Copyright 1994 by the CREATION RESEARCH SOCIETY (CRS), Inc.
                  THE HISTORY OF LIFE
                by Lane P. Lester, Ph.D. 
         Creation Research Society Quarterly 31(2)
It has often been claimed that the evolution-creation
controversy is a conflict between science and religion. This is
given as a primary reason for keeping the creation alternative
out of the science classroom. But the two powerful ideas of
evolution and creation cut across the academic disciplines of
science, religion, philosophy, and history. Both are developed
from the findings of scientists and are appropriate subjects for
science classes. However, both go beyond the capabilities of
science and require a measure of faith from their proponents. 
Although there are variations in both the evolutionist and the
creationist camps, the controversy can be simplified to state
that either evolution is true or creation is true. To eliminate
one is to confirm the other. Many writers have concentrated on
exposing the fatal weaknesses of the evolutionist position,
thereby showing that creation is the superior scientific model.
But rather than follow this same approach, I would like to
provide a positive statement of the creation alternative and
give you some of the evidence supporting it. I'll frame this in
two somewhat simplified statements, one about the origin of life
and one about the origin of species. 
                        *Origin of Life*
The origin of life had to be by supernatural creation, because
life is too complex to arise through natural processes. The
living cell is, in some ways, like a chemical factory, but more
complex than any designed by humans. Hundreds of chemical
reactions are simultaneously going on in each cell. And the cell
is not just a bag of chemicals! It is subdivided into many
compartments, just as a human factory is divided into areas with
different functions. Both the physical design of the cell and
the chemistry in it are clear examples of intelligent design. 
There have been many attempts in the laboratory to show how life
could originate through natural processes. Scientists have
succeeded, usually using extreme measures, in simulating tiny
steps of the total process of life. Anyone who expresses
satisfaction with these attempts shows us one of two things.
Either they have a poor understanding of life or they have an
incredible amount of faith in evolution. In spite of headlines
about the creation of life in a test tube, scientists are
nowhere near being able to demonstrate a natural procedure for
the origin of the first cell. 
                       *Origin of Species*
A large number of different organisms had to be created
supernaturally, because the processes of biological change are
not capable of significant innovation. Let's consider first the
processes that produce change in individual living things. Then
we'll look at a process that produces change in populations of
living things. Both creationists and evolutionists agree that
mutations are the only source of new genes. These are genetic
mistakes, errors in transmitting the information of inheritance
from one generation to the next. Mutations are almost always
harmful or neutral in their effects. However, the evolutionist
believes in mutations as the source of all the diversity of life
on earth today. This would require the production of untold
numbers of beneficial mutations. That the same handful of
examples is always offered is again testimony to the faith of
the true believer. 
One of the favorite examples of beneficial mutations is the
ability of bacteria to change so that they are resistant to
antibiotics. Of course, that is beneficial only to the bacteria,
not to the humans they infect. Insects, similarly, undergo
mutations that make them resistant to insecticides. These
resistance mutations are very beneficial to organisms confronted
by these poisons. However, they do not produce the kind of
change that is needed to convert one type of creature into
There are some beneficial mutations that produce large changes.
Charles Darwin, during his voyage around the world, discovered
wingless beetles on the island of Madeira. These beetles had
undergone mutations causing the loss of wings, a good idea on a
windy island. A similar example would be the blind fish that
inhabit caves. Here mutations have eliminated organs which have
no use in the dark. These changes are, indeed, significant, but
notice that they involve the loss of existing structures. No one
has ever seen a species undergo mutations that produce brand-new
wings or eyes. 
There is, however, another process by which individuals can
vary. Recombination explains why children look different from
their parents. This shuffling of the genes can produce superior
combinations of different genes. However, because we see that
mutations are incapable of supplying useful variation, the
useful genes that are there to be shuffled must have been
created at the beginning. 
We have mutation and recombination as the processes by which
individuals can change. But the history of life is primarily the
story of populations, not individuals. What causes populations
to change? Charles Darwin correctly described natural selection
as a powerful process in the history of populations. If some
gene combinations have an advantage over others, their owners
will leave more offspring for future generations, and this will
cause a shift in the genetic makeup of the population. But
Darwin thought that because a little change was possible with
natural selection, any amount of change could result. One reason
for his mistake was his ignorance of genetics. It is interesting
that, during the 1850s, when Darwin was doing his research,
Gregor Mendel was discovering the principles of genetics. While
Darwin was building a case for unlimited change, Mendel was
finding an unchanging pattern of inheritance. What does natural
selection accomplish? Using the genes provided by the Creator,
natural selection makes it possible for populations to survive
changes in their environments. It may also allow a population to
migrate into a new environment. Finally, natural selection also
prevents change as it eliminates or minimizes the effects of
harmful mutations. 
