Simple answer, please! Scientifically explain the origin of life coming from nothing!

by Silent_Scream 170 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Bobcat

    Pig said:

    "Something existing when nothing created it, that is very hard to belive."

    That would be especially hard for something created (or that had a beginning) to understand. Kind of like trying to understand infinity.

    "Either that force ... advanced over unimaginably large periods of time to bring about more complex things.. or Everything existed (an ultimate, infinately advanced, unimprovable force) and that thing made simpler things."

    Why couldn't "that force" "advance over unimaginably large periods of time to create" - "simpler things"?

    According to the "Big Bang Theory" (I think, more properly, "Expansion Theory"), the idea begins with something infinitely dense and hot and then expands and cools, resulting in less and less complex things appearing in 'phased transitions.' Then, suddenly, complex life appears on Earth, which seems not to follow the way things were proceeding. Then the Internet. Then threads like this ...

    From the Bible's point of view (or, I should more properly say; "From my point of view of what the Bible says"), God is positioned where Expansion Theory starts. And "complex life" (apart from God himself), is one of the first things that "appear" in the form of angelic beings. The complex life that appears on Earth is a simpler form of life, suited to the enviroment it appears on. In this scenario, the sudden appearance of life on Earth is not so unexpected.

    "Another question I find hard is, what is "nothing" how could "nothing" exist.?"

    "Nothing" cannot "exist." It is, by definition, non-existent. "Nothing" is a concept somewhat akin to zero.

    (Although zero can also be described as a value midway between -1 and +1.)

    Designs said:

    "Two molecules were sitting at a Bar and a cute DNA walks in....."

    This reminds me of the PBS program called "The Elegant Universe" narrated by Bryan Green

  • jgnat

    I believe in God, by the way. My trouble is with a literal acceptance of the creation story.

    I read the wiki article about abiogenesis and I wonder; what is unsatisfactory with this line of scientific testing and discovery? Amino acids are the foundation of life, and they can be reproduced in the laboratory.

    No-one with a literal faith in the creation story can reproduce a man from mud, breathing the "breath of God".

  • Bobcat

    Jgnat said:

    No-one with a literal faith in the creation story can reproduce a man from mud, breathing the "breath of God".

    In quantum physics this is not theoretically impossible. The "mud" just needs to be disassembled to a certain point and then it can be reassembled into anything that appears on Earth. As you say, though, no man, faithful or otherwise, has the capability or the power to do such a thing at the present time.

    In the "Star Trek" series, this is what the replicators do (for food and other things). That is TV, of course, but it is based on ideas found in quantum theory.

  • kepler

    "Scientifically explain the origin of life coming from nothing!"

    Based on the topic title, have to wonder if all the discussion about things coming from nothing really fits under the tent. Life is one thing, but God is another, save that one can invoke God as the source or creator of life. But I would say that discussing the origin or existence of God is an idea being handled down the street under another topic or two.

    I don't have any idea what fraction of people on this website are aware of this idea already, but it might be appropriate to mention it in this context: If you read Genesis 1 to 2:3 or 2:4 and then continue from there through the rest of Genesis 2, you obtain two different accounts of the creation of life. The details differ enough that a lawyer could cross examine a witness (capital W?) with justification. Try it. Moreover, terminology in chapter one is "create" as in out of nothing, and chapter 2 the creation going on "was formed" from existing materials. Two different accounts written at two different times with different terminologies, edited and merged. There is a lot of support for the first chapter being the later version. As one evening lecturer I heard once remarked, "The best explanation that Neo-Babylonian science could provide." The second or earlier (?) version starts with the first mention in the book of Jehovah or Yahweh. He is working in the garden.

    Paradise, I had come to discover recently, was a word of Persian origin for the same notion: a garden.

    But save for Genesis 1, there is nothing in the last two paragraphs that addresses the problem of creating life out of nothing. In Genesis 2, as the sequence proceeds, God plants a garden, makes man from the soil, breathes life into him and then fashions wild animals and birds to accompany man, after instructing him on which trees from which he could eat. Eve comes later. Compare this with account 1.

    It could be argued that the author or authors of the second chapter were less concerned with the issue of creation than establishing a relation between God and man - or human kind. But the first chapter does seem very pre-occupied with identifying a logical sequence starting with light, separation of formless fluids, creating a vault called heaven over another region known as earth separated into land and seas. Performing these things over a period of a couple days, the narration then turns to the creation of life: living creatures in the waters, birds, vegetation, creatures of the land... created out of nothing, but each of its own kind. Human kind comes last on the sixth day, male and female. God was happy with the result.

    If nothing else, the sequence of events in Genesis 1 is intriguing and closer in some ways to what present day investigations suggest than what is recounted in the second chapter. Yet the second chapter's attention is to material ingredients, animating process, river beds and park rules.

    On the issue of breath being animation or spirit - that does not seem to be simply inherent to Hebrew texts. Many of the same issues arise in interpretation of the Greek of Homer's Iliad. When the word psyche comes up in its verse, does it mean breath or more than that? All the freight that we assume an ancient word like psyche might carry, we have to wonder if the early users saw the same connotations.

