1) The natural amino acids are L and D, and in proteins are only L. So in
any hypothetical primordial soup, surely there would have been an equal
proportion of both. The problem for the materialist is to answer how did
the first proteins become just L amino acids (since racemic proteins can’t
exist). If there weren’t anybody to do that, how was it done
spontaneuosly?… But, I read somewhere that there were some clay or
crystal surfaces which might select one isomer over another, and therefore
purify the mixture of 50% L and 50% D, soup. How about that, because it
didn’t go on to explain anymore than this. Can you explain me shortly
what’s this theory about and if it has any credibility? 2) In a Christian
apologetic paper on the origin of life there is this quote from A.E.
Wilder-Smith, in his book “Man’s Origin Man’s Destiny”, (1993): “What Dr.
Blum is saying is: how was the motor to extract the energy from the
environment built before life processes had arisen to build it? Once a
motor (enzyme metabolic system) is present, it can easily supply the free
energy necessary to build more and more motors, that is, to reproduce. But
the basic problem is: How do we account for the building of the first
complex enzymatic protein metabolic motor to supply energy for
reproduction and other cell needs….The Creationist believes that God
synthesized non-living matter into living organisms and thus provided the
motors which were then capable of immediately extracting energy from their
environment to build more motors for reproduction. This view is thus
perfectly sound scientifically and avoids the hopeless impasse of the
materialistic. Darwinists in trying to account for the design and building
of the first necessarily highly complex metabolic motors by random
processes. Once the motor has been designed, fabricated, and is running,
the life processes work perfectly well on the principles of the known laws
of thermodynamics….” This is the quote. My question is this: “If I
didn’t misunderstand the above quote, is he saying that if we allow the
production of a single protein than the origin of life is much more
“easier”, and so the problem of the origin of life is just reduced to the
problem of the first metabolic motor (an enzyme)? I have studied
biochemistry for just 3 months (we study biochemistry with the latest
edition of “Principles of Biochemistry of Lehninger”, by Nelson and
Cox)but, even though I personally don’t believe that even if we had one
completely functional enzyme, we still make it easier for life to be
formed, since this enzyme can do a very limited nr. of reactions. But
there is the possibility that since I’ve studied biochemistry for just 3
months, maybe it is true and I don’t know it. 3) I know that the formation
of the peptide bond is endoergonic (is the word correct in English? I mean
for delta G>0, the energy of Gibbs to be positive). But i also know from
thermodynamics that these reactions aren’t spontaneous. But why then some
scientist, even Christian apologetics, like Hugh Ross and others, speak of
“CONSTRUCTIVE and destructive” reactions that happen spontaneously. they
speak of these and say that the problem is that the destructive rxn. are
more frequent then constructive. But what are these “constructive” rxn-s?
Do they mean that the peptide bond (and so the proteins) can happen
spontaneously…and that the only problem is only that they are destroyed
more rapidly than constructed. It’s a bit confusing to me this thing. 4)
This is an historical question. I bought the book of Didache, and in its
preface I read that the Didache was considered “Sacred Scripture” by some
early “Fathers” of the church including Clement and Origen. How come that
they considered it like this? i mean doesn’t it shade doubts about the
authenticity of the N.T, since we know that which books are in the Bible,
from the early Christian writers? Since these writers didn’t know
themselves which books were really inspired by God, then how can we know
that the books we have in the Bible are really inspired and that were
written by the original apostles? This is a difficulty to which i don’t
know how to answer.[

1. You express the issues fairly well. Not much comment from me is needed.
I agree with you that the explanation about clays causing L- or D-amino
acids is extremely speculative. The fact is that for every “clay” which
could spontaneously create an L- amino acid, another “clay” would
spontaneously produce a D-amino acid. In the end, although “clays” can on
an individual basis make a chiral compound, in a large system, they would
make a racemic mixture anyway. This and many other speculations are all
just a desperate attempt to make believable a theory which is not
believable. Life did not come about spontaneously. Life was created.

