Michael G. Coleman
Faith and Science: What evidence from Creation may the average person observe?
Does one need to be a scientist, philosopher, or theologian in order to understand evidence for biblical creation or is such evidence accessible and comprehensible to the average person? What evidence for biblical creation may the average person observe? Let us ask ourselves another question that might help us to answer the two previous questions: What were the signers of the American Declaration of Independence doing when they attached their signatures to the following words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”? They were appealing to the reasonable inference that individual rights is based on the presupposition that human beings were created by God and that the Creator has a higher purpose for human beings than all other life forms on earth.
While philosophers and scientists might debate the meaning and significance of the above arguments from the Declaration of Independence, the average person recognizes the reasonableness of such conclusions. In similar manner to the logic in the Declaration of Independence for the grounding of human rights in Creation, there are evidences that laypersons can readily understand that support the notion that the world and humanity are products of God’s design, not chance. Below I highlight a few evidences for biblical creation from biology, human intelligence, and the laws of nature that the average non-expert may observe and comprehend. Although I am not an expert in the field of science, I provide material from scientific research that gives solid empirical support to my arguments. This is done with the understanding that even complex and nuanced data can be presented in a simple user-friendly manner that is likely to be palatable to the average person. The selected scientific information presented in this post is fairly straightforward and easy to understand.
Evidence from Biology
The Bible states in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Furthermore, the Scriptures states concerning God, “All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3 NKJV). One does not need to be a scientist or an expert to understand that every living being comes from another living being. In other words, every human being was born of another living human, every lion came from another living lion, and every grasshopper issued from another living grasshopper. There is no living organism in the world that did not come from another living entity, usually of the same kind. No living creature has ever existed from that which is non-living. To put it simply, life begets life. This phenomenon is what biologists call biogenesis. Biogenesis is an observable and measureable reality. Hence, both the scientist and the layperson may reasonably conclude that biogenesis supports the biblical assertion that all life originates with God—the eternal pre-existent living being.
Centuries ago many people believed that life could come from nonliving things. For example, they believed that maggots came from decomposed meat and that flies issued from cow manure. However, scientists from different nations have disproved this notion, known as spontaneous generation, in various experiments. The experiments used to disprove spontaneous generation are easy to understand. Moreover, the way in which various experiments were conducted in the quest to either prove or disprove spontaneous generation are significant in establishing the fact that nonliving matter cannot produce living beings. Accordingly, a synopsis of these experiments follows.
In 1688 a scientist from Italy by the name of Francesso Redi conducted an experiment to test if maggots came from meat. He placed fresh meat into two different containers. One container was left open while the other was covered with a cloth. After several days the container that was left open had maggots inside of it but no maggots appeared inside of the one that was covered. Maggots were only present on the exterior surface of the cloth that covered the container. Redi therefore felt that his experiment confirmed his hypothesis that maggots did not come from meat but from tiny eggs lay by flies. Redi was certainly correct that maggots could not come from non-living matter such as meat. However, because the microscope was not yet invented he had no way of observing microscopic organisms called microbes which also would have been present in the open container (Miller, 2012; Moulton, 2004).
In seeming contradiction to Redi’s experiment, John Needham in England in 1745 placed broth into a bottle and heated the bottle to kill any organisms inside. He then sealed the bottle. Days later, he discovered living organisms in the bottle; therefore, he concluded that life had been created from nonlife. The only problem was that he had not heated the bottle long enough to destroy all the microbes in it. Hence, his experiment was not accurate or reliable and therefore did not disprove Redi’s conclusions (Miller, 2012; Moulton, 2004).
Another Italian scientist, Lazzaro Spallanzani, in 1768 assessed both Redi’s and Needham’s experiments and concluded that Needham did not heat the bottle in his study long enough to kill everything inside. Consequently, Spallanzani replicated Neednam’s experiment but with one modification. He placed boiling broth in two separate bottles and sealed one bottle but left the other open. After several days the unsealed bottle was full of living organisms, which could be clearly seen through the recently invented microscope. However, the sealed bottle had no indication of any living thing in it. Notwithstanding Spallanzani’s successful debunking of spontaneous generation, some scientists claimed that the reason there was no living organism in the sealed bottle of his experiment was that living organisms need air to survive and the lack of air in the sealed bottled prevented them from developing (Miller, 2012; Moulton, 2004).
