This article is from
Creation 34(1):16–17, January 2012

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And then there was life

by And there was life

What is the difference between figure 1 and figure 2? Both are patterns of light and dark. Both are arrangements of the same 12 particular shapes in the same groupings. Both exhibit a complexity of arrangement. The probability of either arrangement arising by chance is similar. Neither arrangement has been produced by any action of the properties of the material they appear on.

But there is a world of difference between the two, and that difference is equivalent to the difference between the imagined ‘primordial soup’1 of non-living chemicals, and a living cell. This is because a living cell is not a random collection of chemicals, but an incredibly complex machine controlled by information stored in a computer-like program.

A living cell is not a random collection of chemicals, but an incredibly complex machine controlled by information stored in a computer-like program.

The essential difference between the figures is simply that figure 2 carries information while figure 1 does not. This difference has nothing to do with the material the figures are made of. That is, the difference cannot be detected by physical means. It is immaterial, existing only in the reader’s mind, and then only if the reader speaks English. That is, only if the reader understands the inherent code.

Could the arrangement of figure 2 arise by chance? Yes, but then it would not necessarily carry information. Consider a set of letters randomly selected that made the pattern “I LOVE YOU”. It would not actually be carrying the information we might like, because the letter “I” (for example) would be just a letter like any other. It would not represent anything, such as the concept of a particular person. There would be no ‘sender’ (because it is random), no intended recipient, no code, and therefore no meaning—it would just be a pattern of shapes no more significant than any other.

Figure 2 carries information only if the pattern of shapes conforms to an agreed code; that is, if it is specified by a set of rules, such as the rules of the English language, and represents the concept of something not physically present. Furthermore, it only carries information if that code can be interpreted by another party or process, through some decoding ‘machinery’ in a recipient. In other words, the pattern needs to be filtered through a set of rules which can then be used to put the information into action. Only then does it become meaningful, because meaning does not arise from the arrangement, but from the interpretation, or decoding, of the arrangement. That is what happened when you decoded the pattern in figure 2.

A living organism requires information to function.

While a required arrangement (such as figure 2) might arise by chance,2 its rules of interpretation cannot, since the rules for coding and decoding are likewise non-material, an abstraction, and therefore can only be formulated and understood by an intelligence.3 Neither can the specification for arriving at the particular arrangement in the first place arise by chance, again because the rules for the specificity (the ‘language’ that determines the arrangement of the letters) cannot arise from any property of matter. Thus these rules are also the work of intelligence, or mind.

Information, therefore, cannot arise from inanimate matter by chance.

However, a living organism requires information to function. This is because a living organism requires carefully specified materials and processes, not only for itself, but for its replication. In fact, reproduction is part of the definition of a living thing. Replication assumes instructions for the process of building the replicant from scratch, all the while maintaining a functioning organism, and thus needs still more information than that needed simply to live.

It is obvious that the specifications, or information, for all the processes needed for an organism to grow, live and reproduce must have been previously conceived and stored before the organism could begin its life. It is now stored in and interpreted by its DNA, but none of it could have occurred by chance ‘in the beginning’, since no ‘primordial soup’ or primitive organism can generate information, or a code system for storing it. Further, a random arrangement of DNA nucleotides would not carry any information. Since the source of all information is a mind, this situation is an absolute indicator that the source of life was in a mind rather than in non-thinking materials or chemical or physical processes. This implies an intelligent, volitional Designer.

Trying to put a living thing together using only materials, without information, is like soldering wires together to try to produce a computer program. Just as a robot without a program is no better than a statue, so a cell containing its biotic chemicals without its instructions—its DNA—would be no better than disorganized ‘primordial soup’. It’s no wonder that Craig Venter produced his ‘synthetic life’ using the information and reading machinery of previously living cells.4

A living cell lives, not because it contains bio-chemicals, but because it can carry out its encoded instructions for life processes—processes for making and deploying those bio-chemicals. Thus, a living cell lives on information; information necessarily conceived in the mind of its Creator, before life began.

First there is information, and then there is life.

References and notes

  1. This is being generous to the evolutionists, because a real primordial soup could not even produce the right building blocks or link them together. See for example Return to text.
  2. The probability is very small. If you were about to play a word game and picked up 15 letters, you would expect a random arrangement like figure 1. If you decided beforehand to ‘expect’ a particular pattern (such as figure 2), you would be extremely surprised if that pattern turned up, in order, as you picked up random letters. The DNA for the required molecules and processes for life has far more complexity than that simple phrase, so could not arise by chance. See also Smith, C., Fantastic voyage, Creation 30(1):20–23 2007; online version has CMI animations of cell machinery. Return to text.
  3. Rules for the organization of matter cannot arise out of properties of the matter so organized. See Gitt, W., with Compton, B., and Fernandez, J., Without Excuse, Creation Book Publishers, 2011; Return to text.
  4. See Sarfati, J., Was life really created in a test tube? And does it disprove biblical creation?, 25 May 2010. Return to text.

