, including all forms of life, came into existence as a result of a completely random universal force they might refer to as “nature.” Can this disparity be reconciled by assuming that nature is synonymous with God?
Since there is disagreement regarding how the universe was created, we will focus primarily on what various sources have to say with regard to whether or not scientists have been able to substantiate the validity of the basis for their belief that nature created life from inanimate matter.
The Christian Science Monitor says on its web site,
Where does life come from? Despite years of research, scientists still rack their brains over this most existential question. If the universe did begin with a rapid expansion, per the Big Bang theory, then life as we know it sprung from nonliving matter. How this process, known as abiogenesis, could have occurred is a source of much scientific debate.
Wikipedia defines abiogenesis as follows:
Abiogenesis, or informally the origin of life, is the natural process by which life has arisen from non-living matter, such as simple organic compounds. While the details of this process are still unknown, the prevailing scientific hypothesis is that the transition from non-living to living entities was not a single event, but an evolutionary process of increasing complexity that involved molecular self-replication, self-assembly, autocatalysis, and the emergence of cell membranes. Although the occurrence of abiogenesis is uncontroversial among scientists, its possible mechanisms are poorly understood.
However, Encyclopedia Britannica’s web site indicates that abiogenesis is not sufficiently proven, stating,
There remain many unanswered questions concerning abiogenesis. Experiments have yet to demonstrate the complete transition of inorganic materials to structures like protobionts and protocells. . . . [Note: A protobiont or protocell is a self-organized, endogenously ordered, spherical collection of lipids proposed as a stepping-stone toward the origin of life.]
And, the following comments on the Creation Ministries International web site support Britannica’s assessment:
Extraordinary media fanfare accompanied recent ‘breakthroughs’ in genetic research. The extravagant claims of some news reports about the first DNA mapping of a human chromosome . . . were matched shortly afterward when another research milestone was heralded by headlines like ‘blueprint for creating artificial life is discovered.’ Scientists were said to be on the threshold of creating life in the lab ‘from scratch’5 by synthesizing genes to form ‘a new type of life’.
However, it turns out that geneticists are not about to create life, but that they have used molecular tools to ‘knock out’ hundreds of genes, one at a time, from the world’s simplest one-celled organisms – mycoplasma bacteria. By seeing which knock-outs were lethal, the geneticists came up with an estimate of the minimum number of genes ‘essential’ for life. As the more discerning of the public commentators have also noted, this is a far cry from creating life from scratch.
Furthermore, the web site of Answers in Genesis declares,
Scientists have assembled a bacterial chromosome . . . patterned after an existing bacterial chromosome. But all the components already existed. They were not created from scratch; instead, a bacterium was simply rebuilt.
In the current breakthrough, [J. Craig Venter Institute] used ordinary chemicals to construct a custom genome; though, they received very significant “help” from preexisting organisms.
[T]his research . . . has nothing to do with evolution in the molecules-to-man sense. . . . Even the researchers have acknowledged that this first synthetic cell is more a re-creation of existing life—changing one simple type of bacterium into another. While Venter [the man for whom the aforementioned Institute is named] claimed, “We have passed through a critical psychological barrier. It has changed my own thinking, both scientifically and philosophically, about life, and how it works,” he was also quite clear that [his team] “didn’t create life from scratch.”
The foregoing sources indicate that abiogenesis is a disputed theory, and we have been unable to find any source which indicates that scientists have been able to create any form of life from inanimate (i.e., nonliving) matter. Therefore, there is no conclusive proof that even the simplest forms of life can be created solely from inanimate matter as a result of a completely random nebulous force such as nature.
So, why are many people reluctant to believe that all life was created by God, rather than by nature or some other completely random universal force?
It is likely that there are several reasons for such reluctance, but probably the primary reason is that, despite evidence to the contrary, many people incorrectly believe that scientists are able to create life, albeit simple forms of life, from inanimate matter and, therefore, they think that a force, such as nature, could have done likewise. Related to this reason is the erroneous belief that scientists have been able to calculate probabilities that can be relied on to conclude that the universe, including all forms of life, could have come into existence as a result of mere chance.
A second probable reason why many people do not believe that God created the universe and all life is that they do not believe in the supernatural. Therefore, although they realize that some power or force caused the universe, including living organisms, to come into existence, they are not willing to seriously consider all the evidence that God does exist and that He did create the universe and every form of life. [For a discussion of the evidence that God exists, click on “Evidence that God Exists.”]
A third probable reason why many people are reluctant to believe that God created the universe, including all life, is that they, like every other human being, are sinful, as indicated by Romans 3:10 and 3:23. As a result, these people are reluctant, if not completely unwilling, to be accountable to anyone, including a supernatural Being whom they cannot see or prove scientifically. And, because these people do not want to believe that God exists, many of them attribute creative abilities to nature, or perhaps to some other completely random force.
In contrast, the Bible indicates that God wants every person to give Him the glory for His creation, which includes the universe and all life (see 2 Corinthians 4:6). The Bible makes it clear that God is not a completely random force such as nature and that He is the creator of the universe, including all life. Therefore, there is no valid reason to think that nature is synonymous with God.
Both Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1 declare, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” But, there is more than ample evidence that God is a reality, not just a mythical Being who exists only in people’s imagination. [Note: For a discussion regarding the reasons to believe that God exists, see “Evidence that God Exists,” which can be accessed by clicking on its title.]