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Evolution, and Creation
By Gary F. Zeolla
Four and half billion years ago a potato-sized rock forms on Mars. Three and a half billion years ago life somehow gets into the rock. 16 million years ago a meteor hits Mars and knocks the rock into space. The rock floats around space for almost 16 million years. 13,000 years ago it is caught in the gravity of Earth and falls onto Antarctica.1
In the summer of 1986 NASA scientists trudge through the snow and find the rock. After seven years NASA decides the rock came from Mars. Microscopic remains of living organisms are subsequently discovered in the rock.
Then on August 7, 1996, in a nationally televised news conference, NASA makes the stunning announcement: WE ARE NOT ALONE!!!2
My first reaction in hearing the above scenario was, "Ya, right!" To make things even more amazing, some are claiming this one little rock somehow "proves" evolution is true and Biblical creation is false.
In fact, even before the conference there was a lady reporter interviewing three lady scientists on CNN via TV hookup. The reporter said something like, "The creationists aren't going to like this." One of the scientists responded, "Well, that's just too bad." And the Internet has been abuzz with many such comments.
There are two issues involved: First, the scientific evidence. Second, the relationship of claims based on this evidence to the evolution vs. creation debate. A few comments will be made on the former, while concentrating on the latter.
Before proceeding, it needs to be noted, the claim being made by the researchers is NOT that there is currently life on Mars. The Viking probes of the late 1970's tested soil on the Martian surface and found no evidence of life. 3 The claim is that life once existed on Mars but has long since become extinct.4
Is the Rock from Mars?
The first obvious question is, "Is the rock from Mars?" There are two main evidences for the rock being Martian. According to Dr. David McKay, a Johnson Space Center planetary scientist, "the mineralogy and gases of the meteorite are all consistent with data on the surface composition of Mars sent back to Earth by the Viking space probe 20 years ago."5
In other words, the composition of the rock and the atmosphere trapped in air pockets within it are similar to what has been observed on Mars. But I have a couple of reservations.
First, these similarities do not necessarily prove the rock came from Mars. It would still need to be demonstrated that the rock could not have been formed on Earth, or someplace else in the universe for that matter.
Second, the Viking probes landed on Mars about 20 years ago. But the rock is said to have left Mars 16 million years ago. So to say the similarities show the rock came from Mars assumes that the atmosphere of Mars has not changed in the last 16 million years. This sounds like a big assumption.
Despite these reservations, for the sake of argument, it will be assumed the researchers are correct and the rock probably did come from Mars.
Is It Life?
Assuming the rock did come from Mars, the next obvious question is, "What is the evidence for life in it?" This is where it gets really complicated.
The evidence for life found in the rock are microbial compounds "less than 1/1000 the width of a human hair."6 NASA administrator Daniel Goldin refers to these compounds as, "bacterial microfossils."7
However, "None of the evidence is conclusive." There are "naysayers" as U.S. News calls them. One such naysayer is UCLA's Dr. William Schopf. He states, "At this point, in my opinion, the biological interpretation is probably unlikely."8
Even the scientists at the press conference were hesitant in their pronouncements, "'We are not here to establish beyond of shadow of a doubt that life existed on Mars,' said NASA administrator Daniel Goldin, 'but we have to open the door.'"9
One reason for this doubt is the compounds could have been formed via non-organic processes, "The PAH's (chemicals) found in the meteorite - supposedly indicating the presence of life - can also be formed from non-life sources."10
Furthermore, this rock is not the only one which NASA has found and believes is from Mars. There are about a dozen others.11 And, "The other meteorites in the NASA collection also were studied extensively, but researchers said they did not find similar evidence of the primitive, bacteria-like organisms in samples from those rocks."12 So there is no confirming evidence.
Repeated at the NASA press conference was an often quoted statement of Carl Sagan, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." The claim of life on Mars, to me, is "extraordinary" - but I personally do not find one potato-sized rock which probably came Mars, which might contain microscopic remains of life to be "extraordinary evidence." A fossil of a leaf would be much more convincing.
But again, for the sake of argument, let's say further research does demonstrate conclusively that microbial life did at one time exist on Mars. What implications would that have for the evolution vs. creation debate?
Relationship of Earth and Martian Life
Assuming life did once exist on Mars, the next question is, "What is the relationship of Martian life to life on Earth?" This is where the possibility of life on Mars intersects with the question of evolution vs. creation. There are three basic possibilities. Each of these possibilities will be looked at in turn.
1) Independent Origin of
Earth and Martian Life:
The first possibility is life originated independently on Earth and Mars. But the important question would then be, "HOW did the life originate?" For evolutionists the answer lies in some kind of "primeval soup" theory.