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Readers’ comments

michael S.
One of the best articles I've read because it's logical AND coherently clear. Please do more like this Gordon, so I can study them.

I don't think your argument, Gordon, has any flaws, in my experience the evolutionist will try and REMOVE, "information" from the argument, by saying it is not information, because they know that it is checkmate unless they pretend the information is not there.

Not only is foresight needed for programming, but it is also needed for contingency-plans, in the solving of physical problems. (Example, how is the nerve-net in front of the photo receptors, solved? The answer is Muller cells).

So when there are engineering problems, there also has to be a problem-solver that can implement a contingency.
Anthony W.
Am I correct in arguing that a DNA code and decoder would have to be fully formed before the theorised first cell split, otherwise the second cell wouldn't know what to do next?
So for an evolutionary argument to be logical, DNA had to be formed before the first cell split?
It would be interesting to postulate on the sheer complexity of the required mechanics of the first and second theorised cells for life to evolve.
Tas Walker
Indeed. And it would have had to have had the coding on it for how to split the cell, and the DNA.
R. D.
It truly is incredible that so many brilliant minds simply cannot see this - because it really is so breathtakingly obvious. True, many have probably never thought about it - until fairly recently I hadn't myself. The minute I realised it, the penny dropped - abiogenesis is simply a logical impossibility.

Sure, in many cases, the failure to see this can be placed at the door of the desire to "suppress the truth in unrighteousness"; and I'm sure in others it can be attributed to the craving of secular academic respectability ... but, to me at least, even these two powerful factors only seem to explain so much.

Could it be that some obvious things simply don't get taught, so that many (maybe even a majority) of intelligent people just never get prodded into thinking about it? This fact in itself renders metaphysical naturalism intellectually indefensible. Or could it be that there are actually countless naturalists out there suffering terrible cognitive dissonance but refusing to let on?
John G.
Very well said! The TRUTH is so beautiful!
This article states the truth in a simple & articulate manner. I will share this with my brothers & sisters. Simply beautiful. Beautifully
God bless,
John H. Gregory
Gordon S.
What the writer of the article says is to my mind clearly what the wise man said: "Jehovah by wisdom founded the earh..." (Proverbs 3:19/20). Intelligence was involved. Evolutionists substitute the mists of time for intelligence and make evolution largely take place in the so-called gaps in the fossil record!
Steve M.
I no longer have the blind faith it takes . . . . .

to believe in evolution.

Well done you are of course absolutely right
Richard G.
What a brief but clear and most erudite squelch for Dawkins and many evolutionists! You flattered my intellect; I could almost follow what you were saying. This will not be because of my erudition but because of Psalm 119:99, "I have more understanding than all my teachers; for Your testimonies are my meditation." Thus it doesn't need to upset us when opponents have doctorates galore from Oxford or Cambridge.
I live in Japan but in my native New Zealand, and worse still, in our Brethren churches, we have a brilliant man who is a teacher of doctors, it seems, and he insists that we came from monkeys or some idea close to that, evolution anyhow. I have this man's three booklets which I have read often and noted their many errors. But it annoyed me that he knew more than I did about genetics and whatnot. I can't even follow all his talk about coding etc, having only studied accountancy at university. But I realised that I know more than he does because I meditate on God's testimonies and he only twists and misinterprets God's plain statements. I think his idea, held by some good christian men, is called Progressive Creation.
Have you noticed that such people have only continued to insist on their own theories instead of first giving a sentence by sentence exposition of Genesis and then rebutting our orthodoxy? They seem to get away with it but God will show who was correct in His own time and way. Dr Henry Morris's Creation Science fellows seem to be leading many to the Lord including intellectuals whereas I don't know of a single one such convert of these evolutionist believers. Jesus said ,"Wisdom is justified by all her children." We can't evaluate them if they have no children produced by their theory.
graham P.
Pretty good piece. I can imagine a kid's game called 'creation' where participants have to assemble a creature, but first have to select a code for it to run its operating system. They would discover that the code must be decided prior to the pieces being fitted together. It could be an online game, where the first person to assemble a functional creature wins, maybe. Choices might include: number of amino acids required for code-words, symbol set for communication (dependent on the right code-letter choice), syntax, bodyplan etc.
Such a game would teach players the necessity of pre-existing code languages and syntax.
(A creature with no code-syntax would dissolve quickly.....) The players would have to then choose colour schemes and different body parts.
Imagine players getting a popup message saying "Your creature has died due to syntax error! Choose a better syntax set next time." Or, "Your creature has died due to genetic burden, choose a bigger code-word set next time"?
Ian N.
The unique thing about the human brain is that while both sets are spelt differently, due to the fact that first set was jumbled up but still in separate words, it means that we are still able to read the first one as if it were the second one. The reason is that we already know figure two and thus we can interpret one to know what it meant based on already available informations. We are certainly wonderfully made. It is a trait unique to humans

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