It was left to the French scientist Louis Pasteur to show in 1864 that even when exposed to air living beings could not arise from nonliving matter. He designed flasks with an S-shaped neck. He then placed nutrient rich broth in one of the flasks and boiled the broth inside the bottle. The curvature of the flask’s neck trapped dust particles and airborne organisms, thus preventing them from reaching the broth. No living organism appeared in the bottle even up to one year. However, when Pasteur broke off the gooseneck from the flask, allowing the broth to be more fully exposed to the air, microbes appeared after just one day. Consequently, he concluded that life could not arise from non-life but that microorganisms in the air landed in the broth when the S-shaped neck was removed (Miller, 2012; Moulton, 2004). The results of his experiment are summarized in the Latin phrase, “omne vivum e vivo”—“all life [is] from life.”
The work of Louis Pasteur and the belief that only life can produce life was further extended in the research of the German scientist, Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902). Virchow discovered that all cells are produce from other cells by binary fusion. He stated this principle of cell theory as “omnis cellula e cellula”—“every cell originates from another existing cell like it” (Miller, 2012). In other words, nonliving matter (whether it is proteins or gases) cannot produce living cells; cells beget cells.
Pasteur and Virchow’s research convinced the scientific community to some extent that spontaneous generation does not exist. Although many scientists today have devised theories that tantamount to contemporary versions of spontaneous generation, no serious scientist in modern and recent times has attempted to show how living beings arise from inanimate matter. Virtually all of the theories that evolutionists have engendered revolve around a discussion of the elements (e.g., proteins, nucleic acids, and various gases) necessary for life and the belief that billions of years ago there was a chanced coming together of these elements in perfect combination, which resulted in a chemical reaction that produce cellular life and/or a self-assembling biochemical environment, from which emerged a self-replicating cell, which in turn gave rise to self-replicating organisms, and from these organisms more complex organisms evolved over billions of years. Yet none of these theories have explained how the supposed chemical reaction came about and how life came from this purported phenomenon. More importantly, none of the theories can explain how the various elements believed to be necessary for life came into existence in the first place (Ahad, 2011; McNichol, 2008; Miller, 2012).
The empirical reality that only a living organism can produce another living being is a fact that leads ultimately to the God of biblical creation. Yet scientists who espouse naturalism adamantly refuse to acknowledge this reality. Thus rather ironically, the average layperson can appreciate the logic that naturalists and evolutionists choose to ignore: namely, that life originated from a being who always existed, the God of biblical creation.
The argument above is a component of what is commonly referred to today as the evidence from design. That is, the belief that embedded in nature and the laws of nature are evidences that indicate that a supreme being created the world and the universe. Ellen G. White puts it this way, “The deepest students of science are constrained to recognize in nature the working of Infinite power” (White, 1952, p. 134).
DNA and The Human Genome Project
Design is embedded in every facet of animal and human life. Every cell in animals and humans has in its DNA unique information about that particular organism, including its physical characteristics, its likelihood of developing disease, and its development and function. Beginning in 1990 scientists in various parts of the world collaborated in the task of identifying the sequence and mapping all of the genes that make up human DNA, known as the genome, in order to understand the operational instructions and physical characteristics of the human genetic blueprint. This international collaborative biological research enterprise was dubbed the Human Genome Project and it was declared completed in 2003 when 95% of the DNA found in human cell was successfully sequenced. The very success of this project is based on detecting design in the DNA. A statement by Francis Collins, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, aptly captured the level of design that researchers of the Human Genome Project observed in our DNA:
"It's a history book - a narrative of the journey of our species through time. It's a shop manual, with an incredibly detailed blueprint for building every human cell. And it's a transformative textbook of medicine, with insights that will give health care providers immense new powers to treat, prevent and cure disease." (Collins  quoted in National Human Genome Research Institute, 2016)
While this kind of information is more familiar to biologists and specialists in the scientific community, what is very important for the average layperson to understand is the reality that a detail genetic language is written in every cell. This is amazing evidence--embedded in the cell of every human, animal, and plant--that points to the fact that every living thing is a product of design and not chance.