This idea is based on experiments performed in laboratories in which amino acids have been produced using a mixture that supposedly resembles a "primeval soup" that once existed on Earth. And since, apparently, Mars once had liquid water, then such a primeval soup could have also produced life on Mars.
So, to evolutionists, the possibility of life on Mars may "prove" how easy it is for life to originate via natural forces alone. Furthermore, if life originated on at least two planets in our solar system, then, "The creation of life may be a cosmic imperative."13 If this is true, there is the possibility life originated on many other planets outside our solar system. If this is the case, then THE UNIVERSE IS TEEMING WITH LIFE!
Continuing with this line of reasoning, if all of this life came about via natural forces alone, then the idea of a divine creation is false. And if there is no creation, there is no need for God.
But slow down there! There are a lot of "if's" and "may's" in these claims. First off, did life really originate via natural forces alone, either here or on Mars? I expressed my reservations about this idea in my article, Sci-Fi, Evolution, and the Primeval Soup.
More recently, U.S. News reported:
Still, it's a big leap from the building blocks of proteins to the edifice of life. Even the most basic ancient bacterium is a marvel of biological machinery that replicates itself and makes mistakes called mutations - two things required for evolution. The prime candidate: RNA, a form of genetic material that can trigger its own replication. One hole in the scheme, says, Antonio Lazcano, a microbiologist at the Autonomous University of Mexico, in Mexico City: "How do you get from the primordial soup to the RNA world?"14
So evolutionists still have not actually discovered HOW life can originate via natural forces alone. But there is another possibility.
After the press conference, one of the news stations did on the street interviews.15 The station asked people what they thought about the possibility of life on Mars. About half of the people responded by saying something like, "Since God created life on Earth I see no reason why He couldn't have created life on Mars."16
The Bible teaches, "For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who has established it, who did not create it in vain, WHO FORMED IT TO BE INHABITED: "I am the LORD, and there is no other" (Isa 45:18).
So the Bible specifically says God formed the Earth "to be inhabited." But please note, it does NOT say, "God formed ONLY the Earth to be inhabited." So this verse does not preclude the possibility of life other than on Earth. And no other verse in Scripture specifically states the Earth is the only place God created life.17 The Bible is simply silent on the subject. And there is no reason for it to have been otherwise.
Since God could have created life on Earth and Mars independently, there is nothing in the possibility of life arising independently on Mars that in any way argues against creation and for evolution.
2) Earth "seeded"
The second possibility of the relationship of Earth and Martian life is that life originated first on Earth and Earth then "seeded" Mars. This scenario is very possible.
Science professor Ken Ham writes, "For years scientists have said that the pressures of light - aided by solar flares - would actually send dust particles and spores out of Earth into the solar system. Therefore, it is possible that Mars could be contaminated by Earth's particles."18
If this scenario is true, then former life being found on Mars says nothing whatsoever about how "easy" it is for life to originate via natural forces. There would still be only one planet that we know of on which life originated. So the possibility of life on Mars in no way would hint that the universe is teeming with life. In fact, it may say the exact opposite.
The important question would now be, "Why did life die out on Mars?" Answer: because the conditions on Mars were not ideal for life. So what we would have is evidence that for life to FLOURISH ideal conditions must exist. And, again, we know of only one planet with such conditions.
From a creationist perspective, as stated above, the Earth was created to be inhabited. Thus it has these ideal conditions. But if Mars was not created to be inhabited, it would not have these ideal conditions. Thus the creationist can easily explain why life died out on Mars but continued here.
3) Mars "seeded"
The third possibility is that life originated first on Mars and Mars then "seeded" Earth. If one rock with life in it from Mars landed here millions of years ago, then it could be possible that a previous rock with life from Mars came here billions of years ago. If it did, then it would mean, "We are the Martians" as some newscasters have proclaimed.
This scenario seems to be preferred by many scientists to the previous one. The reason given is the Earth is larger than Mars and thus has a larger gravity well and would be more likely to "catch" Martian materials. But, the "pressures of light" mentioned above flow outward from the sun, past Earth then past Mars. So the two phenomena would probably cancel each other out making one scenario as likely as the other.
What I find most interesting about this claim is its relationship to my "Primeval Soup" article mentioned above. At the end of that article I mentioned that since evolutionist have not solved the problem of how life originated on Earth that some have proposed that "life here began out there."
One e-mail letter I received in response to that article said that it is not scientists that make this proposal but "UFO-ologists." Well now it seems that scientists are indeed seriously suggesting that life here began out there. But, of course, the problem still remains: HOW did life "out there" originate?
