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Friday, May 08, 2009

"Be still and Know that I AM GOD".

“Be Still and Know That I Am God” – Revisited

March 13, 2009

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“If you were running for your life, would it matter?” That was General Odum’s motto; he learned to put everyday problems into perspective, weighing them against his World War II experiences. Captured by Rommel’s infamous Afrika Korps, Odum later escaped when the German plane transporting him and other prisoners of war was shot down by Allied Forces over France. After a month of hiding and dodging Nazis, the skin-and-bones Odum finally met up with friendly troops. He learned what few things really matter when you’re running for your life.

Where do you run to when you need a safe place to hide? I’ve never had to hide like General (this was his name, not his rank); most of us haven’t. But whether we realize it or not, a greater threat is here. Life in the flesh is a perilous time, because greater than any physical danger is the demoralizing presence of our adversary, the devil. Remember Peter’s warning: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). [All Scripture references are from the ESV unless otherwise noted.]

In addition to the sin-danger with which men flirt to the point of madness, one’s world can fall apart instantly. The English poet Alfred Tennyson felt the common plight when he wrote, “Never morning wore to evening, but some heart did not break.” If your world falls apart, to whom shall you go? As the steady North Star provides orientation in darkness, so the forty-sixth Psalm is higher ground for the worn soul seeking refuge.

The Psalm Introduced
Psalm 46 divides into three sections as indicated by the contemplative selah after each group of verses. In the first section (vv. 1-3), there is an opening declaration that God is our refuge and strength; therefore, the Lord’s people need not fear even in the bleakest of circumstances, illustrated by a crumbling earth and turbulent sea that surrounds and threatens God’s people. In the second part (vv. 4-7), the city of God is the calm in the storm. The nations surge, hostilities rage, but the voice of Jehovah subdues them.

The refrain expresses the rationale for hope when there is none: “The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (v. 7). The last part (vv. 8-11) invites the people of God to consider God’s past interventions in the affairs of men as solid evidence of his abiding presence, again concluding with the encouraging affirmation, “The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (v. 11). He marshals the armies (i.e., “hosts”) of heaven to do his bidding; he is the true God who involved himself in Jacob’s life, providing gracious blessings and protection to the fulfillment of his promises. Thus, he is the God who is willing to use his power on behalf of his people to fulfill the gracious promises that he has made. He is with us!

The Psalm Investigated
If you love Psalm 23, you’ll love Psalm 46. J. Clinton McCann Jr. noted the similarities between these psalms—a soul-stirring thread—when he wrote: “Like Psalm 23, the fundamental affirmation of Psalm 46 is the assurance of God’s presence” (1993, 136). How we cherish the knowledge of his presence; many of our hymns reflect the treasured thought, “God with us” (“A Wonderful Savior,” “A Mighty Fortress,” “Rock of Ages,” etc.).

The reader should understand much of the Old Testament language and background of this psalm, and an extensive line-by-line consideration of such will have to remain unexplored in this present study. Such a neglect here does not reflect a lack of appreciation for the general historical context and rich Hebrew poetry that characterizes this psalm. However, this ancient poem, given and preserved by God, fittingly describes issues that transcend the dispensations and are relevant to men of every age. This study will focus upon such matters. Just as the prophet announced for God, “For I, Jehovah, change not; therefore ye, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed” (Malachi 3:6, ASV), we realize that the God of Jacob is with us—Christians. Rather than alter our view on Psalm 46, the New Testament enhances our appreciation of the vivid truths revealed in this great psalm.

Our Confidence
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (v. 1, ASV). He, and he alone, is the ultimate security. He is exceedingly ready and available for us in trouble—in practice, not in mere theory. Paul motivated Christians to pursue heavenly things: “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). There is no other place like it; nothing comes close. Trouble will find you, so flee to the fortress of souls.

Since God is the one to whom we can flee—who protects us without and strengthens us within—we will not fear. The defiance of faith in uncertainty and peril is justified, because God is with us: “Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth do change, and though the mountains be shaken into the heart of the seas; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains tremble with the swelling thereof” (vv. 2-3, ASV).

