Once upon a time, when the earth was still geologically young, there existed various pools of chemical soup dotting the landscape. As “chance” would have it some of these chemical pools produced new mixtures that became living organisms.
These living organisms immediately enjoyed their new and special chemical status in the world of nature and were very appreciative of their “dumb luck.”
“Life is good,” said one microbe to another. In fact, all the microbes congratulated each other’s good fortune.
Then something strange happened.
Each of the microbes noticed that they were losing energy and slowing down. It soon became apparent to them that they had only limited supplies of energy, and, when this was used up they would die and revert back to the status of mere soup again.
So the microbes got together to exchange ideas about how they could change their cruel fate. None of their ideas seemed very promising until one bright microbe among them suggested that they should learn to “eat.”
“What does ‘eat’ mean?” asked the other microbes.
“If we need more energy let’s simply get it from our environment,” said the brilliant microbe. “Eating is absorbing other minerals and chemicals from nature and turning them into the extra energy we need.”
“How do we do that?” asked one of the other microbes in the crowd.
“Go over to that floating particle, surround it with your membrane, then absorb it into your body,” said the scientifically-minded microbe.
So one of the microbes went over to the tiny inorganic particle in the pool and completely surrounded it in its membrane. After several minutes the microbe with the particle inside its body said, “Nothing is happening. I can’t absorb it.”
“Darn! We need a way to adapt our bodies to be able to metabolize material from our environment,” said the scientifically-minded microbe.
“But that would take thousands, maybe millions of years,” came the voice of still another microbe. “Evolution is a slow process and we would need to be very lucky again.”
“Wait,” said the scientifically-minded microbe, “I think I have a way to speed things up! Let’s all go to the surface of the pool and expose ourselves to cosmic radiation. There are so many of us that one of us is sure to have their genetic material altered by the radiation in a way that will allow us to eat.”
So all the microbes gathered at the surface of their chemical pool in the hopes that a cosmic hit of radiation would give their bodies the mastery over the science needed to metabolize external substances and properly fuel their organic machinery.
(The moral to this story is that life consists of an economy of functions whereby each part supports the whole system and the whole system supports each of the parts. This “designed cooperation” can only succeed if it is fully formed to begin with, and indeed, such a design requires a profound mastery of science.)
“Wait! I have another question,” said one of the microbes to the scientifically-minded one. “Once my body adapts itself to eating, how do we keep from getting old and dying?”
The scientifically minded microbe pondered this question for a moment and said, “Our bodies have to also outwit the tyranny of time. We have to evolve bodies that not only can eat but can reproduce as well. That will ensure that life continues. So pray that the cosmic radiation performs double duty—and quickly!”