You might want to read Daniel Dennett's book, _Darwin's Dangerous Idea_. It is the only place I've seen an intelligent discussion of the origin of life.
The first step is not to imagine some magical moment when life began. I doubt there ever was such a sharp, well-defined beginning. Just like you can't define the moment of speciation, mainly because there _is_ no moment of speciation - it occurs too gradually. Life is a continuum. The categories of dogs and ants and people don't really exist. Each organism is a separate entity.
In any case, if evolution is sufficient to describe the history of life from the first DNA molecule to the present, why is God somehow necessary to explain the origin of the first molecule? Why _can't_ evolution's horizon extend back to the primordial soup?
The real mystery in my mind is the origin of the universe itself, and not so much the origin of life. Of course, even if you invoke God as the creator of the universe, you are left with the question, "Where did God come from?"
At 02:55 PM 8/27/99 -0400, you wrote:
>> The fight to teach full blown creationism (not the kind Darwin
>> was willing
>> quite reluctantly to entertain about the origins of life, a problem on
>> which there has been substantial progress since the mid 19th
>> century ...
>Intriguing -- what progress can you cite in this regard? The question
>of the origin of life itself has always seemed to me the most powerful
>argument in favor of the existence of God. Full-blown creationists seem
>ridiculous when they deny the evidence of the fossil record. But those
>insistent on denying the existence of an "unmoved mover" seem totally at
>a loss to explain how one goes from a primordial soup of inorganic
>chemicals to, presto chango, the first primitive life form. Saying that
>if chemicals percolate together long enough life will result seems like
>saying -- to cite an image I heard once -- if you spend enough time
>spilling ink on a page you'll eventually write the works of Shakespeare.
>I don't see how God and evolution stand as warring alternatives; based
>on the evidence, to me they seem logical complements.