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What is Spontaneous Generation

QUESTION: What is spontaneous generation?


By asking the question, what is spontaneous generation, we are asking: can life generate itself from non-living matter? For centuries, at least back to the 4th century BC until the late nineteenth century, people (including scientists) believed that simple living organisms could come into being by "spontaneous generation." It was "common knowledge" that simple organisms like worms, frogs, and salamanders could come from mud, dust, and unpreserved food.

Today we know that all apparent spontaneous generation of life has an explanation. We also know that what was thought to be simple life was extremely complicated life. What we have learned is that life comes from life!

For more than one hundred years, biologists have taught that spontaneous generation of life from non-living matter was disproven by the work of Redi, Spallanzani, and ultimately Pasteur. This work was so conclusive; that biology codified the "Law of Biogenesis," which states that life only comes from previously existing life. Although, this doesn't prove absolutely that life couldn't ever have generated itself from non-living matter because it is impossible to prove a universal negative. However, the Law of Biogenesis is just as solid as the Law of Gravity. Even though we accept the law of gravity, we cannot prove that if you continued to drop apples forever, that at one point, one apple may not fall.

It is very interesting that life appears to be self-emergent, yet has been shown not to be self-emergent. Couldn't this be explained by an incredible design by an incredible designer? What other explanation is possible? It is amazing that in addition to the apparent spontaneous generation sources of life already mentioned, many others exist. Some include the replenishment of trees, grass, and animals after a forest fire. Another is fish in lakes that are remote and isolated. Recently, it was announced that where the ice was receding in the Polar Regions, grass was growing all over the barren areas. Many other examples exist that show how lives of insects, plants, and birds, etc. are interrelated and dependent upon other life forms for existence.

Certainly what we see is consistent with the creation story in Genesis. The Scripture repeats the creation story for plants, for birds, sea creatures, and for land animals. It states that life will bring forth life after its own kind, that it was good and that life will be brought forth abundantly. That is exactly what we see, not spontaneous generation of life.

Learn More About Origin of Life!

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