    Now, trying to be as scientific as I can...

    In our notion of biological life, it would seem reasonable to stop somewhere far short of atoms and subatomic particles more clearly associated with Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. I mention that here because it was already. It is understood that matter and energy are or could be transformng back and forth at a very low level. In fact, I believe there are some laboratory effects such as the Casimir effect that have been used to give evidence of that effect by creating slight imbalances and pressures... But that addresses matter and energy rather than life itself. Or another way of looking at it: we would still have a universe, but would we have anyone living to observe it?

    In the restricted sense of life on Earth, we speak of organic chemistry and the myriads of compounds that can be found in organic matter - but we also know that a sugar, alcohol or carbohydrate is not living. Hydrocarbons like petroleum and natural gas might have originated from organic matter or living things - or maybe not. Methane is certainly "optional". For some time viruses were said to be at the border between living and non-living matter. They attack living cells and multiply, but do they have a complex enough structure to rate as being alive? Evidently DNA and RNA reside in viruses, but are dependent on other living things to multiply. Did they come first or later? Or is it that there were hosts of potential viruses and only the ones with the pertinent chemical machinery survived? Rather than atomic or subatomic physics, I am inclined to think that origin of life boundaries can be better studied in search of a transition between bacteria and viruses - if there is such a thing.

  • Bobcat

    Here is a comparison of "create," "make," and "form" from the early part of Genesis:

    Compare these verses which describe the same thing (from NWT, incidentally):

    Gen 1:26 "And God went on to say: "Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness"

    Gen 1:27 "And God proceeded to createthe man in his image"

    Gen 2:7 "And Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground"

    Here, "make" and "create" are used right within the same context, to describe the same thing. "Form ... from the ground" in 2:7 would show that the idea of 'creating out of nothing' is not necessarily understood by the writer.

    Here is another comparison:

    Gen 1:20, 21 And God went on to say: "Let the waters swarm forth a swarm of living souls and let flying creatures fly over the earth upon the face of the expanse of the heavens."And God proceeded to create the great sea monsters and every living soul that moves about, which the waters swarmed forth according to their kinds, and every winged flying creature according to its kind.

    Gen 1:24, 25 And God went on to say: "Let the earth put forth living souls according to their kinds, domestic animal and moving animal and wild beast of the earth according to its kind." And it came to be so. And God proceeded to make the wild beast of the earth according to its kind and the domestic animal according to its kind and every moving animal of the ground according to its kind. And God got to see that [it was] good.

    Gen 1:31 After that God saw everything he had made

    These verses, along with verses 26 and 27 above all show "made/make" and "create" used interchangably.

    Chapter 2 continues the interchangableness of "make" and "create."

    Gen 2:1-3 Thus the heavens and the earth and all their army came to their completion. (2) And by the seventh day God came to the completion of his work that he had made, and he proceeded to rest on the seventh day from all his work that he had made. 3 And God proceeded to bless the seventh day and make it sacred, because on it he has been resting from all his work that God has created for the purpose of making.

    Gen 2:4 This is a history of the heavens and the earth in the time of their being created, in the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven.

    Incidentally, in all these verses "made/make" are a translation of the Hebrew asah. "Create" is from the Hebrew bara. Whether the English words assigned to them by the NWT (or other versions) are appropriate may be argued, but the strict word assignment allows for comparing their usage.

    ("Create" is also used in Gen 5:1, 2; 6:7. "Made" is used in 2:18; 3:1, 7, 13, 14, 21; 4:10; 5:1; 6:6, 7 and numerous other verses in Genesis. Ex 34:10 is another example of the two being used interchangably. But there may be others.)

    This verse in chapter 2 describes as "forming from the ground" what was "created" or "made" earlier.

    Gen 2:19 Now Jehovah God was forming from the ground every wild beast of the field and every flying creature of the heavens,

    On how Jesus saw the Genesis account:

    Matthew 19:4, 5 In reply he said: "Did YOU not read that he who created (Greek: ktizo) them from [the] beginning made (Greek: poieo) them male and female 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will stick to his wife, and the two will be one flesh'?

    Two points are noteworthy here: "Create" and "make" are again used interchangably. Secondly, Jesus is combining Genesis 1:27 and 2:24, but treating both as part of what the Pharisees could "read" from the Scriptures and both as part of what "he (that is, God) said."

    On the idea of leaving quantum possibilities out of the discussion:

    This would narrow or limit the possible solutions that could be arrived at. It would be like having a software project, but requiring that the programmers use a high-level language (such as Visual Basic), versus allowing the use of a low-level one (such as C or Assembler).

    By comparison, enzymes and chemical compounds are, in effect, pre-made (or pre-assembled) objects. Whereas, protons and electrons (and the things that make these) would be closer to working with bits.

    At this point I think I'll bow out of the discussion before I get too far over my head. But I would like to express my appreciation for the various learned opinions of others such as Kepler and GeneM

  • Bobcat

    Thank goodness too for the edit button that allowed me to make numerous spelling corrections.

  • Pig

    Bobcat -Why couldn't "that force" "advance over unimaginably large periods of time to create" - "simpler things"?

