The short proof of creation

Ian Johnston has an interesting but flawed article on The Short Proof of Evolution, which prompted me to write A Short Critique of “The Short Proof of Evolution”. It also got me thinking about short arguments for creation. When combined together, the following arguments constitute a kind of proof of creation.

Matter and Life

Matter may be divided into living matter and non-living matter. Living matter generates other living matter through reproduction. There is no evidence that non-living matter ever produces living matter. Consider the question: What is the origin of living matter? If the reply is living matter, that evades the question of the origin of living matter. If the reply is non-living matter, that ignores the evidence that non-living matter does not produce living matter. Therefore, the origin of living matter is non-material.

Limits to Life

Consider exploring an old mine and finding a fossil and a piece of slag. There are good arguments that the fossil reflects the form of an organism that was once alive. But there are no good arguments that the piece of slag reflects the form of an organism that was once alive. We can recognize the difference between what could have be alive and what could not.

What does this show? It simply shows that there are limits to what could possibly have been a living form. It is not true that anything could have been a living form. There must be limits to what happened.

Now that it is established that limits exist to what could possibly have been a living form, the question is, “what are those limits?” Are there many limits or only a few? Are the limits simple or complex? What is the origin of these limits?

Kinds of Life

Consider carbon and copper: both are chemical elements but one is a metal and the other is not. That is, their differences are such that they are considered different kinds of elements. Similarly, the differences between human and non-human life are such that they must be different kinds of life.

Human and non-human life are different not only in degree but it kind. While there are many similarities between human and non-human beings (as if they had a common creator), they are poles apart in many ways, too.

G. K. Chesterton noted, “That man and brute are like is, in a sense, a truism; but that being so like they should then be so insanely unlike, that is the shock and enigma. That an ape has hands is far less interesting to the philosopher than the fact that having hands he does next to nothing with them; does not play knuckle-bones or the violin; does not carve marble or carve mutton.”

One can easily multiply the list of differences: humans alone make up names for things, laugh at jokes, tell lies, prove theorems, sign contracts, argue about creation, etc. etc. Note that these differences are not the kind that can be seen in fossils.

The point is simply that there is a qualitative barrier between human and non-human life. Human life is not merely a different species but a different kind of life. So there are at least two kinds of life, the humankind and the non-humankind (there may be other kinds of life, too).

Is there evidence that the qualitative barrier between the two kinds of life is breached over time? No, because it has not been directly observed and indirect evidence such as fossils cannot show the kinds of differences listed. The evidence indicates that species of one kind of life remain within that same kind of life. The origin of different kinds of life must be something different than other species.


If we combine these short arguments, we get this: Living matter must have a non-material origin, there are limits to the forms of life, there are at least two kinds of living matter, and the kinds of living matter must originate from something different than matter or other species. A non-material origin is called a creation and this creation must have limits and include two (or more) kinds of life.