Evidence from Human Intelligence
Another line of evidence from design that is discernable to the average person is the reality that there is a huge difference in intelligence between human beings and other life forms on earth. When we compare human rationality to the rational abilities of all other life forms in this world we discover that the rationality of human beings transcends that of every species of creatures on the planet. No other organism can learn a language and write its history. Human beings not only have the ability to communicate with language but the capacity to also learn rare languages. Furthermore, other creatures on earth cannot design the sophisticated technology that goes into making a spacecraft, personal computers, the Internet, smart phones, and complex encryption and decoding devices. Only humans can do these things.
The rationality of apes is on the level of those of dolphins and elephants, exceedingly far below that of human beings. The alleged connection between apes and humans is based primarily in relation to anatomical resemblances—a simplistic, unempirical, and superstitious methodology that fails to recognize the unique rational difference between human beings and other creatures. No ape or monkey has ever designed even the simplest electronic device or communicated in any way that suggests intelligence beyond the sphere of other animals on earth.
The unique difference between mankind and other life forms accounts for mankind’s ability to make moral decisions and be held accountable for our actions. We are able to love and withhold love by choice. Moreover, we have the capacity to sacrifice immediate gratification for future benefits. These are abilities that other creatures of earth do not have. Furthermore, our ability to have dominion over all other creatures and our consistent exercise of this dominion throughout recorded and archeological history suggests not only that humanity was created with a higher purpose in this world than other organisms but also that we will be held accountable by the Creator.
The Bible makes a very clearly statement about the high purpose for which humanity has been created:
"Then God said, 'Let us make man in Our image according to Our likeness, let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image: in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." (Gen 1:26-27 NKJV)
The foregoing evidence concerning humanity’s superiority to other creatures certainly corroborates the above declaration of Scripture that human beings were made in the image of God and given dominion over the creatures of the world. Yet there is even more evidence within our brains and the operations of our minds that shows that humanity is superior to other creatures and that human beings cannot be the product of chance.
The human mind intentionally looks for patterns, coherence, synthesis, and order; without this it would be impossible for human beings to have clear and distinct ideas or be able to communicate with each other. Whether it is the design of a certain sound that passes through the ear or the design of a shape that enters from the eye, the human mind gravitates toward design rather that non-design. This reality is essential to our ability to think and communicate. It seems to me that the mind recognizes disorder, incoherence, and confusion by the pattern of their oppositeness to order, coherence, and unity. In other words, just as the mind recognizes darkness as the absence of light so it recognizes chaos and non-design as the absence of design. This indicates that humankind has a mental predisposition toward design.
Human beings not only appreciate but also delight in the beauty of art because of the mind’s affinity to design. Without a mental predisposition toward design, beauty and non-beauty would not have objective definitions. In such cases, for example, a rose and a rainbow might be considered to be ugly while cow manure could be viewed as attractive. In addition, someone might say that the melody and harmony emanating from a symphony orchestra is terribly disturbing but the cacophony of sounds from the combination of blaring sirens, the rumbling of an on-coming train, and the blowing of automobile horns in a busy urban neighborhood is very pleasant to the ear. It is the human brain’s penchant for design that leads to objective criteria regarding beauty.
Our minds’ attraction to design, beauty, and order is so pervasive and ubiquitous that it often escapes our notice and is taken for granted until we come in contact with people who are mentally ill. It is then that we are likely to recognize that the normal human brain is predisposed to function in a certain way— that is, it gravitates toward design, order, and beauty. When the brain does not work in this way it is an indication of mental disease.
It may be argued that, like human beings, other creatures on the earth gravitate toward design. This can be seen, for instance, in the beauty of a honeycomb designed by bees. According to the Bible, God created human beings and all other creatures. Therefore the fact that other creatures have some of the qualities of human beings only further corroborates the reality that all living organisms are the result of Creation and not chance. However, no other creature on earth displays the level of intelligence humankind has exhibited. And this reality is evidence that mankind was indeed created in the image of God for higher purposes than other creatures on the earth. Once we observe our own mental operations and also reflect on the many things that human beings have accomplished throughout history, it is not hard to see that a superior being has designed our minds for superior purposes.
Evidence from the Laws of Nature
One of the things that mankind’s collective and accumulative experience has borne out is that our advancement as a species has been due in large part to our ability to understand and apply the laws that we have discovered in nature. Advancement in the medical sciences, behavioral sciences, physics, chemistry, agriculture, and computer/telecommunication technology are all dependent on the utilization of human intelligence in the understanding and application of natural laws. If farmers were to ignore meteorological and agricultural laws there would be mass disruption of our food supply and widespread starvation. If humanity were not cognizant of the laws of physics such as the law of gravity, the three laws of motion, and the laws of thermodynamics, we would not be able to build towering skyscraping buildings, huge and durable bridges, fast automobiles, and powerful aircrafts. How do we account for laws that we did not create but on which our happiness and advancement depend?