    Are you implying that god (that force) could have evolved? That he started off simple and advanced?

    If so why would you oppose a universe evolving without a god while supporting a god evolving without someone who made him?

    The reason it is hard to believe that an all powerful infinitely wise force existed, then made simpler things, is that we do not observe that in nature. We don't see a universe getting smaller and life forms becoming less complex.

    Not that that disproves creation, Aliens or a "god" or "the God" could have made us. But we would have to explain their origins aswell.

    It really doesn't make things simpler to evoke a god or aliens or whatever. We can't observe it.

    We can however observe evolution. Evolution has proven that simpler life forms become more complex without the need for a god. When we get to the question of "yeah well how DID matter become existent" it would be foolish to suddenly say, "oh some guy did it". That is what led science astray for thousands of years.

    Nothing" cannot "exist." It is, by definition, non-existent. "Nothing" is a concept somewhat akin to zero.

    I'm not going to take your word for this. But I'm sure that topic would go way over my head if physics professor tried to explain it to me.

    To make one thing clear here, I don't know how matter came into existence. Now if someone believed we got here when a magical teapot got too hot and had to let the steam escape, their theory would not be made any more valid by pointing at me and saying "yeah well where's your proof? You cant dismiss the teapot when your theory has exactly the same amount of proof" My answer would be, "yeah well I don't know the answer to the origin of life, but I'm pretty sure a theory as stupid as yours, which you made up, is not the answer"

  • ziddina
    "If nothing else, the sequence of events in Genesis 1 is intriguing and closer in some ways to what present day investigations suggest than what is recounted in the second chapter. .." Kepler, post #69, page #9

    Ah, considering the problems with the account in Genesis chapter 1, there must be overwhelming errors in Genesis chapter 2.

    The bible's accounts of the "seven days of creation" in Genesis chapter 1 have GLARING scientific errors...

    I've found so many errors in the 1st chapter - besides the obvious contradictions with Genesis chapter 2 - there is no way that an authentic "universe-creator" would have been so ignorant about the way in which the universe 'he' claimed to have 'created', worked....

  • Witness My Fury
    Witness My Fury

    Why put faith in the classic Genesis account(s) (yes there are two distinct accounts that contradict) that offer a earth centric universe with a flat earth / vaulted heavens model as repeatedly described in the bible? This was the commonly understood model for eons of time, but far from correct. So why still run with it and twist it to mean something other than what it actually says?

    Good luck with that!

  • kepler


    You raised some good points about what else is said in the New Testament.

    And in discussion that follows, I should preface things by saying I have never studied Hebrew formally. So in looking into these matters, somewhat in reaction to Elders coming to my house every Saturday morning for the fall and winter of 2009 and 2010, I am indebted to several sources on these matters. One of them was Marc Zvi Brettler's book, "How to Read the Jewish Bible". Professor Brettler is the co-editor of the Jewish Study Bible and the associate editor of the New Oxford Annotated Bible.

    Also, I am not Jewish, but I found Brettler's book very interesting. It made me aware of things I would have never known otherwise.

    Brettler's argument for the two forms of description in chapters 1 and 2 is based on the use of Hebrew verbs. On page 32:

    "...In chapter 1, on day six, first the land animals are created, (vv.24-25), and then man and woman are created simultaneously (vv. 26-28). In contrast, in chapter first man is created ( v. 7), then animals are created ( vv. 18-20), and only after these are found unsuitable to man's partner ( v. 20) is woman created ( vv. 21-23). A single story written by a single author would not be self-contradictory in such a significant matter.

    "This might be the most significant difference between these stories, but once it is noted, other distinctions become apparent. Each individual difference by itself might not be convincing, but cumulatively, they become compelling. Other differences include the fact that in Genesis 1 the deity is called God [Heb], whereas in much of the chapters 2-3 the deity is called YHWH Elohim [ Heb. the Lord God]. The units use different terms for crucial terms like "creation" - thus in 1:27, the first human is "created" [Heb - b-r'], whereas in 2:7 the human is "formed" [Heb. y-tz-r]. In fact the word translated as "create" is used a total of 7 times in 1:1-2:3, but not at all in 2:4 - 3:24."

    Brettler also observes that the form of chapter 1 is very formal and unlike anything else in the book; the subsequent chapters are free-flowing, with none of the formulaic phrases. Chapter 1 is a description of a powerful, majestic God while the God of chapters 2-3 moves about the garden, talks to people and "even tenderly clothes them."

    So I guess my point is that "create" and "form" are not used interchangeably in Genesis.

    Witness My...,

    I'm not sure if you are posing that question to me or not. Since the topic was a discussion about origin of life with respect to what science can tell us, incomplete as it is, I think Genesis 1 is illustrative of an earlier understanding. Life is created by God in a sequence of commands. Where chapters one and two disagree, the account in one seems to hold up better in my mind, but as you say, it reflects a flat earth, etc.

    But saying that, is the picture that you provided reflect a uniform vision of creation throughout the old testament? Can you get all those details out of the Genesis account, or do you have to poke around in Psalms and other books to get that full picture?

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