Observe the words “change,” “shaken,” “roar,” “troubled,” and “tremble.” The situation is desperate since the earth appears to be on the brink of destruction. The figures describe the worst-case scenario; the most dreaded thing is happening. Even if the world should crumble beneath our feet, we will not wonder: “Has God forsaken us?” In fact, we will not fear; he is with us. The psalm admits that the Lord’s own are not immune from trouble (cf. Hebrews 5:8-9). We live in an unstable world, an environment hazarded by sin’s curse. He sustains us in the midst of trouble, and that is what a person needs to know as he lives with a view toward better days.

Our Calmness
Abruptly, a surreal tranquility is painted by words of calmness and confidence: “There is a river, the streams wherefore make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High” (v. 4, ASV). In contrast to the chaos, there is the calm, pure river, which is the source from which the streams (i.e., canals) irrigate, bring life, and add beauty in the very city of God—the place of his tabernacles (note the plural “dwelling places”). His presence is like the river—life-giving and sustaining. Naturally, since he is the Most High (cf. 97:9).

Those who reside in God’s city (i.e., in a covenant, saved relationship with God) are blessed because he is there: “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God will help her, and that right early” (v. 5). Or to express the thought in another way, “No water can swallow the ship where lies the Master of ocean and earth and skies.”

Unparalleled stability results from the abiding presence of God. Therefore, gladness characterizes God’s city, even though nations topple around her because of foreign aggression. If she trusts in him, if she is faithful to him, she shall not be moved. What can he do? “He uttered his voice, the earth melted” (v. 6).

The psalmist’s confidence may stem from recent manifestations of God’s awesome presence and intervention. A. F. Kirkpatrick was convinced that Psalm 46 celebrates the delivery of Jerusalem when 185,000 Assyrian corpses littered the environs of Jerusalem—thanks to the Angel of Jehovah. He wrote, “The miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem from the army of Sennacherib in the reign of Hezekiah (B.C. 701) may be assigned as the occasion of these Psalms [i.e., 46, 47, 48], with a probability which approaches certainty” (1906, 253).

Albert Barnes appeared equally convinced, but less emphatic (1950, 40). In actuality, the Bible relates many interventions of the Lord on behalf of his people, including 2 Kings 19. These “intrusions” reveal that the true and living God has made his presence felt for his people; accordingly, the point that he is not far from us has been substantiated on numerous occasions since the beginning of time (cf. Acts 17:27-28; Romans 15:1-5). We may not know with certainty the immediate circumstances behind this psalm, but we do know, “The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

Our Conviction
Psalm 46 not only affirms the reality of God’s presence, it also invites men to behold the evidence: “Come, behold the works of Jehovah, what desolations he hath made in the earth” (v. 8). He has broken the weapons of war; he rules in the kingdoms of men. The plagues of Egypt, the walls of Jericho, the victories of Gideon, the defeat of Goliath, the fiery furnace, Daniel’s lions, and scores of other divine manifestations are a testimony to the fact that God, who does not change, has the same concern for us today as he had for his children of former days.

Our most important consideration, however, is not our skin—it’s our soul. More important than our biological life is our spiritual life (cf. Matthew 10:28). This world is not all there is nor all that matters. When sin takes hold of us, or circumstances overwhelm us, it is God to whom we must flee. Run to him in your heart and mind—what you know of God, heaven, eternity, and judgment. Hope will sustain you in the darkest hour.

The Psalm Incorporated
If we adopt the thinking of Psalm 46, should we expect a miraculous deliverance from trouble? No. First, God does not need to work a miracle to help us in trouble. Second, the miracles of the past continue to teach us (cf. John 20:30-31); their repetition is unnecessary for the accomplishment of his will. Trust in him, believe in him, for the Lord has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Do you believe him?

You also must “come, behold the works of the Lord” (v. 8). Come, behold the baby of a virgin; come, behold the daughter of Jairus; come to the tomb of Lazarus; come to Gethsemane; come, behold the crown of thorns; behold the empty tomb. Jesus Christ has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Timothy 1:10). “So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:6).

