What is Abiogenesis?

Addressing Abiogenesis & Common Misconceptions

Key Highlights

  1. Abiogenesis is theory that life was created from non-life, non-living matter.
  2. Abiogenesis is chemistry and not biochemistry. Abiogenesis is pre-biology. Abiogenesis, if it existed, would have to happen before life forms.
  3. The famous Miller-Urey experiment from 1953 did produce a few amino acides
  4. Scientists have not "observed" abiogenesis. They have conducted many experiments which continue to fail to show abiogenesis.​
  5. A persons "world view" determines how they will interpret the scientific information, chemistry, biology and logic.
  6. To make an organism requires the right elements, in the right quantity, in the right order, with the right coded information for assembly.

​Abiogenesis (a·bi·o·gen·e·sis ) attempts to explain the origin of first life, the first cell, the original evolution of life or living organisms from inorganic (not containing carbon) substances. Abiogenesis is from (a – ‘not’ + Greek bios ‘life’ + genesis ‘origin’) or no origin of life. Life from nonlife. The term was coined by Aldous Huxley (6). From inert elements (chemicals) to a living cell. Many attempts have been made to create “life” in the “test tube”. All have failed. No scientist has created life, a cell, in the lab. Darwin (2) recognized the problem of abiogenesis. He concluded that all of terrestrial life must have come "by the Creator". If a creator made one organism, he could have made all the other organisms. Darwin (1859) later regretted this and thought life could have originated in a "warm little pond". Abiogenesis is the idea that life arose from nonlife more than 3.5 billion years ago on Earth. It proposes that the first life form generated was very simple and through a gradual process became increasingly complex.

One leading theory is that the first life forms originated through a process called abiogenesis. This theory suggests that the basic building blocks of life, such as amino acids and nucleotides, could have formed spontaneously from simple organic compounds in the early Earth's environment. Over time, these organic molecules could have further combined and interacted to form more complex structures, eventually leading to the emergence of self-replicating systems and the origin of life.

​​Do not confuse abiogenesis with spontaneous generation, "the supposed production of living organisms from nonliving matter, as inferred from the apparent appearance of life in some supposedly sterile environments (3).  Louis Pasteur boiled a meat broth in a flask that had a long neck that curved downward, like that of a goose or swan. The idea was that the bend in the neck prevented falling airborne bacteria from reaching the broth, while still allowing the free flow of air. The broth did not get contaminated.

It was believed there must have been some kind of simple, naturally occurring system that eventually gave rise to the “spontaneous emergence of life on Earth.” Take away that assumption, and the suggestion of an early primitive genetic system, arising through unguided natural processes, evaporates.

​Abiogenesis is chemistry and not biochemistry. Abiogenesis is pre-biology. Abiogenesis, if it existed, would have to happen before higher life to form. It would necessarily predate Evolution. Before life could evolve, it would have to exist. Compared to evolution abiogenesis is much more difficult to explain. Why don't we hear more about a dissent against abiogenesis? Some scientists who do not believe in evolution and abiogenesis will not speak out against abiogenesis for fear of being ostracized.

​Russian atheist Alexander Ivanovich Oparin, in 1920, thought random processes in a biochemical "soup" could have created life. (9) With the right kind of light, heat, chemicals, electrical charges, life could have been created. He thought cells came first then enzymes and then genes were formed. We now know that heat is an enemy of protein development. But we know today that it takes enzymes to make genes and genes to make enzymes. Oparin's theory persisted for over 50 years, not because of the science but because it was an alternative to biblical creation.

For scientists to make any kind of theory on the origin of life they would first need to know, in reality (but really estimate) what the actual environment was. What were the temperatures, gases, chemicals, light, atmospheric pressure, etc. When Stanley Miller under the supervision of Dr. Urey (8) did their experiments the conditions they used were not the conditions today's scientist believe existed.  The early atmosphere was estimated to be nitrogen (sulfide), CO2, methane, ammonia, H2O as vapor, and some of the noble gases. Oxygen was purposefully excluded because it would react with the amino acids produced. If a person can manipulate the starting conditions, he or she can arrive at more favorable results. The Miller-Urey experiment revealed that even intelligent scientists using modern labs and directed processes cannot reproduce the supposed accidental chemical evolution of life.

George Wald, (13) in 1962, said it was logical that there are two possible causes of the origin of life, spontaneous generation or supernatural creation. But spontaneous generation was proven false by Pasteur and supernatural creation is unscientific. Scientists now believe the early earth atmosphere was more favorable to abiogenesis. Wald, George (1962), “Theories on the Origin of Life” in Frontiers of Modern Biology

​Miller and Levine (7) wrote in their textbook, "If life can come only from life, how did life on Earth first arise." (1991, p.342) "Somehow these earliest life forms appeared (p. 343) ... Thus, over the course of millions of years, at least some of the basic building blocks of life could have been produced in great quantities on Earth."

​In discussion of their beliefs, some scientists use curious words:

  • no one can say with certainty
  • somehow
  • some
  • could have
  • certainly not life

​They continue; "The next step in our story is the most difficult to understand completely. From the jumbled mixture of molecules in the organic soup that formed in Earth's oceans (dilution and water environment), the highly organized structures of RNA and DNA must somehow have evolved. Scientists do not know how these vital information carriers formed, but there are several interesting hypotheses (PP. 344-345). They completely skipped over how inert molecules, chemicals and gases became a living cell. They knew "with certainty" what those cells were like after they became a living life form. Evolution contradicts the scientific evidence presented by scientists. The leap from non-life to life is the biggest gap in the hypotheses of earths early history.

