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Genesis 1:1

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”


In the beginning was Ida, the initial Darwinian ancestor – the first material on Earth to transform from inert to, well, ert. Ida begat Luca, the last universal common ancestor, and the molecule that gave rise to every kind of life on Earth, from lowly bacteria to the giant panda.


So begins an unusual article in the New Scientist magazine. The article is one of a number published in NS that refers to “things we know exist, but have never seen”. So this article refers to the Initial Darwinian Ancestor, or IDA, as the first time non-living material became living material. The suggested template allows for a few stages of evolution until we get the Last Universal Common Ancestor, from which the evolution for everything else branches.


The article rightly points out an inconvenient “chicken and egg” problem.


All life uses proteins to carry out its essential functions, including making DNA and executing its code. But proteins themselves are made from DNA templates – so without DNA, no proteins. Which came first?


The article has no answer, yet concludes that it must have somehow happened because, after all, life is here. The key to the problem is in the name Initial Darwinian Ancestor. The whole problem presupposes that Darwinian evolution is true. If only the article’s author could have realized that there are many scientists, who, for legitimate scientific reasons, do not accept that Darwinian evolution happened. Then we might get an acknowledgment that no one has seen IDA or LUCA because they never existed. “In the beginning, God created” is so much more scientific than “In the beginning was Ida”.


Prayer: Forgive us, Lord, for the times when we fall into folly and do not look to Your word for explanation. Help us to stand firm for the truth of Your word in a world that increasingly seems not to accept You. Amen.


Ref: Ultimate family tree: Tracing the oldest ancestor of all life, (March 2016), < >, accessed 10/28/2017. Image: Drawn by author, based on diagram in referenced article.


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