Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Creation Markers

Reasons to Believe scholar Fazale Rana, a biochemist, addressed evidence for design in the biosphere at his October 26, 2010 plenary address at the Hill Country Institute for Contemporary Christianity’s “Vibrant Dance of Faith and Science” symposium. God is not only the Creator, but also the Redeemer. Therefore, we could expect to identify evidence for God’s character in the record of nature just as we identify his attributes in the interventional redemptive work of Jesus Christ described in the Word of God. Rana highlighted a number of divine interventions apparent today in the fossil record of life on earth.

The origin of life is clearly a marker for a sudden act of creation. The record shows life emerging suddenly with a well-developed genetic code for protein synthesis apparently intact from the start. There is no evidence for a primordial soup which might have slowly birthed the process of molecular organization, the production of RNA and DNA, and life’s origin.

Secular scientists recognize many suddenly appearing markers in earth’s history of life. Of course, they are not described as “creation” markers. Evolutionist Eugene V. Koonin, proposes six “BBBs” (biology’s big bangs), sudden events for which there is no detectable preparation: Origins of (1) protein folding, (2) viruses, (3) cells, (4) bacteria/archaea, (5) eukaryotic organisms, and (6) animal phyla. My own research into Koonin’s BBB proposals uncovered a number of creative explanations, some of which drew analogies to theorized events during the Big Bang. Koonan describes the rapid changes as, “a switch between two phases of evolution, a phase of rapid evolution (inflation) by rampant exchange and recombination of genetic material, followed by congealing into a relatively slow phase governed by the tree pattern.” Anyone already firmly committed to evolution would no doubt feel a sense of affirmation when reading such a flowery theoretical account from a well-known evolutionary biologist of Koonan's reputation.

Many other sudden changes of various types have occurred. Vertebrate radiation events (sudden appearances) have occurred which might also be termed “big bangs of biology.” Since the extremely rapid proliferation of marine life in the Cambrian Explosion, other events have raised questions--the appearance of fish, amphibians, birds, and mammals have all occurred relatively suddenly after extinction events. Even Charles Darwin thought such phenomena weakened his theory. The secular literature is replete with descriptions of many abrupt appearances of novel forms of life in the fossil record. Niles Eldredge and the late Stephen Jay Gould have called this phenomenon “punctuated equilibrium.” Evolutionary biologists offer many imaginative theories to explain it, but their descriptions of the phenomena substitute for convincing explanations.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Rana’s address was the origin of humanity, a topic of sometimes intense disagreement in our culture and in our churches. Modern humans appeared very recently on the world stage. Genetic markers point to man’s origin in a single location in the Near East or Africa from a small population, perhaps a single man and a single woman. These are discoveries of secular scientists, but descriptive biblical imagery is being used by researchers. The harmony between the biblical account and findings of science has become more apparent. Rana described this phenomenon as a “resonance between scripture and science.”

Research does not show that early hominids which roamed the earth for several million years are ancestral. Numerous early hominid discoveries do not provide any clear relationships to modern man. Complete fossilized remains are non-existent. Often only cranial-dental remains are found--parts of a skull, a jawbone, or a few teeth. It now appears these creatures were created beings with some modest achievements such as fashioning simple tools. All went extinct without leaving clear evolutionary relationships, either among themselves or with modern man. Phylogenies cannot be constructed with any confidence. There was no evidence of “God’s image,” a complex set of characteristics clearly manifest in modern man beginning several tens of thousands of years ago. The capacity for producing sculpture, jewelry, painting, and music comes from “virtually nowhere.” This appearance of unique manifestations of “God’s image,” is sometimes called the “Socio-cultural Big Bang.”

There are two views of origins. One is suffused with a tendency to interpret the evidence from an evolutionary perspective. The other sees the divine intervention of the God of the Bible as a valid inference from the identical evidence. This view sees clear markers of scripturally referenced creation acts as well as the character of the Creator in the record of the rocks.