It Couldn't Just Happen - conflating abiogenesis with evolution?

CC Challenge A book - It Couldn’t Just Happen

In this book, they define capital “E” Evolution as the theory that:

  1. Life began as a chance combination of nonliving chemicals
  2. All living things today developed from one-celled creatures
  3. Over millions of years they gradually changed into the fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals in today’s world

Is #1 abiogenesis, really considered to be part of the Theory of Evolution? Or are they conflating two separate ideas?

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Lots of virtual ink spilled in these here parts haggling over how inclusive these definitions should be!

One common assertion around here is that evolution (small e!) only covers your points 2 and 3. 'E’volution (capital E) refers to a broader philosophy of Evolutionism which goes well beyond science to make a lot of other assertions as well which could (or perhaps usually does) include abiogenesis and a lot more besides.


Technically, Abiogenesis is not a necessary part of Evolution, if you hold to the idea that God intervened in some parts of evolution miraculously.

Others believe natural selection and mutation are so powerful, that God’s intervention is of the more “natural/causal” kind of intervention (aka natural processes alone).

And some are so devoted to the natural processes, they propose that God himself doesn’t even get involved in the natural processes of Evolution.

“Abiogenesis is the process by which life arises naturally from non-living matter. Scientists speculate that life may have arisen as a result of random chemical processes happening to produce self-replicating molecules. One of the popular current hypotheses involves chemical reactivity around hydrothermal vents.”

I’m no expert but my understanding is that as a technical definition, abiogenesis is life coming into existence. Evolution is (quite literally) the changes that happen to that life after coming into existence. Evolution is well-understood; abiogenesis is not.

I realize more common useage doesn’t always reflect this, though.


Since it all depends on how one defines Evolution, I’m not sure it really matters.

A unifying element shared by Evolution and Abiogenesis is the fundamental principle of Natural Selection.

Chemical structures, and physical structures, that are more robust last longer than those that are not. If spherical formations weren’t more resistant to the travails of the environment, then they would not have persisted long enough for additional steps to have the time to occur.

But, on the other side of the coin, BioLogos supporters would hardly be surprised if God added the spark of life to dead matter.

And yet, from another viewpoint, are Viruses alive? Even if they are not, we can still speak intelligently about the evolution of a virus population/strain.