With these basic statements about the origin of life and the
origin of species, lets try to put the history of life into a
meaningful framework. 
                      *First Kinds*
According to the creation model, each basic type of living thing
was supernaturally created. Can we identify the created types
today? It is obvious that some species are related, so species
can't be the unit of creation. The higher taxonomic categories
(genus, family, etc.) are subjective and can't serve this
purpose. A new term is needed, and various ones have been
proposed. In our book, _The Natural Limits to Biological
Change_, Ray Bohlin and I proposed the word "prototype" (first
kind). Unfortunately for our egos, this word has not become
popular. The clear-cut winner so far is "baramin," which is
derived from two Hebrew words meaning essentially "created
A baramin could be defined as the descendants of a single
created population. So each baramin has its beginning at the
creation, and unless extinct, continues to exist today in its
descendants. After the creation, each baramin population grew
and subdivided as it spread over the earth. The processes of
recombination and natural selection in new environments in many
instances caused the members of the same baramin to divide into
separate races and species. A question that arises is whether a
small original population could provide all the variability seen
today in that baramin. An example that suggests a positive
answer is the inheritance of skin color in the human species.
Humans come in many different shades of color, but it is
genetically possible that the First Couple could have been the
same color, had children the same color as themselves, and yet
produced the entire rainbow of humanity. All this would have
been possible without the necessity of mutations being involved. 
There are many examples of multiple plant species that have come
from the same baramin during historical times. Animals are
harder to determine in this regard, but it is possible that the
horse, donkey, and zebra are descendants of one baramin. The
same may be true of at least some of the big cats: lions,
tigers, etc. 
                      *Basic Designs*
To appreciate fully the living world around us today, we need to
have another word in our vocabulary, "archetype" (ancient form).
This refers to basic designs used repeatedly by the Creator.
There is an endless variety of examples known to biologists. One
of the most fundamental archetypes is the living cell, the
building block of all life. An example seen in most biology
textbooks is the front limbs of different back-boned animals.
The evolutionist believes that this is evidence of common
ancestry, but it is just as logically evidence of the same
Designer. Architects today will use similar materials and
techniques in several buildings, varying the basic design for
the needs of the particular client. 
With the above concepts about the origin of life and the origin
of species, all the history of life and the great diversity of
life today can be understood and appreciated. The known
processes of beneficial change (recombination and natural
selection) are capable of taking a group of created populations
and developing them into the richness of life on earth. It is
unnecessary and unreasonable to resort to unknown and unlikely
processes, such as mutations, as the sources of variation that
could change simple cells into all we see alive today. 
                      *Further Reading*
_Creation Research Society Quarterly_, Creation Research
Society, P.O. Box 969, Ashland, OH 44805-0969. The Creation
Research Society is the worldwide creation organization for
scientists and those interested in science. Articles range from
general interest to highly scientific. 
_Acts and Facts_, Institute for Creation Research, Box 2667, El
Cajon, CA 92021, donations appreciated. News about ICR, group of
creation scientists. Includes articles on Biblical and
scientific topics. 
_Creator_, His Creation, P.O. Box 785, Arvada, CO 80001. Fine
little newsletter including excellent materials for children. 
_The Natural Limits to Biological Change_, L. P. Lester and R.
G. Bohlin, Word Books. The evidence of genetics shows the
weaknesses of modern theories of evolution. Adult reading level. 
_What Is Creation Science?_, Henry M. Morris and Gary. E.
Parker, Master Book Publishers, P.O. Box 1606, El Cajon, CA
92021. Very readable overview of the creation-evolution
_Evolution: The Challenge of the Fossil Record_, Duane T. Gish,
Master Book Publishers, P.O. Box 1606, El Cajon, CA 92021. The
best treatment of fossil record. 
More information can be obtained by writing to:
+   Creation Research Society   +
+        P.O. Box 969           +
+    Ashland, OH 44805-0969     +
+            USA                +
+  (email: CRSnetwork@AOL.com)  +
Copyright 1994 by the CREATION RESEARCH SOCIETY (CRS), Inc.
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