The very consistency and reliability of natural laws suggest that they are not the product of chance but design. Moreover, the realization that humanity’s advancement and happiness depend on our comprehension and application of nature’s laws indicate that a wise Creator has arrange the dynamics of human intelligence and natural laws for mutually fulfilling purposes such as the prosperity of the human species and the care of the environment.
We can extend this logic a step further and reflect on how the laws of physics, the laws of mathematics, and the invention of powerful telescopes (made as a result of understanding nature’s laws) help us to get a reasonable yet insufficient comprehension of the vastness of the universe. For example, our Milky Way galaxy is one of billions of galaxies in the universe yet this comparatively small galaxy is so immense that if we were to travel at the speed of light it would take us 100,000 years to go across it. To go across Hercules A, a much larger galaxy, it would take 1.5 million light years. Light from the farthest galaxies that we can see through a powerful telescope has taken more than 10 billion years to reach us (NASA-SAO Education Forum, 2009). According to NASA, “Astronomers have indirect evidence that the universe of galaxies extends fay beyond the region we can see. But no one knows if the whole universe is infinitely large—large beyond limit” (NASA-SAO Education Forum, 2009). Thus, we have the tension of a universe that is so vast that it is virtually beyond our comprehension. However, the more human beings apply their intelligence to an understanding of natural laws the more accurate our conception of the vastness of the universe becomes. Only a wise and benevolent Creator—one whose qualities surpasses the vastness of the universe—could have designed these things.
This essay has endeavored to answer the question: What evidence for biblical creation may the average person observe? We have surveyed some evidences from biology, human intelligence, and natural law that support a belief in biblical creation. These evidences are all components of the argument from design. Our examination of evidence from biology indicates that non-living matter cannot produce life but that each living organism has come from another living creature of the same kind. This fact leads ultimately to only one conclusion regarding the origin of life: that God—a being who always existed—created the first progenitors of every kind of life. We have also observed that it takes intelligence, not chance, to design complex and beautiful things and to comprehend and apply nature’s laws. No other being on the earth exhibit the level of intelligence that is possessed by humans. Consequently, we are compelled by reason to acknowledge the self-evident veracity of the biblical declaration that God created mankind in His own image.
Even though human beings have superior intelligence to all other life forms on earth, we know that human intelligence did not create the universe, this world, or the laws of nature. Hence, it is reasonable to conclude that a supernatural being with extraordinary intelligence created the universe and the world and that the Creator made the first human beings (the parents of the human race) with a type of intelligence that is befitting of beings whom the Creator can entrust with moral responsibilities. Moreover, based on our observation of an amazing complementarity between human beings' advancement and their understanding and application of natural laws, we may also reasonably conclude that the one who created this world favors humanity and that He has wisely designed the earth for humanity's enjoyment.
These observations and conclusions do not require the expertise of a scientist to comprehend. However, with the understanding that even complex scientific phenomena can be presented in a simple user-friendly manner, I have drawn on the research of scientists to provide empirical data that corroborate what the average layperson can observe: namely that solid evidence from biology, human intelligence, and nature’s laws supports biblical creation.
Ahad, M. A. (2011). Evolution of first life without Oparin (Primordial Soup) theory of evolution: a critical review. International Journal Of Bio-Resource & Stress Management, 2(1), 005-009.
McNichol, J. (2008). Primordial soup, fool's gold, and Spontaneous Generation.
Biochemistry &Molecular Biology Education, 36(4), 255-261. doi:10.1002/bmb.20194
Miller, J. (2012). The law of biogenesis [part I]. Reason & Revelation, 32(1), 2-11.
Moulton, G. E. (2004). The complete idiot’s guide to biology. Indianapolis, IN: Alpha.
National Human Genome Research Institute (2016). An overview of the Human Genome
Project. Retrieved from: https://www.genome.gov/10001772/
NASA-SAO Education Forum (2009). How big is our universe? NASA-SAO education forum on the Structure and Evolution of the Universe. Retried from: https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/seuforum/howfar/index.html
White, E. G. (1952). Education. Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press.