Which Approach Is More Reasonable?
NO HUMAN witnessed the beginning of life on earth. Nor has anyone seen one kind of life evolve into another kind—a reptile into a mammal, for example.* Therefore, we must rely on the available evidence to draw conclusions about the origin of life. And we need to let the evidence speak for itself rather than force it to say what we want it to say.
Many atheists, however, view science through the lens of materialism—a philosophy that assumes purely material causes for the origin of life. “We have a prior commitment . . . to materialism,” wrote evolutionist Richard C. Lewontin. “That materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.” Hence, materialists embrace the only alternative they have—evolution.
Religious people too may have preconceptions that distort their attitude toward science. For instance, as mentioned earlier, some creationists cling to the erroneous notion that God formed the world in six literal days a few thousand years ago. Having made that prior commitment, they try to force the evidence to fit their extremely literal interpretation of the Bible. (See the box “How Long Is a ‘Day’?” on page 9.) People who have such extreme interpretations of both the Bible and science are left without satisfying answers when they try to seek evidence for their faith.
Which View Fits All the Facts?
With regard to the origin of the complex molecules that make up living organisms, some evolutionists believe the following:
1. Key elements somehow combined to form basic molecules.
2. Those molecules then linked together in the exact sequences required to form DNA, RNA, or protein with the capacity to store the information needed to carry out tasks essential to life.
3. The molecules somehow formed the specific sequences required to replicate themselves. Without replication, there can be neither evolutionary development nor, indeed, life itself.
How did the molecules of life form and acquire their amazing abilities without an intelligent designer? Evolutionary research fails to provide adequate explanations or satisfying answers to questions about the origin of life. In effect, those who deny the purposeful intervention of a Creator attribute godlike powers to mindless molecules and natural forces.
What, though, do the facts indicate? The available evidence shows that instead of molecules developing into complex life-forms, the opposite is true: Physical laws dictate that complex things—machines, houses, and even living cells—in time break down.* Yet, evolutionists say the opposite can happen. For example, the book Evolution for Dummies says that evolution occurred because the earth “gets loads of energy from the sun, and that energy is what powers the increase in complexity.”
To be sure, energy is needed to turn disorder into order—for example, to assemble bricks, wood, and nails into a house. That energy, however, has to be carefully controlled and precisely directed because uncontrolled energy is more likely to speed up decay, just as the energy from the sun and the weather can hasten the deterioration of a building.* Those who believe in evolution cannot satisfactorily explain how energy is creatively directed.
On the other hand, when we view life and the universe as the work of a wise Creator who possesses an “abundance of dynamic energy,” we can explain not only the complexity of life’s information systems but also the finely tuned forces that govern matter itself, from vast galaxies to tiny atoms.*—Isaiah 40:26.
Belief in a Creator also harmonizes with the now generally accepted view that the physical universe had a beginning. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” says Genesis 1:1.
Invariably, new discoveries tend to make the philosophy of materialism increasingly hard to defend, a fact that has moved some atheists to revise their views.* Yes, some former atheists have come to the conclusion that the wonders of the universe are visible evidence of the “invisible qualities” and “eternal power” of our Creator, Jehovah God. (Romans 1:20) Would you consider giving the matter further thought? No subject could be more important or of greater consequence.*
Although he firmly believed in evolution, biologist Ernst Mayr admitted that “the fossil record is one of discontinuities,” in that new types of organisms appear suddenly.
Such decay is a result of what scientists call the second law of thermodynamics. Put simply, this law states that the natural tendency is for order to degenerate into disorder.
DNA can be altered by mutations, which can be caused by such things as radiation and certain chemicals. But these do not lead to new species.—See the article “Is Evolution a Fact?” in the September 2006 issue of Awake!
See the book Is There a Creator Who Cares About You? published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
See the article “I Was Raised an Atheist,” in the November 2010 issue of Awake!
For additional information on the question of creation versus evolution, please see the brochures Was Life Created? and The Origin of Life—Five Questions Worth Asking, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
[Box on page 8]
ARE HUMANS EVOLVING OR DETERIORATING?
Some scientists are expressing serious concern that the human genome is actually deteriorating as a result of accumulating mutations, or imperfections. If true, this fact would undermine the view that we are evolving, or improving. But if God created the human genome, why does it have flaws? The Bible tells us what science cannot—that human imperfection stems from sin, or disobedience to God. “Through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world and death through sin,” says Romans 5:12. A deteriorating genome, therefore, argues against evolution but in support of the Bible. Does this mean that the genome will continue to deteriorate indefinitely? No! God has promised to intervene in human affairs and undo all the harm caused by our original parents. Yes, our Creator, not mindless evolution, will perfect our genome.—Revelation 21:3, 4.
[Box on page 9]
HOW LONG IS A “DAY”?
In the Bible, the word “day” can refer to various periods of time. At Genesis 2:4, for example, the entire creative period of six “days” is spoken of as “the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven.” Each day evidently involved a considerable length of time. Interestingly, while the Bible specifically mentions the end of each of the first six “days,” it makes no mention of the end of the seventh day. Why? That day is still in progress.—Genesis 2:3; Hebrews 4:4-6, 11.
[Picture on page 8]
If not maintained, things tend to deteriorate
[Picture on pages 8, 9]
God’s power and his other qualities are manifest in the universe