Is Life Just Time, Energy, and Chemicals?


Have you ever wondered why a car doesn’t get shinier and more trouble free with each passing year? As obvious as the answer seems, it took scientists centuries to formally define the cause as the action of the second law of thermodynamics. It is why houses, machinery, and even our bodies wear out, run down, and fall apart. Stated in simple terms, the second law of thermodynamics means that everything eventually breaks! It takes great effort to maintain anything in perfect order. If no maintenance is done things will become dirty and disorganized, and are eventually reduced to dust. Every person, every machine, every reaction, and every molecule in the universe is subject to this law of nature.

Try the following experiment to see the Second Law of Thermodynamics in action. Find a detailed picture of an animal (such as a frog) and make a photocopy of it. Now take the copy and use it to make another copy. Continue this process while observing the change with each copy. The second law of thermodynamics predicts that something will get lost with each copy. It would violate this law of science for the process to produce a picture of greater clarity, new features, or be slowly transformed into another creature of more ordered complexity. By the thousandth “generation”, not only will nothing new will have developed, but the picture will have degenerated to the point that the frog will be hard to recognize as a frog. We can observe similar degeneration (or loss of information) occurring as biological life makes copies of itself. This loss of information never results in creatures with completely new functioning features.

For something to increase in complexity there must be an ordering mechanism already in place. For instance, a seed becoming a full grown tree can be considered an example of increasing complexity. However, the seed starts with the necessary characteristics (or inherent information) to make this transformation. This example does not begin to explain how the seed developed. Without an ordering mechanism, energy plus raw materials is like a tornado sweeping through a junk yard. There is abundant available energy and the tornado could be carrying sufficient raw materials. Why is the end result not a fully operational airplane? Because it takes intelligent design to create ordered complexity!

Now let’s return our focus to the supposed evolutionary origin and development of life. What is the ordering mechanism which caused chemicals to come together to form the first complex living cell? Natural selection and mutations are of no effect before life exists. Even with living organisms, neither natural selection nor mutations provide a plausible ordering or energy conversion mechanism. Furthermore, how can the mechanisms of evolution explain the increasing complexity which supposedly happened in the biological world. Mutations are random mistakes (causing increasing disorder) and natural selection can only select that which is already present in an organism. The entire concept of macro-evolution is based on tenacious faith, because no evolutionary mechanism adequately explains the increase in complexity which happened as the universe and life formed. The big bang model of cosmic origins can be true only if some yet to be defined ordering mechanism is found (other than God … of course). How much more intellectually honest it is to accept intelligent design as the guiding force which created both our complex universe and all of life!

As you search for the truth, consider which explanation of life’s origin is most logical. Is it evolution, in which basic assumptions eliminate the consideration of outside intelligence? Or is it creation, which acknowledges the possibility of supernatural intelligence and provides the ordering and energy conversion mechanism required?

1. Sir Fred Hoyle, “Hoyle on Evolution”, Nature, 11/81, p. 105.