“NASA-funded researchers have evidence that some building blocks of DNA, the molecule that carries the genetic instructions for life, found in meteorites were likely created in space. The research gives support to the theory that a “kit” of ready-made parts created in space and delivered to Earth by meteorite and comet impacts assisted the origin of life.
“People have been discovering components of DNA in meteorites since the 1960′s, but researchers were unsure whether they were really created in space or if instead they came from contamination by terrestrial life,” said Dr. Michael Callahan of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. “For the first time, we have three lines of evidence that together give us confidence these DNA building blocks actually were created in space.”
While speaking again with an atheist gentleman recently, he invoked the discovery of organic precursors from space as evidence against any notion of a Creator. Does the discovery of organic precursors from space challenge Christian belief?
Not in the least. In the first place, Catholicism has no doctrine about the manner in which God acted as a Creator in the origin of life. There’s no doctrinal reason at all which would preclude the use of naturally produced materials in the development of life; and moreover, Catholicism has a robust appreciation of the role that natural, secondary causes play in the natural world.
More importantly, though, the discovery of natural explanations for physical features does not even make belief in a Creator less plausible. A point that is often not understood by critics is that the Catholic belief in a Creator is not based on gaps in science. The Catholic arguments for God as Creator would remain just as valid even if we had a complete scientific picture stretching from the Big Bang to today. The philosophical and theological arguments for God’s existence and his role as Creator simply do not depend there being “holes” in physical reality where God has to step in and intervene. He may very well have done so, but the point is that we can know Him with certainty as Creator even if He didn’t.
Catholics interested in the intersection of faith and science would do well to be aware of these discoveries – and to support and encourage them. When we give the impression that science presents a threat to Creation by unduly disparaging legitimate developments in research, we simply feed the misconception that science and Creation are at odds.