Isn’t that what we want to know? That if the world falls apart, if the unthinkable happens, in the end we’ll be saved? Paul, in a Psalm 46 frame of mind, says also, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32). Significantly, neither the psalmist nor Paul were students of Campbell, Stone, or McGarvey; but, contrary to the voices of change that necessary inference is a modern invention, both inspired writers invite us to draw necessary inferences about God’s love and presence in our lives based on what God has done in the past.

Thus, calm confidence should adorn God’s people—no matter what. “Be still, and know that I am God” (v. 10, ASV). God’s people are commanded to “be still.” The imperative gives a solemn duty to those in a covenant relationship with God (cf. Galatians 3:26-29). The duty represents a spiritual disposition that ought to characterize those to whom God’s unfailing promises have been given. “Be still” considers that we are finite and that God is infinite. That being the case, we need to drop our hands, go limp, relax, and “chill out.” This spiritual calm that God commands does not come from a lack of troubles; it derives from a steady, deep reflection on the ways God has intervened in history on behalf of his people (cf. Romans 15:4).

God’s past provides calm for our future. He is the ruler of kingdoms of this earth and the all-powerful Creator of the universe. We may be pressed, perplexed, and pursued, but not unto despair (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9). If you are the last man or woman standing, be still, stand fast, be strong. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth do change” (vv. 1-2).

Barnes, Albert. 1950. Notes on the Old Testament: Explanatory and Practical. Vol. 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker.

Kirkpatrick, A. F. 1906. The Book of Psalms. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

McCann, J. Clinton, Jr. 1993. A Theological Introduction to the Book of Psalms. Nashville, TN: Abingdon.

Design---Maybe that c0uld be!

An Atheistic Assault upon the “Design” Argument

January 17, 2005

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William Paley (1743-1805) was a British theologian/mathematician/logician who produced several erudite works, not the least of which was his volume called Natural Theology (1802). In this work, Paley argued that just as a watch logically implies a skilled, intelligent “watch-maker,” even so, a structured universe points to an intelligent universe-Maker.

The fundamental premise of the argument is this: when one observes an object that reflects design, the logical conclusion is — it had a designer.

Some atheists contend that this argument “proves too much,” hence, “nothing.” One of their ilk recently framed the following argument and subsequently offered his response [LogCabin.net].

“[T]he claim [of the theist] is: (1) Everything we’ve encountered that appears to have been designed does in fact have a designer; (2) The universe does appear as if it has been designed; (3) Thus, the universe has a designer; (4) This designer is God.”

We will ignore the fact that this critic has oversimplified the argument; instead, we will examine the premise he thinks negates the “design” argument. The gentleman continues:

“Among the numerous objections to this venerable argument is that it lacks
internal consistency. If we are truly wedded to the claim that organized
complexity and purposefulness requires a designer, God — presumably the most complex and purposeful of all entities — must also have a designer (a
‘mega-god’ who, following the same reasoning, would also require a designer, a ’mega-mega-god, who, following the same reasoning).”

The foregoing argument is flawed in several particulars, not the least of which is that it does not take into consideration what constitutes “design,” and how “design” is identified. Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1983) defines the noun “design” as follows:

“the arrangement of parts, detail, form, color, etc., especially so as to produce a complete and artistic unit; artistic invention; as, the design of a rug” (p. 492).

Observation and Perception
In Paley’s work, he repeatedly called attention to the reason one may conclude that a watch (or the universe) is characterized by design; such is possible because constituent elements may be observed. Hence, the shape, arrangement, etc., characteristic of the parts, imply design, thus, a designer.

Observe the British scholar’s language: “when we come to inspect the watch, we perceive”; again, “We see a cylindrical box”; or, “We next observe,” etc. (Natural Theology in: The Works of William Paley, Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson, 1839, p. 435; emp. supplied).

The argument repeatedly is punctuated with references to visual observation and analysis. One may reason that an object has been “designed” by examining it. This is the basis of the design argument, even as employed by biblical writers (cf. Psalm 19:1ff; Romans 1:20).

