"Pre-biotic Soup"?: The Case for Faith

by Charles Colson

Breakpoint Commentary #010329 - 03/29/2001

In his new book, The Case for Faith, journalist Lee Strobel says he struggled to find answers to questions he thought blocked belief in God -- including scientific teachings that ruled out the God who created the heavens and the earth.

Strobel had always accepted Darwin's evolutionary theories. But the more he investigated Darwinism's claims, he writes, the more he questioned "whether the sweeping conclusions of Darwinists are really justified by the hard scientific facts."

For instance, Darwin's theory does not answer the fundamental question of how life began in the first place. Darwin presupposes that non-living chemicals could develop themselves into living matter, given the right amount of time and circumstances. Nobel Prize-winner Harold Urey agreed. He suggested that earth's primitive atmosphere -- composed of ammonia, methane, and hydrogen -- favored the emergence of organic compounds.

But in the 1980s, NASA scientists proved "that the primitive earth never had any ammonia, methane, or hydrogen," Strobel discovered. Instead, NASA found it was composed of water, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen. And as one scientist put it, "you absolutely cannot get the same experimental results with that mixture."

Scientists have proposed many other theories for how life originated -- everything from random chance to special delivery by aliens. Some have "used computer models to try to show how chemical reactions might have occurred," Strobel writes, "but these scenarios only work if the computer is programmed to eliminate some of the insurmountable obstacles that chemicals would have actually faced in the real world."

Many scientists now admit that research on origins of life has reached a dead end. A dead end, that is, only if one rejects Intelligent Design theory.

To evaluate the plausibility of Intelligent Design, Strobel went to Dr. Walter Bradley, former director of the Polymer Technology Center at Texas A&M University. Bradley is an expert on origin-of-life theories.

Bradley pointed out that for many years, scientists have used arguments based on analogies to things we understand to formulate new hypotheses in emerging areas of science. For example, he says, "If the only time we see written information -- whether it's a painting on a cave wall or a novel from Amazon.com -- is when there's an intelligence behind it," it makes sense to assume that this would be true of nature, as well.

Bradley reminded Strobel that "what is encoded on the DNA inside of every cell of every living creature is purely and simply written information." DNA's four- letter chemical alphabet combines to form words, sentences, and paragraphs. These comprise all the instructions the cell needs to guide its functioning.

"When we see written language, we can infer, based on our experience, that it has an intelligent cause," Bradley explains. "And we can legitimately use analogical reasoning to conclude that the . . . information sequences in DNA also had an intelligent cause."

Secular scientists reject Intelligent Design theory, Bradley believes, not for scientific reasons, but philosophical ones: They simply don't want to believe in God.

I hope you'll read Lee Strobel's book, The Case for Faith. You'll learn why Darwin's theory is as dead as he is. And you'll learn how strongly scientific evidence backs up the words of Genesis: "In the beginning, God."

For further reference:
Strobel, Lee. The Case for Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000.

Copyright (c) 2001 Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with permission.