George Wald, a Harvard University biochemist and Nobel Laureate, sought to defend spontaneous generation, although not in terms previously used. He wrote:

When we consider the spontaneous origin of a living organism, this is not an event that need happen again and again. It is perhaps enough for it to happen once. The probability with which we are concerned is of a special kind; it is the probability that an event occur at least once. To this type of probability a fundamentally important thing happens as one increases the number of trials. However improbable the event in a single trial, it becomes increasingly probable as the trials are multiplied. Eventually the event becomes virtually inevitable.

I think a scientist has no choice but to approach the origin of life through a hypothesis of spontaneous generation… One has only to wait: time itself performs the miracles2

The impossible becomes possible with enough time.

But impossible is impossible. There’s no time element to it. It’s like one hundred trillion times one hundred trillion times one hundred trillion times zero equals—zero! Of course, the scientist does have a choice: to consider an explanation that might involve something outside the scientific-materialist worldview. When he refuses to consider such an explanation, he has, in fact, made a choice...

Keep in Mind

When dealing with the educated skeptic, be sure to be respectful of his education, but don’t be intimidated by it. Be aware that, as the wit said, it’s not so much about what he knows but about what he knows that ain’t so. Clarify his position and then present how his understanding of Christianity is often at odds with what Christianity actually teaches. Also understand that usually he has not been convinced by any evidence but in spite of the evidence. He’s often taking his cues from others because their positions support what he is already inclined to believe.


1. Bill Hamby, quoted in an interview with Alex McFarland, October 18, 2010.

2. George Wald, “The Origin of Life,” Scientific American, August 1954, vol. 190, pp. 44-53.

Alex McFarland, religion and culture expert, is a renowned expert in Christian apologetics (one who explains and rationally defends faith). Dr. McFarland is the host of the TV program Sound Rēzn, airing across the country on the National Religious Broadcaster's Network and he also co-hosts Explore the World with Marvin Sanders on the American Family Radio Network, airing on nearly 200 stations. He is the author of many books including 10 Questions Every Christian must Answer. Alex speaks to adults and youth throughout the United States. 

Publication date: July 5, 2012