Since it obviously is the case that our atheist philosopher has never “seen” God, nor does he admit even the existence of such a Being, he cannot assume that the ultimate Cause has been “designed.”

The fact is, logic forces one to the conclusion that the origin of all material objects was caused by a non-material, eternally-existing Entity. There is not a particle of evidence that any material object has the power to create itself.

The Uncaused Cause
Had there ever been a time when absolutely “nothing” existed, nothing would exist today, because “nothing” cannot produce “something.” If the atheist’s case were true, the universe itself must be eternal, or else eternal nothingness would have prevailed forever, and we would not be contemplating this issue.

Since it is a reality, therefore, that “something” exists (e.g., the universe and we ourselves), then it must follow that some kind of “something” has existed always. That something, by default, must be either “material” or “non-material.” The logical “law of the excluded middle” demands that conclusion.

But the reality is this: science and logic point to the fact that matter is not eternal. Dr. Robert Jastrow has been characterized as the “greatest science writer” of this generation. He classifies himself as an agnostic (that you may know that he is not biased toward creationism). Jastrow, however, argues vigorously for the “beginning” of the universe on the basis of various astronomical data.

“It is really very surprising that the labors of the astronomers, studying the Universe through their telescopes, should have brought them to the conclusion that the world had a beginning. Scientists feel more comfortable with the idea of a Universe that has existed for ever, because their thinking is permeated with the idea of cause and effect. They believe that every event that takes place in the world can be explained in a rational way as the consequence of some previous event. If there is a religion in science, this statement can be regarded as its main article of faith. But the latest astronomical results indicate that at some point in the past the chain of [material] cause and effect terminated abruptly. An important event occurred — the origin of the world — for which there is no known [material] cause or explanation” (Until the Sun Dies, New York: Warner, 1977, p. 11).

I have bracketed the term “material” twice above, because that is precisely the thrust of Professor Jastrow’s discussion, and this clarification does no injustice to his affirmation. He even speaks of that moment at the beginning when “pure energy flashes into being” and the “first particles of matter appear” (p. 4).

To his astronomical argument may be added the evidence from the Second Law of Thermodynamics, namely the reality that the universe is wearing out, growing old, and thus obviously had a beginning point, and so is not eternal.

Since it is the case that the material universe is temporal, and that it clearly, then, was caused by some eternal, non-material, non-visible source, no atheist is in a position to contend that this source is composed of elements that required a previous designer. That concept is a non-sequitur — the conclusion does not follow the assumption. On the other hand, if the eternal source is God, a self-sufficient Being, then he is not the result of a pre-existing designer.

Answer Your Own Argument
In attempting to avoid the conclusion that the universe was designed by an un-designed Designer, our atheist friend, while claiming that “supernatural design” is not a viable option for explaining the universe, yet conceding that “mere chance” is not a reasonable explanation for its “design,” he opts for the “Darwinian” concept of “natural selection.” This really is a hypothesis that is quite absurd, and for several reasons.

First, even if one admits that there is some limited validity to the principle of natural selection, i.e., the elimination of weak organisms resulting in the survival of the stronger, such does not explain the origin of the non-organic universe. No one, to my knowledge, contends that “natural selection” works in the inanimate world. It is supposed to be a function within the biological community.

Second, as the famous Dutch botanist Hugo DeVries (1848-1936), himself an evolutionist, once observed: “Natural selection may explain the survival of the fittest, but it cannot explain the arrival of the fittest” (emp. supplied). “Natural selection” explains the beginning of nothing.

Third, since “natural selection” supposedly was the complex wonder-force that “designed” the natural world, then the “complexity” of the “natural selection” process itself, according to our philosophical friend, must also point to a designer.

But this is the very argument that purportedly rebuts the “supernatural design” argument (read it again in the 6th paragraph of this article). This means, then, according to our critic’s own logic, the “designer” of the “natural selection” method must have been designed by something further back, that also was designed, etc., etc. ad infinitum.

