Creation in a basket
by Tom Wagner
I believe that most of the scientists living in Charles Darwin’s time would have rejected his mechanistic theory of evolution had they had a modern grasp of the supreme complexity of the chemistry of life.
For the evolutionary scenario to catch on, it had to become ingrained in the thinking of men while bioscience was relatively young. In fact, even if Darwin didn’t care for the concept of a Divine Creator, he may have abandoned his ideas about evolution had he known about the genetic code or sophisticated biochemistry.
To illustrate my point, imagine Darwin has been transported forward to our time. We’ll ask him some questions and speak with him about current discoveries in biology.
“Mr Darwin, is there anything in this picture of a basket of flowers that shows evidence of design—evidence of having been organized or constructed by an intelligent source? … The basket you say? Obviously something with intelligence designed and made the basket. I agree. Certainly random natural processes could never produce something as complex and unlikely as a woven basket.
“However, Mr Darwin, I believe there is a problem with your reasoning, related to some knowledge that you currently do not have.
“Allow me to explain. According to Carl Sagan, one of our best-known scientists, ‘The information content of a simple cell has been established as around one trillion bits, comparable to about 100 million pages of the Encyclopaedia Britannica’ [emphasis mine].1
“What Sagan is talking about here is the information contained within the genetic code (DNA) of a microscopic Escherichia coli bacterium that lives in our intestines.
“So, you say the basket was clearly designed but the plant in the basket wasn’t? That idea seems illogical because, I’m sure you will agree, a flowering plant is far more complex than a bacterium—and the bacterium has within it genetic data equivalent to 100 million pages of Encyclopaedia Britannica!
“Yet the flowers have a vastly greater amount of information inherent in their construction than the basket, right? So how is it that huge amounts of information, in the flowers, can come about by chance, yet a much smaller amount of information for the design of the basket, can’t?”
Ardent evolutionists don’t see evidence of purposeful, intelligent design in living things, whereas they do in items that are obviously man-made. Take a very life-like artificial plant as another example. An evolutionist would inspect it for slight imperfections, then on finding them would declare, “Yep, it’s man-made all right. But it looks so real, it must have taken great skill and intelligence to make that one.”
Then if he saw the live plant after which the mock one was modelled he’d say something like, ‘That one’s real. It’s too perfect to be a fake. It must have come about by chance.’ Does this mean that any time something is complex beyond man’s capacity to create, that it must have come about by random processes?
Doesn’t it seem irrational to study a ‘natural’ thing, wonderfully made, and conclude that no creator had anything to do with its existence, but when studying something man-made with obvious imperfections, to conclude that it shows evidence of craftsmanship?
We might ask, ‘who or what deserves the credit for the incomprehensible complexity and awesome beauty found in the living world around us? Evolution, time and chance—or special creation which involves plan and purpose as well as an expression of the attributes of a personal living God?’
The answer is in the Word of the Creator Himself:
‘For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse’ (emphasis mine) (Romans 1:20).
Just as the work of an artist can be recognized by its style, so the work of our invisible God can be identified. We all need to learn to see and appreciate His style in the design of the ‘things that have been made’. But, at the same time, we must understand that the creation is only a partial revelation of the attributes of God.
A complete revelation can only be known through a personal relationship with the author of the Bible, the Creator Himself—Jesus the Christ, the invisible God revealed in a physical form.
- The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, Vol. 22, p. 987, 1986. Return to text.