2. This point really raises two insurmountable problems for the atheists.
First, the only way for Free energy to be reduced enough for life to be
created is for there to be an energy-fixing protein/enzyme. Second, the
only way for this original protein to exist is for it to be created
through a complex system which could only be created if the energy fixing
mechanism was already in place. This is one more chicken-vs-egg argument
which shows the utter impossibility of the supposed origin of life by
random process. Besides, even if one could answer this question, literally
hundreds of other imponderable and unexplainable hurdles toward life being
created spontaneously would remain (what about the creation of cell
membranes?, what about the creation of DNA/RNA and the genetic code? What
about the creation of the enzymes required to synthesize DNA?….) The
quote is not saying that if we allow for the production of one protein,
then the problem of creation of life becomes much easier. I would say that
if we allow for the production of one enzyme/protein, it would make the
problem of the spontaneous origin of life infinitesimally smaller.

3. Endergonic, actually. I do not know the exact context of your quote
from Hugh Ross, so I cannot comment specifically on it, but let me give a
general comment.

Endergonic reactions in general are not spontaneous, but in an
intelligently designed system, exergonic reactions can be coupled to
endergonic reactions to cause otherwise non-spontaneous reactions to take
place. This is the case with living things. For example, the synthesis of
proteins is not spontaneous, but if amino acids are brought together in an
active way by certain RNA molecules, and if energy is supplied by ATP, the
otherwise impossible process of building a useable protein becomes

Let me give another example. The construction of a building out of a pile
of rock and some trees is clearly impossible. That is, unless energy is
put into the system in an intelligent way, for example by a human being.
Living things have the property of being able to use information to cause
otherwise non-spontaneous reactions to occur. The $64,000,000 question is
how could this possibly happen in a world before life existed. The plain
answer is that it could not, at least to the extent required to build up a
living thing from non-living matter.

The authors you refer to may be thinking of another example. Even
non-living matter can cause endergonic processes to occur on a limited
level. There is the famous experiment of Urey and Miller in which they
combined methane, hydrogen and ammonia, turned on an electric current, and
produced some amino acids. This process puts sufficient energy into a
system to allow the build-up of slightly more complex molecules. What it
will not do, however, is intelligently im
pose energy in order to build up
the very large, complex molecules required to make a living thing. Let me
give you an analogy. If one had a large rock at the bottom of a cliff and
wanted to move the rock to the top of the cliff. One could incorporate
energy in an unintelligent way by blowing up the rock with a high
explosive. At least a few of the chunks of rock which were produced in the
explosion might by chance end up at the top of the cliff. Putting in
energy can create a little order at the expense of a lot of disorder. The
only way to actually get the rock to the top of the hill in one piece is
for an intelligent being to supply the energy in a subtle and ingenious
way to move the rock to the top of the cliff. Yes, I would say your
insight is correct that peptide bonds would tend to be broken faster than
they are formed over a period of time in a closed system.

4. I believe it is more accurate to describe some of the early church
fathers as saying the Didache (and the epistle of Barnabus, etc) was
suitable for reading in the churches. It would be somewhat analogous
(thought not exactly) to a preacher using material from a spiritual book
in his sermon today. All would recognize that there is a difference. I
would admit that use of the Didache in the second century is not exactly
the same thing, but it is similar. What we learn from studying the early
church is that they had a healthy debate over which writings were truly of
apostolic origins and which were not. The process was not controlled by
any one person, so it was somewhat chaotic. A few may have considered that
Didache had apostolic authority, but in the end, the majority won out, and
I believe they made the correct decision. In the final analysis, it was
more important to err on the side of being conservative–in other words,
it would be worse to include non-inspired writings than to exclude, for
example, another inspired letter of Paul which people were not totally
sure about. Of course, the believer would allow for a measure of faith to
trust that God ultimately had a hand in the final decision. That certainly
is how I feel.

John Oakes, PhD

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