And so, to adopt our adversary’s jargon, there he goes, “chasing” those mega-mega-designers down that “rabbit hole” of infinite darkness. Clickety click, clackety clack, he meets himself coming down the track!

A logical person can clearly see that there is no validity in this skeptic’s attempt to nullify the grand “design” argument for the existence of God.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


This item is available on the Apologetics Press Web site at: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/240140 - it was originally published in Reason & Revelation, 29[5]:37-39

The RNA World Hypothesis Explained and Unexplained
by Kathleen Hamrick and Will Brooks, Ph.D.

[Editor’s Note: The following article was written by A.P. auxiliary staff scientist Will Brooks and one of his students. Dr. Brooks holds a Ph.D. in Cell Biology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and serves as Assistant Professor of Biology at Freed-Hardeman University.]

One of the goals within the discipline of biology is to define life. This goal, however, is no simple task. While we can have an intuitive understanding of what it means to be alive, forming this understanding into a precise definition of life poses a dilemma for scientists. Life comes in many shapes, sizes, colors, and forms, so placing all these variations of life into one nice definition is seemingly impossible. To circumvent this problem, scientists have defined life by stating characteristics shared by all life forms. To be considered “alive,” a system of molecules must possess each of these characteristics. Examples include (1) the ability to sense and respond to stimuli, (2) the ability to acquire and utilize materials for energy, (3) the ability to store genetic information in the form of DNA, and (4) the ability to self-replicate. All living organisms share these basic characteristics, and those systems of molecules which lack even one of these basic characteristics is not considered to be a living organism.

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the genetic material used by all living organisms to code for life. DNA can be thought of as the genetic fingerprint of each organism because it is unique to each species of organism. During the process of self-replication, this genetic code is duplicated and identical copies (discounting rare instances of mutation) are given to each progeny of an organism, maintaining the fingerprint and thus the identity of that organism. The function of DNA as the genetic material of an organism is to provide a code for the production of another group of molecules known as proteins. Proteins serve a host of functions for an organism. They are known, appropriately, as the workhorses of a cell, because they carry out the vast majority of organismal tasks, including catalysis.

A catalyst is any substance capable of increasing the speed of a chemical reaction. Within each living organism on Earth, millions of chemical reactions take place every minute. The majority of these reactions are prompted by a very large group of protein catalysts known as enzymes. These enzyme-mediated chemical reactions range from those used to synthesize various metabolites to those used to break down ingested foods. By serving as enzyme catalysts, proteins play a crucial role in all living organisms. For without enzymes, organisms would be both unable to break down the food that they ingest and unable to make the necessary metabolites needed to sustain life.

While the vast majority of functional enzymes within living organisms are proteins, scientists have discovered that another group of molecules, known as ribonucleic acids (RNAs), are also capable of catalyzing some chemical reactions (Kruger, et al., 1982). RNAs are very similar in structure to DNA, differing only in the type of sugar used to form the molecules—DNA utilizes deoxyribose and RNA utilizes ribose. While DNA is the vital genetic code that is passed down between parents and offspring, RNA also plays an important role. Ribonucleic acids are a messenger system that carries the DNA code from the cell’s nucleus, the home of DNA, to the cellular cytoplasm where proteins are synthesized. These are known as messenger RNAs (mRNA). Furthermore, another group of RNAs, known as ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs), is used along with proteins to build the cellular structure known as the ribosome, which is the cellular location at which proteins are made. So, RNA plays several related roles in the process of protein production: (1) it carries the genetic code from DNA to the ribosome, (2) it helps form the structure of the ribosome, and (3) it functions in catalysis.

While there are a few other examples (reviewed in Fedor and Williamson, 2005), the catalytic properties of RNA are best seen in the ribosome. When proteins are synthesized by an organism’s cells, small units known as amino acids are chemically linked together to form a long, linear chain. This chain of amino acids is known as a polypeptide or protein. The chemical bond that links together each amino acid in the chain is called the peptide bond. Because each of the 20 amino acids are very similar in structure, the same peptide bond is formed between every unit of the polypeptide chain. The chemical reaction that forms this peptide bond requires catalysis. The protein-rRNA complex that we know as the ribosome has long been known to serve as the site as well as the catalyst in forming the peptide bond. But, scientists were surprised to discover that the protein component only serves as a structural element of the ribosome. It is the RNA component of the ribosome that serves as the catalyst (Nissen, et al., 2000). This catalytic RNA has thus been termed a ribozyme.