From a creationist perspective, it seems unlikely that God would have created life on Mars first then used life from there to seed Earth. But it is not impossible.
If indeed there ever was life on Mars, of the above three scenarios, the second is the most likely from a creationist perspective. But either of the first two scenarios pose no problems whatsoever to the creationist position. Only the third seems unlikely, but not impossible.
Lastly, it would probably be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to determined which of the above three scenarios best explains the relationship of Earth and Martian life. And in any case, the same questions about HOW life originates would still remain regardless of whichever position is true.
What About the "Face?"
While scientists are debating about this little rock which might contain microbial remains of Martian life, UFO-ologists are screaming, "What about the Face on Mars?"
For those who don't know, one of the Viking explorers photographed an object on Mars that is a mile long and 15,000 feet high that looks strangely like a human face.19 A picture of it is to the right.20
To look at the picture, it does look like a human face. And if it is, we would now not only be talking about possible former microbial life on Mars, but former INTELLIGENT LIFE. But what is NASA's position on this photo? The following is copied off from the National Space Science Data Center's FAQ page.
5. What is NASA's official opinion as to what the "face" on Mars is?
NASA has no official opinion on what the so-called "face" on Mars is. Most planetary scientists agree that, although there is insufficient data to make a definitive analysis of the feature, it is highly unlikely to be anything other than a combination of a natural feature and unusual lighting conditions.
So it could be the object is just something like a mountain. Our seeing a face in it would be similar to looking at the clouds and "seeing" various designs in them. But what if this is not the case? What if the "Face" was created by intelligent beings?
Relationship of Martians to Earthers
If intelligent life did exist on Mars, the question would now be, "What was the relationship of Martians to us Earthers?"21 There would again be three different scenarios possible.
1) Similar Evolution:
It could be claimed that life on Mars followed the same evolutionary path as it supposedly did on Earth. It started with microbial life and gradually evolved upwards towards humanoid life. Life was extinguished when most of the Martian atmosphere, due to the smaller gravity of Mars, seeped into space.
Of course, this scenario ASSUMES the theory of evolution is true. It does not in any way PROVE evolution is true. All the same creation vs. evolution debates about supposed evolution on Earth would apply to Mars. Details on these debates are outside the scope of this article. But one question will be raised.
If life did evolve on Mars, why did it produce Martians that, based on the appearance of the "Face," look similar to Earthers?
For those of us raised on Star Trek and other Sci-Fi shows, the idea that the universe is filled with human-looking beings seems quite natural.22 But with the multitude of possible turns that evolution could take, it is doubtful that two planets would produce such similar looking intelligent creatures.
A possible scenario would be that beings from one of the planets traveled to the other and colonized it. Now this theory, as far as I know, is not being suggested within any scientific circles. But it is mentioned here for the sake of completeness.
As for Earthers colonizing Mars, there is simply no evidence that humans had space-flight capabilities prior to the twentieth century.
As for the reverse, if Martians traveled here and colonized Earth then it could really be said, "We are the Martians!" But again, there is no evidence. I discussed the idea that we were visited by "ancient astronauts" in my article Sci-Fi, ETs, and the Ways of God.
The third possibility would be that God created humanoid life on Mars just as He did here. If this was the case, than the similar looking features would be due to both having the same Designer.
But if God did create Martians, then an interesting, and possibly disturbing, question would be raised, "What happened to the Martians?"
This writer speculates that maybe the "Face" was a massive idol to a false god - kind of the Martian equivalent of the Tower of Babel. But rather than just confusing their tongues and scattering the Martians, God judged the Martians with annihilation.
So what we could be seeing in the "Face" is a dramatic reminder that a people who reject the true God for false idols stand in danger of facing Armageddon. And, maybe, God left the object on Mars to provide just this reminder to us in our technologically advanced age.
The Future Awaits
Are the last two paragraphs above just wild speculation? Absolutely! But no more wild than some other theories that have been floating around. And that is the point.
Right now, there simply is not enough information to make dramatic proclamations about us not being alone. But we may not have to wait very long. There are currently two NASA probes heading for Mars.
"The first, an orbiting satellite called Mars Global Surveyor, will train its camera on the red planet in 1988, scoping out landing sites and spots for collecting soil." 23
The second NASA probe is called the Mars Pathfinder. It is scheduled to reach Mars on July 4, 1997. It will, " settle on the Martian surface and send out a dune buggy the size of a laser printer to explore the planet."
