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What is the theory of directed panspermia?

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Directed panspermia is a speculative hypothesis about the origin of life on Earth. This hypothesis is a very specific sub-division of a broad group of related ideas. “Exogenesis” is a term referring to the general hypothesis that earth life originated somewhere other than Earth, such as another planet. Panspermia, correctly applied, refers to the hypothesis that life existed in some basic form elsewhere in the universe and was spread to Earth and/or some other planets. Directed panspermia is even more specific, proposing that these basic forms, or “life-seeds,” were deliberately spread in all directions by some advanced alien race in an effort to begin life wherever they may have landed.

One early promoter of directed panspermia was Francis Crick, one of the co-discoverers of DNA. A committed atheist, Crick once resigned from a collegiate position because the college elected to build a chapel. Crick found his belief in an undesigned, naturally-controlled universe challenged by his discoveries. In particular, Crick found it impossible to believe that DNA could have evolved, based on his knowledge of its structure and the principles of naturalistic evolution. Rather than consider the possibility of DNA being the deliberate construction of an intelligent Creator, Crick mused about ideas like exogenesis, panspermia, and directed panspermia. Crick has since re-affirmed his commitment to the evolution of life on earth from purely natural mechanisms, though with significant questions left unanswered.

Directed panspermia—as well as the more general ideas of panspermia and exogenesis—are not well accepted in the scientific community. Some see these ideas as semi-contradictory to naturalistic evolution. In reality, the question of how life began on earth is different from the question of how that life progressed. The preferred belief about the origin of earth life is that of abiogenesis (the supposed development of living organisms from non-living matter, also called spontaneous generation), for several reasons. The most overt of these is a lack of evidence suggesting that exogenesis of any kind is likely. Second, a pre-commitment to naturalism is threatened by any suggestion that life might have anything other than a natural origin. Questions about life originating elsewhere raise additional questions about designed or created life, which is not a comfortable topic in naturalistic circles.

Directed panspermia is one of the many strange hypotheses that have been suggested to explain the origins of life on Earth. Even naturalistic science has realized that the question of life’s origin is far from answered. While speculation on the evidence supporting evolution rages on, there is little, if any, accepted support for life beginning naturally in the first place. To have life with no God, naturalism has to answer the riddle of abiogenesis, a concept thoroughly refuted by everything known in biology. Ideas like exogenesis and panspermia are side effects of an attempt to rationalize belief in a universe devoid of God.

The Bible, on the other hand, is God’s Word to humanity in which He reveals Himself and His creation of the universe. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). This sentence contains everything necessary to completely satisfy the basic principles of natural science, the science of foundational things. Natural science deals with a matrix when referring to the material universe. For the complete matrix, you have to have matter, force, energy, space, and time. Those five things are all in Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning [time] God [force] created [energy] the heavens [space] and the earth [matter]." The complete matrix is in Genesis 1:1 and that is a profound scientific statement. The universe is a matrix of space, time, matter, and energy. And all of it has to be existing at the same conflux. It all has to come together or none of it exists. One cannot exist without the other. The entire continuum must have existed simultaneously from the beginning. That is why you find it all in Genesis 1:1. It all had to be there. Science says it has to be there and Scripture says it is there. The theories of exogenesis, abiogenesis, and panspermia are simply wrong. Theories and philosophies come and go, but the Word of our God is true, trustworthy, right, and perfect, and it stands forever (1 Peter 1:25).

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What is the theory of directed panspermia?
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This page last updated: January 4, 2022