​​In this lecture series I make a basic assumption that life emerged by some kind of natural process. I propose that life arose by a sequence of events that are completely consistent with the natural laws of chemistry and physics. In this assumption I am like most other scientists. I believe in a universe that is ordered by these natural laws. Like other scientists, I rely on the power of observations and experiments and theoretical reasoning to understand how the cosmos came to be the way it is (Robert Hazen) (4).

​It should be pointed out that it is believed RNA enzymes are part of the developmental path toward the first cell. 

Scientists have not "observed" abiogenesis. Neither did they conduct experiments which succeeded in demonstrating abiogenesis.​

​To make an organism requires the right elements, in the right quantity, in the right order, with the right coded information for assembly. Is that all that is needed? When the magnitude of problem of the assembly of an organism is appreciated the spontaneous generation of a living organism is seen to be impossible. Later in this website the mathematically probability of such an event will be presented.

"In grammar school they taught me that a frog turning into a price was a fairy tale. in the university they taught me that a frog turning into a prince was a fact."

Ron Carson (1)

​​There is nothing gradual about abiogenesis. If it is true, it had to, in a single step, go from random molecules to a very specific and complex combination of them

Bruce Potter (10)

​A living cell would require:

  • The ability to draw energy from around it to fuel its processes.
  • The ability to reproduce
  • Some sort of genetic code

Biogenesis is life coming from life. It is a kind that is made by the same kind. The Law of Biogenesis states that in nature life comes only from its own kind. (11). Abiogenesis versus biogenesis. How did life originate? 

Biogenesis is a foundational in biology and states that all living organisms arise from pre-existing living organisms. This principle stands in contrast to the now-discredited theory of spontaneous generation, which believed that living organisms could arise from non-living matter.

The idea of biogenesis gained prominence in the 19th century, thanks to the work of scientists like Louis Pasteur. Pasteur conducted experiments that conclusively demonstrated that microorganisms do not spontaneously generate but instead come from other living microorganisms. His experiments involved sterilizing nutrient broth and then exposing it to the air. When the broth remained sterile, it disproved the theory of spontaneous generation.

Today, biogenesis is a widely accepted concept supported by abundant scientific evidence. It is a fundamental principle that underlies our understanding of the origin and continuity of life on Earth. All living organisms, from bacteria to plants to animals, reproduce and pass on their genetic material to the next generation, ensuring the perpetuation of life through biogenesis.

Understanding the principles of biogenesis has significant implications in various fields, including medicine, genetics, evolutionary biology, and biotechnology. It provides the foundation for studying the mechanisms of inheritance, genetic variation, and the evolution of species. Additionally, it has practical applications in areas such as reproductive technologies, cloning, and genetic engineering.

In summary, biogenesis is the concept that all living organisms arise from pre-existing living organisms. It is a fundamental principle in biology that has shaped our understanding of the origin, diversity, and continuity of life on Earth.

Science does not say anything, scientists do.

A person’s worldview is often the basis for which one they believe, biogenesis (life from life) or abiogenesis (life from nonlife). A worldview is how a person perceives their world, most often based on their views on:

  1. Origin, where did we come from
  2. Meaning, what is the meaning of life
  3. Morality, what is right and what is wrong
  4. Destiney, what happens to me when I die

There are two choices as to how life began, 1) chemical evolution or 2) a supernatural creative act. There is not a third choice. Evolution is based upon non provable suppositions. What does the scientific information actually say about the origin of life. Charles Lyell said we should interpret the past by what is occurring now. If cells today use DNA and proteins and to make proteins, then in the past DNA and RNA made proteins. In 1858 Rudolf Virchow (12) said that “every cell originates from another existing like it”.

A scientist who believes we came by chance, there is no meaning to life, right and wrong is up to each person and when we die, there is nothing else, may believe in abiogenesis because the alternative does not match their world view.

Conversely a scientist who believes we came from God, life does have ultimate meaning, there is a real right and wrong way to live, and there is an afterlife after we die, will probably not believe in abiogenesis.

While we have the evidence for biogenesis, many people do not believe it, because they do not want to believe it. Their worldview gets in the way. So much so that some scientists believe aliens deposited life on the earth billions of years ago. (Hoyle and Wickramasinghe, 5). In nature today, life comes from life of its own kind. Period.

While these theories provide possible explanations, the exact mechanisms and processes that led to the first life are still being explored. Scientists continue to investigate various hypotheses and conduct experiments to better understand the origin of life on Earth.


  1. Carson, Ron. AZ Quotes.
  2. Darwin, Charles. The Origin of Species. 1859.
  3. Dictionary.
  4. Hazen, Robert. Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Life's Origin.  2005.
  5. Hoyle, Fred and Chandra Wickramasinghe (1981), Evolution from Space
  6. Huxley, Aldous. Bing.
  7. Miller. Kenneth R. and Levine, Joseph. Biology, p. 342-345, 1991.
  8. MiIler and Urey experiment. 1952
  9. Oparin, Alexander. The Origin of Life, 1924.
  10. Potter, Bruce. Why Abiogenesis Is Impossible, 2016
  11. Simmons, K. “Cell Theory,” Cells and Cellular Processes Course Notes, 2007.
  12. Virchow, Rudolf. Cellular Pathology, 1858 BING.
  13. Wald, George. “Theories on the Origin of Life” in Frontiers of Modern Biology 1962.


Let's Connect and Explore New Horizons Together!

If you're interested in exploring new horizons, discussing shared interests, or simply having a conversation over a virtual cup of coffee, I would love to connect with you. Feel free to reach out at your convenience, and let's make something great happen together.

Reach out to me >