Lost in the revolving news cycles of the last few weeks was a finding that has rocked the scientific world.
But first, some background:
The theory of evolution calls for leaps and mutations to overcome massive unexplained gaps that almost scream for an intelligent Designer guiding and helping the process.
Just think about the time issue.
If the age of the Earth is about 4.6 billion years, and we have evidence of abundant and complex life 3.5 billion years ago, then that means that there were only about 170 million years for the Earth to cool from its initial formation and for all of evolution to have taken place. That simply isn't enough time – by anyone's calculations – for all of evolution to have taken place.
In fact, noted astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle has written that if you would compute the time required to get all 200,000 amino acids for one human cell to come together by chance, it would be about 293.5 times the estimated age of the Earth. It would be like having the working dynamics of an iPod, iPhone, iPad and Smart Watch all instantly created – by chance – through a single explosion in a computer warehouse.
It’s almost crazy to think about.
So if evolution is true, there is the need for some kind of outside, guiding, enhancing force to speed it along in the time frame of the age of the Earth.
But that’s not all.
You also need something to have instigated the jump from simplicity to complexity.
Think about something like the human eye.
According to evolutionary theory, it would have started with a simple, light-sensitive spot and then evolved to what we see with today. The problem is that when we finally got to the point where we were able to study life at the molecular level, we found it wasn’t simple. We found it was irreducibly complex.
Which means something, or Someone, had to create those first complex systems; in other words, that first, light-sensitive spot.
And it is precisely that very non-evolutionary mutation that has been discovered.
In a paper published in the open-access journal eLife, researchers say they have pinpointed the single mutation that allowed our ancient protozoa predecessors to evolve into complex, multi-cellular organisms. “Incredibly, in the world of evolutionary biology, all it took was one tiny tweak, one gene, and complex life as we know it was born.”
As one biochemist at the University of Oregon exclaimed: “It was a shock. If you asked anyone on our team if they thought one mutation was going to be responsible for this, they would have said it doesn’t seem possible.”
Everything in evolutionary theory – at least naturalistic evolutionary theory – would have called for something much more… by chance. “We were expecting many genes to be involved, working together in certain ways, because [the jump to multi-cellularity] seems like a really difficult thing to do.”
Yes, it is.
But all it took was one mutation.
Or as some might propose, one intervention.
The Bible says that we were created by a Creator, that the entire creative process was miraculously and supernaturally generated and guided by God. It doesn’t say how, mind you, except in a literary, poetic way – using phrases like “the dust of the earth” and “the breath of life.” This, of course, is far from trying to put forward a biology text.
So we’re told THAT God did it, but not how.
Evolution is one of the leading theories in science for the “how.” Which, to my thinking, is fine. If God used evolution, so be it. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t an original Adam and Eve that God breathed an actual soul into at the end of the process to mark the beginning of the human race as we know it today. As mentioned, if you know much about evolution, if it’s true, it would take an outside force, an outside Intelligence, of some kind to explain it.
James Emery White
Sarah Kaplan, “Startling new finding: 600 million years ago, a biological mishap changed everything,” The Washington Post, January 11, 2016, read online.
About the Author
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated, is available on Amazon. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church and Culture blog, visit ChurchAndCulture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. You can also find out more about the 2016 Church and Culture Conference. Follow Dr. White on twitter @JamesEmeryWhite.