By Steve Wolfgang

Footnote: Francis Crick, Life Itself. Its Origin and Nature (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981), p. 88.

We began our examination of some theories for life’s origin by introducing testimony from Nobel Prize-winner Francis Crick. Crick is not wild about the concept of “the limitless powers of God” which he dubs “a doubtful proposition at best” (p. 25 of Life Itself). But he is almost as uncomfortable with the popular idea (accepted by many in the public at large as scientific “law and gospel”) that life arose through natural chemical processes on the earth. He says

An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going. But this should not be taken to imply that there are good reasons to believe that it could not have started on the earth by a perfectly reasonable sequence of fairly ordinary chemical reactions (notice the hedge-SW). The plain fact is that the time available was too long, the many micro-environments on the earth’s surface too diverse, the various chemical possibilities too numerous and our own knowledge and imagination too feeble to allow us to be able to unravel exactly how it might or might not have happened such a long time ago, especially as we have no experimental evidence from that era to check our ideas against. Perhaps in the future we may know enough to make a considered guess, but at the present time we can only say that we cannot decide whether the origin of life on earth was an extremely unlikely event or almost a certainty – or any possibility in between these two extremes.

What then does Dr. Crick propose as an alternative? Why, it came here in a spaceship! Of course, such an idea requires no faith or credulity on the part of those who believe it, and it is surely readily demonstrable by scientific means, is it not? Who can believe it? We suggest that it takes more faith to believe that than the simple declarative, “In the beginning, God . . .”

Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 23, p. 712
December 7, 1989