Later it was discovered that yet another group of RNAs, the small nuclear RNAs (snRNA), were also capable of catalyzing a chemical reaction (Valadkhan and Manley, 2001). When produced by the cell, mRNA must undergo a series of maturation steps before it is fully functional as a genetic message (Alberts, et al., 2002, pp. 317-327). One of these steps toward maturity is the process of splicing. Newly synthesized mRNA contains large regions, spread throughout its length, that do not directly code for protein production. These non-coding regions are called introns. To make the mRNA mature and functional as a code, each intron must be removed from the mRNA and the remaining coding regions, known as exons, must be linked or spliced back together. These “cut-and-paste” events occur within the cell’s nucleus within a structure that we call the spliceosome. Like the ribosome, the spliceosome is a large complex of both protein and RNA, in this case snRNA. Amusingly, these protein-RNA complexes have been dubbed small nuclear ribonucleoproteins or “snurps.” Interestingly, scientists found that not protein, but RNAs were responsible for catalyzing the chemical reactions that take place during these splicing events. RNAs were carrying out chemical reactions on other RNAs.

Scientists were very excited by these revolutionary findings. Now, they had a single type of molecule, RNA, that possessed two very important properties. First, it was very similar in structure to DNA and thus theoretically could also store genetic information. Second, it could function as a catalyst like proteins. In 1986, Walter Gilbert coined the phrase “RNA World” and initiated what is now known as the RNA World Hypothesis (Gilbert, 1986). This hypothesis on the origin of life states simply that because RNA has the dual ability to both store genetic information and catalyze chemical reactions, it must pre-date DNA and proteins, both of which supposedly evolved after and perhaps from the RNA.

The RNA World Hypothesis is widely accepted by evolutionists, because it provides an alleged solution to a long-recognized problem in evolutionary theory. Consider how proteins are made by a cell. First, DNA which holds the genetic code is converted into RNA through a process known as transcription. This process is similar to how one would copy a letter from one piece of paper onto another sheet. The contents of the letter remain unchanged, only the medium—the paper—has changed. RNA carries this information to the ribosome, where it is read and used as a code to make a protein through a process known as translation. This process can be compared to translating the copy of the letter from one language into another. Nucleic acid (DNA and RNA) is changed into another molecule altogether: protein. This linear progression of DNA to RNA to protein is known in biology as the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology (Alberts, et al., 2002, p. 301). Of the three components in the path, only DNA has the capacity to be replicated. So, while DNA stores the genetic code and can be replicated, it cannot perform any chemical reactions. And, while protein can perform chemical reactions, it cannot store genetic information. So, in evolutionary thinking, which came first—DNA or protein? Making the problem even more difficult, DNA relies upon proteins during its own replication. DNA does not self-replicate of its own accord. It must have protein enzymes to facilitate this process. So, what came first—the chicken or the egg? DNA or protein? Each relies upon the other. You should begin to see how RNA might solve this problem. If RNA can both store genetic information and catalyze chemical reactions, and if it evolved first, we have a single molecule that stores information and can catalyze its own replication, a self-replicating genetic material.

In order to prove this theory plausible, a set of conditions must be created to favor the spontaneous formation of RNA molecules without the aid of a biological catalyst. This would have had to be the starting point for an RNA world. One necessary component for RNA formation would be a steady supply of nucleotides, the building blocks of RNA. Scientists speculate these nucleotides were created from other small molecules present, or were generated in space before arriving on earth. Ribose, the sugar used in RNA, is assumed to have arisen from formaldehyde via the formose reaction. The mystery of the addition of nucleotides onto a ribose backbone remains unsolved by scientists attempting to create conditions of a primitive Earth (Müller, 2006, 63:1279-1280). Once these RNA molecules were formed completely by chance, they would have to have possessed or evolved the ability to catalyze reactions leading to self-replication. After sustaining itself through several replications, the RNA would then need to gain the ability to create a barrier between the extraneous materials surrounding it, in order to isolate the beneficial products from those proving non-functional. Thus, a membrane of sorts would have had to evolve and be maintained (Müller, 63:1285-1286). These steps are only the basics, proving the task much too complicated to occur by mere chance.

