Did Life Really Begin in Water?

Did Life Really Begin in Water

Although water is portrayed by some “scientists” as the key to how life came to be, the fact is that water spontaneously breaks down complex molecules that living organisms need to exist: such as DNA,* RNA, proteins and their components.** For example, an article on Molecular Cloning says that:

“Proteins are usually soluble in water solutions because they have hydrophilic (i.e. water-attracting) amino acids on their surfaces.” 1

Amino acids have been called the building blocks of life, and when two or more are joined together they are called a peptide and the bond that holds them together is a peptide bond.  When ten or more are linked up they may be called a polypeptide, and if they are ordered and folded correctly, they become a protein.  In this regard, an article on peptide bonds tells us that:

“a peptide  bond can be broken by …  hydrolysis” ***  (just by) … “adding … water” … (and that the) … bonds in proteins are metastable, meaning that in the presence of water they will break spontaneously.” 2

Another article on this topic 3 says that hydrolysis is:

“A chemical reaction in which water is used to break the bonds of certain substances. In … living organisms, these substances are often … such as … between two amino acids in a protein … “

A. E. Wilder-Smith, Ph.D. (organic chemistry), said the following with regard to the problems associated with life beginning in water in a book on life’s complexity.4

“Amino acids and other building blocks present in the macromolecules of living matter aggregate to form larger units … by … (a reaction)  called condensation.****  The combinations usually involve the elimination of one molecule of  water between two combining molecules.  It is the removal of this molecule … which presents the major difficulty  …  For … (to do so) requires energy …”

“A further difficulty arises in this … elimination of water.  For, in the prebiotic world, it is assumed that the condensation reaction took place in the presence of a large … (supply) of water which would tend, according to the law of mass action, to hinder the condensation process and … (promote) decomposition (or breakdown of peptides and polypeptides) … The more water, the less condensation.”

“If the reaction is to proceed in the direction of the dipeptide, (or two amino acids joined together) … the water molecule … (that results) must be removed from the reaction … since the reaction is  reversible.  If it is not removed … (it will) hydrolyze (or separate) the dipeptide back … to the  (individual)  constituent amino acids …”

So Life Couldn’t Have Just Developed in Water

This means the “primordial soup,” or “warm little pond” where Darwin speculated that life began could not have been simply water, since it would “hydrolyze” or break down complex molecules back to their original amino acids as soon as they formed. Dr. Charles McCombs explains the problem as follows in an article called life by chance.

“Every time one component reacts with a second component forming the polymer, the chemical reaction also forms water as a byproduct …  There is a rule of chemical reactions … called the Law of Mass Action that says all reactions proceed in a direction from highest to lowest concentration. This means that any reaction that produces water cannot be performed in the presence of water. This Law of Mass Action provides a total hindrance to protein, DNA/RNA, and polysaccharide formation because even if the condensation took place, the water from a supposed primordial soup would immediately hydrolyze them. Thus, if they are formed according to evolutionary theory, the water would have to be removed … which is impossible in a ‘watery’ soup.” 5

But because the “watery soup” in living cells is surrounded by a membrane, the “water” inside the cell “behaves very differently” 6  than ordinary water.  In fact, the “water” in a cell is not water but a blend of water, amino acids, proteins, and many other chemicals called cytosol. This mixture is the result of the DNA’s ability to regulate what goes in and out of the cell — via numerous channels that control and regulate what is allowed to pass through the cell membrane, and thus maintain a favorable environment and PH for DNA, RNA and protein synthesis and for life itself to exist.

Further Reading: Proof of a Creator

If the concentration of amino acids is high enough, some of them will link up with others to form dipeptides and tripeptides.  An article on this subject states that:

“It is important to recognize that by whatever reactions polymerization (or the joining of amino acids) occurred, they had to be reactions that would occur in an … aqueous environment. This presents difficulties because condensation of amino acids to form peptides, or of nucleotides to form RNA or DNA, is not … favorable in aqueous (or water) solution.” 6

“The explanation for this is partly that the concentration of amino acids decreases as amino acids form pairs (called dipeptides) in a solution. This decreased concentration causes the velocity of the peptide synthesis reaction to slow down, and some dipeptides begin breaking up, again becoming single amino acids. The solution reaches equilibrium when just as many dipeptides dissociate as associate. A very tiny fraction of the dipeptides add another amino acid to form a tripeptide. … Oligopeptides (Oligo=few) and polypeptides (poly=many) will form only very rarely. Tripeptides dissociate faster than dipeptides in the same solution” 7  

In this regard, a tripeptide has only three amino acids, while the simplest protein has eight.

