The Pew Research Center recently polled 2500 people on what they thought about the theories of Evolution and Creationism. The statistical data gathered was pretty much a mixed bag. Opinions about the two subjects were wildly varied depending on how the questions were framed.
Two important things about statistics
That is an important thing to remember about statistics; survey results can be easily manipulated by the way survey questions are worded. Mark Twain said it with a little more humor, “Facts are stubborn things, statistics are much more pliable.”
Here is another important thing to remember about statistics on what people think about facts; opinions about facts may change, facts don’t. An opinion about the origin of life has absolutely no bearing on when or how life actually began.
The figures generated by the study seemed to indicate people believe the origin of life and its diversity are an admixture of evolution and creationism more commonly known as scientific creationism. Scientific creationism is an attempt to syncretize scientific theory with biblical revelation; it is, in my opinion, poor science and even poorer theology. But that is my opinion, and there can be a big gap between an opinion and fact.
The 3.5 billion year gap
When it comes to the origin of life that gap is about 3.5 billion years. That is when scientists think life began. But the whole scientific community is not in possession of a single observable fact about the beginning of life.
In a publication titled Science and Creationism: A view from the National Academy of Sciences, Second Edition (1999), on page 7 we read, “Of course, even if a living cell were to be made in the laboratory, it would not prove nature followed the same pathway billions of years ago.” This is a stunningly honest admission by a body of highly respected scientists! They confess they do not know how life began in the unobserved distant past.
Scientists say believers created God to explain the unexplainable in the universe around us, but they have done the same thing with nature. They personify, actually apotheosize, nature when they claim it “followed” a certain “pathway” to life. Scientists use nature to explain the unexplainable in the universe around us just like they accuse believers of creating God to explain it.
In the beginning
Someone once said, “In the beginning God created man, and ever since man has been trying to return the favor.” I think in some respects modern science is a case in point. The universe is full of mysteries that science will never be able to uncover and I believe the origin of life is one of them.
I am not aware of any contradiction between true science, that which is observable and testable, and true faith in what the Scriptures reveal. In the absence of any observable facts about the origin of life we can hang our hats on, I am going to go with what the original Observer inspired Moses to write, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” Genesis 1:1.