In all known organisms living today, DNA and not RNA is the genetic material. DNA has advantages over RNA which make it a more suitable molecule to store the very important genetic code. First, DNA is a double-stranded molecule while RNA is single-stranded. The double-stranded nature of DNA gives it the ability to be replicated in a much simpler series of steps. When DNA is replicated, each of the two complimentary strands serves as a template on which to build another strand. The result is that in one step, each strand of DNA is replicated to produce four total DNA strands or two identical double helices. RNA, however, is single-stranded. In order for it to be replicated, two sequential rounds of replication would be required. First, a complimentary strand would need to be synthesized from the original parental strand. Only then could that new complimentary strand be used to re-make the parental strand. As stated before, DNA and RNA differ in the sugar which makes up the molecule’s backbone. Deoxyribose, the sugar used in DNA, differs from ribose used in RNA, by lacking one organic functional group known as alcohol. The absence of this alcohol group greatly increases the stability of DNA over RNA. In ribonucleic acids, this
–OH group is capable of initiating chemical reactions which favor breakdown of the RNA molecule. For these and other reasons, DNA is a much more stable and preferable genetic material. This is made obvious by the fact that all living organisms use DNA, not RNA, as their permanent storage medium of genetic information. It also indicates that RNA would be an unsuitable medium by which to initiate life.

Evolutionists would have us to believe that non-living elements and molecules joined together and developed increasing biological capabilities. Those who believe in intelligent design reject this hypothesis, insisting that neither RNA nor living cells are able to evolve spontaneously. While some disagreement exists among those in the evolutionary community on the time frame for such alleged reactions to occur, the consensus is that, given large amounts of time, single-celled bacteria were formed. But all known biological principles militate against this notion. Even billions of years could not provide mechanisms for the reaction products to evolve advantageous characteristics and form DNA and cell proteins, let alone create strings of RNA nucleotides, arriving at just the right sequence in order to code for a functional protein. The four nucleotide bases that form RNA (adenine, guanine, cytosine, and uracil) can be arranged in an exponential array of combinations and lengths. For an actual, functional protein to be coded, a precise sequence of nucleotides must be obtained. Forming the code for even one protein by evolutionary means is impossible, without even considering the necessity of the number that work together in a single cell.

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that RNA is spontaneously being created and capable of forming pre-cellular life today. While some artificial ribozymes have been created in the laboratory (reviewed in Chen, et al., 2007), there are still significant holes in reproducing an RNA world to support the hypothesis. The ribozymes created artificially lack the abilities to sufficiently process themselves, and there is no evidence of them producing large quantities of advantageous nucleotide sequences. Moreover, no system has ever created cellular life. There is even significant debate among scientists over the conditions and constituents of a “prebiotic Earth” model.

The RNA World Hypothesis is simply another attempt by scientists to explain the origin of life to the exclusion of the divine Creator. Given the absolute impossibility of life originating from the reactions of non-living matter, it can be justified that RNA did not predate other biological molecules. All biological molecules were created together to work in concert. RNA was designed to be the essential intermediate between DNA and proteins, making our cells capable of sustaining life as it was created. The designer of this system must be the intelligent Designer, the God of the Bible.

Alberts, Bruce, et al. (2002), Molecular Biology of the Cell (Oxford: Garland Science).

Chen, Xi, et al. (2007), “Ribozyme Catalysis of Metabolism in the RNA World,” Chemistry and Biodiversity, 4:633-656.

Fedor, Martha and James Williamson (2005), “The Catalytic Diversity of RNAs,” Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology, 6(5):399-412.

Gilbert, Walter (1986), “The RNA World,” Nature, 319:618.

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