Another writer on the evolution of life from non-life says this with regard to the primeval soup. 

Amino acid molecules that form proteins, and nucleotide molecules that form DNA and RNA resist combining at any temperature.  To combine, they need the help of mechanisms in a living cell or a biochemist in an organic chemistry laboratory.18  It means that nothing happens in the primeval soup, the pond of chemicals where evolutionists believe life began. 8

With regard to the cell’s membrane, Dr. Jeffrey P. Tomkins says the following in a book on the design and complexity of the cell:

“… plasma membranes are … quite complex and … (function) as more than just a barrier … Some key functions of the membrane involve the import and export of chemical compounds through specialized transmembrane channels, sensory and signaling processes via specialized receptor proteins imbedded in the membrane, and … (water) regulation … through special portals.”  9

“Within the … membrane is the internal cell matrix … called cytosol or cytoplasm, which is a semi-fluid substance.  …  the complexity of  (which) … seems to grow with every new discovery in cell biology.” 9

Tomkins also tells us that water must be regulated and controlled outside the cell as well in what is called the “extra cellular matrix.” 10

This means that the water of yesteryear, or distant past, could not have created life anymore than fuel, elements and metallic ore — by themselves — could create a car, motorcycle, or airplane: even if given millions, billions, or trillions of years. 

For more on why the raw materials alone cannot produce life, see Life, DNA, and Proteins 11 and the links below.  See also Proof of a Creator  and Which is more Scientific.

*   Although chemists can make DNA in their laboratories, they can only do so under highly controlled conditions that simulate cytosol. They achieve this by using a pre-existing DNA or gene (template), using the right amount of water, magnesium chloride, salt buffers,  and a pre-existing microscopic / molecular copy machine called DNA polymerase.  Such would not be the case in nature, since genes are not known to form by themselves, nor even simple proteins, much less complex ones such as DNA polymerase, which consists of about 900 amino acids all linked up in the right order. The same is true of the motor protein called helicase that spins at 1800 rpms and that unwinds DNA so its information can be copied.

**   When two amino acids come together they are called a peptide and the reaction called condensation  or condensation reaction **** or dehydration synthesis.  A nucleic acid is a synonym for a nucleotide, and when two or more are joined together they are called an oligonucleotide. 

***  According to the American Heritage Dictionary of Science, hydrolysis is “a process of decomposition in which a compound is broken down and changed into other compounds by …  (absorbing, or being diluted with) water.   For example, in food digestion, the food absorbs water and is broken down by hydrolysis.  The same dictionary says that to hydrolyze means “to decompose by hydrolysis …”  and that organic molecules such as  “Nucleic acids, proteins, and polysaccharides contain many bonds that hydrolyze …   In this regard, the combining words are hydro + lyse, where   hydro  means “of or having to do with water” and lyse means to separate.

****  Think of a Condensed can of Campbell’s Soup.  The fact that it is “condensed” simply means that water has been removed. 


  1. http://opus.bibliothek.uni-wuerzburg.de/volltexte/2003/554/pdf/Thesis-complete-2-library.pdf
  2. Peptide Bond at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/peptide_bond.
  3. http://biotech.about.com/od/glossary/g/hydrolysis.htm
  4. The Creation of Life: a cybernetic approach to evolution, 1970, pp.25-26. Available via used book stores.
  5. Chemistry by Chance: a formula for non-life, Charles McCombs: Acts & Fact, 2/09, pp. 30-31: www.icr.org/article/4348/  
  6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cytosol#Water
  7. Chemistry Refutes Chance Origin of Life: Part III by Jon Covey, B.A., MT, and Anita Millen, M.D., M.P.H.,
  8. www.creationinthecrossfire.com/Articles/ChemistryRefutes3.html,
  9. Debunking Evolution: Problems between the theory and reality; John Michael Fischer; www.newgeology.us/presentation32.html
  10. The Design and Complexity of the Cell,  Jeffrey Tomkins, Ph. D., 2012, pp. 24-25;  www.icr.org/design-cell/ 
  11. Ref. 9 above by Tomkins, p. 79.
  12. Life, DNA, and Proteins: Why raw materials on earth cannot produce life, at http://in6days.tripod.com/id6.html
Did Life Really Begin in Water?
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