Origin of Life Reveals a Transcendent Creator

There’s so much evidence for fine-tuning in the origin of the universe, pointing to a transcendent Creator, that scientists had to come up with the far-fetched multiverse theory to try to get around a Creator (even though a multiverse would need a Creator, too).

Now, they’re doing a similar thing vis-a-vis the origin of life. There’s so much evidence that life could not have originated through random chance, implying that it had to have been designed by a transcendent Creator, that (some) scientists are resorting to quantum physics as a possible explanation.

In their book Life on the Edge, Johnjoe McFadden and Jim Al-Khalili (the latter a science popularizer frequently seen on science television shows) discuss the impossibility of life ever originating on its own in the “primordial soup”. When in 1952 Stanley Miller and Harold Urey tried to replicate that primordial soup in the famous Miller-Urey experiment, all they came up with were some amino acids. Such acids are what proteins are made of.

Proteins are the components of cells. (They’re not just nutrients found in meat. They’re so much more than that.) They are molecular structures that take multitudes of shapes, which carry out multitudes of functions within the cell. They are akin to the components of your car engine – i.e. mostly made of metal, but in a variety of shapes and forms (e.g. piston, fan, spark plug, etc.)

Proteins are needed for life to form. Also needed are nucleotides – which form DNA and RNA, the blueprints which instruct amino acids to form the millions of varieties of proteins. The authors cite the Scottish chemist Graham Cairns-Smith, who estimated that just to form an RNA from simple organic compounds in the primordial soup, there are some 140 steps involved. For each step there are about six reactions that have to be avoided. “So the odds of any starting molecule eventually being converted into RNA is equivalent to throwing a six 140 times in a row.” The chances of this happening are roughly one in six to the power of 140.

But six to the power of 140 is far more than there are particles in the universe! McFadden and Al-Khalili write that the earth simply did not have enough molecules or enough time to enable anything like that to happen. And that’s just the first step – random chance also needs to make ribozymes (a certain type of RNA) capable of self-replication. Random chance additionally needs to make proteins. “Clearly, we cannot rely on pure chance alone,” declare the authors.

That points to obvious evidence of a transcendent Creator.

But McFadden and Al-Khalili are scientists, and the job of scientists is to find natural explanations to things, not supernatural explanations to things – even when the evidence screams supernatural.

So McFadden and Al-Khalili resort to quantum physics to try to come up with an explanation – and quantum physics is very supernatural-like. They suggest that quantum tunnelling (akin to going through solid walls) and quantum superposition (where a proto-enzyme can exist in all of its possible configurations simultaneously) played a role.

Scientists often use the terms “weird” and “strange” to describe quantum physics, because things happen therein that from a classical physics perspective are like little miracles. In quantum physics, subatomic particles can be move through solid walls. They can be invisible. They can communicate instantaneously with a twin particle a billion light years away. And a single particle can be in many different, distinct places and configurations simultaneously.

Scientists have no idea how these phenomena happen. They just know that they happen.

They are stumped enough trying to explain how the natural physical world arose on its own. They certainly have no idea whatsoever how the quantum physical world arose, or how it works.

It’s yet more evidence of a transcendent Creator.

Why Pray?

If God knows what we need, why pray?

Father Chad Ripperger of the Diocese of Denver reminds us that St. Thomas said prayer is what we owe to God in justice. We have an obligation in justice to pray to God every day. Systematically neglecting your prayer life is a sin against justice because God created you and owns you, therefore everything about you must be subject to him. You must render back to him your mind and heart through prayer.

Not only do you personally benefit through prayer, but you show reverence and honor to God. If you don’t do that, it’s unjust. If you fulfill your part, God will fulfill his part. Saint Augustine said if you do not pray, you will not be saved.

Fr. Ripperger adds that it is a misconception that as long as you stay out of mortal sin, you’re fine. There are also sins of omission. Not praying is one such sin. The obligation to pray, according to the traditional teachings of the saints, is a grave one. If you don’t pray enough every day or if you systematically neglect prayer, it’s mortally sinful. This is because of your obligation to render back to God through prayer your faculties, because he gave them to you.

And if you save your soul but haven’t developed a good habit of prayer, it has to be purged from you in purgatory.

How much should you pray? For laypersons, Fr. Ripperger says it should be a minimum of 15 to 30 minutes per day. That may vary depending upon your obligations and state in life. For example if you have to work 16 hours a day to make ends meet, then perhaps five minutes might fulfill your obligations. But normally it should be at least 15 to 30 minutes. This can be fulfilled by going to mass (which is the most powerful prayer), saying the Rosary (the second most powerful prayer), or other prayers.

Prayer is a habit, which means it only comes from repeated action. The more you do it the easier it gets, to the extent that at some point you take delight in it.

Prayer is the principal means to happiness, points out Fr. Ripperger. The more you pray, the more you become like those in heaven.

There are of course additional good reasons to pray, which we will get into in future posts.

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