These probes, and others scheduled to follow, will provide us with much more information about Mars. And, "Eventually, the expeditions should help determine if earthlings have ever had living neighbors, whether bacteria or intelligent beings. "24
This writer anxiously awaits to see what the future reveals about our celestial neighbor. But it is very doubtful that anything will be found out about Martian life that in anyway somehow proves evolution and disproves creation. The same debates about how life came to be here will simply rage about life out there.
I read your article Martian Life, Evolution, and Creation. I found it very interesting as I did your whole web site.<
Thank you very much.
> In the last part of the article about the probes going to Mars, I recently did a school assingnment on those probes. I myself think that the idea of life on Mars is crazy and very evolutionist but I want to ask a question. In Genesis 6 it says the Sons of GOD came DOWN and took wives of the dughters of MEN and their children were giants like never seen on the face of the EARTH before.
When it says came DOWN and like never seen on the face of the EARTH that has to mean beings not from the earth doesn't it? I hope you can answer my question.
Well, you're asking about one of the most controversial passages in the Bible. But, to be honest, I have never heard it interpreted as referring to aliens. Maybe you've been watching too much of The X-Files lately. Like the episode last night, part one of the "Full Disclosure" episode, where it was revealed the "conspiracy" definitely involved making a human/ alien hybrid.
In any case, most often the passage is interpreted in one of two ways: 1. taking the "sons of God" as demons and "the daughters of men" as humans, thus producing demon/ human hybrids. Or 2. taking the "sons of God" as simply referring to the godly descendants of Shem and the "daughters of men" as referring to the ungodly descendants of Cain. So the "hybrid" would simply be godly people being corrupted by ungodly ones. Their large stature was somehow a result of the DNA mixing.
Personally, I agree with the latter. We have no evidence otherwise of demons being able to copulate with humans in the Bible. And, as for the alien hypothesis, that has even less evidence. See my article, Sci-Fi, ETs, and the Ways of God.
Books and eBooks by Gary F. Zeolla, the Director of Darkness to Light
NASA stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the United States government space agency.
1 For the purposes of this article I will accept the evolutionary "old Earth" dating. A discussion of the age of the Earth would be another subject entirely and would require an article, or two, in itself.
2 Summarized from the press conference itself and other sources referred to in this article.
3 George Mulfinger, Jr. Ed. Design and Origins in Astronomy (USA: Creation Research Society Books), 1989, p.21.
4 There is still the possibility that if life did once exist on the Martian surface it retreated deep underground when conditions on the surface of the red planet became inhospitable.
5 Copied from MSNBC's Web site, August 8, 1996. ©1996 MSNBC.
6 "Calls for mission to Mars skyrocket." Valley New Dispatch (August 8, 1996), p. B6.
8 Watson, Traci, et.al. "The Martian Chronicles," U.S. News and World Report (August 19, 1996), p.47.
9 CNN's Web site, August 8, 1996. © 1996 Cable News Network, Inc.
10 Ken Ham, "Life in the Rock?" Answers in Genesis (September 96), p.7.
11 "Scientists: Too early for Mars theories." Valley News Dispatch (October 13, 1996), p. B1.
13 Watson, p.50.
14 Ibid., p.50.
15 I don't remember which station it was; but it was probably CNN or MSNBC. The same can be said for many of the other points raised in this article. I was flipping back and forth between the two stations throughout the day of the NASA press conference.
16 As an aside, it must really grate at atheists that after decades of trying to remove every vestige of God, the Bible, and especially the teaching of creation in public schools that about half of the people in the USA still believe in some form divine creation, not atheistic evolution.
17 An objection some Christians raise to the possibility of intelligent life beyond Earth concerns the atonement of Christ and the salvation of aliens. This complex theological topic will be discussed separately in a future article.
18 Ham, p.7.
19 "The "Face" is also discussed in Letter and the "Face" on Mars.
20 The picture of the "Face" and some of the other pictures in this article were copied from National Space Science Data Center's Photo Gallery.
21 I use the term "Earthers" rather than the more familiar "Earthlings" as the former is the term used on my favorite TV show, Babylon 5.
22 Of course, the real reason Star Trek and other Sci-Fi shows have so many humanoid looking beings has nothing to do with scientific theories. It has to do with money. It is simply cheaper to put points on someone's ears, or ridges across a nose and call them aliens than to create vastly different looking creatures.
23 Watson, p.48.
24 "On the Way to Mars." U.S. News and World Report (November 18, 1996), p.12.
Martian Life, Evoluton, and Creation. Copyright © 1999 by Gary F. Zeolla of Darkness to Light ministry (www.zeolla.org/christian).
The above article was published in Darkness to Light
and posted on this Web site in January 1997.
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