It’s an age-old question. One of life’s great mysteries. Which came first – the chicken or the egg? It’s stumped people for a long time – apparently – because scientists are still working on it. At least they were up until a couple days ago. It’s all figured out now. Finally – maybe I can get some sleep at night now, instead of pondering this great question!
You’re probably thinking – “he’s lost it”. What does that have to do with anything – and who really cares?
But it’s a big enough deal that it actually made it to Fox News. True – it was a tongue-in-cheek story – just like my opening is.
But you know – I like this kind of story. It’s a great way to reach out to people. Someone looking for information on this may actually come across this site. If that’s you – welcome – and please read on.
So here’s the link to one of the published reports on this finding: chicken-and-egg.
It’s now July 2017, and I wrote the original version of this 7 years ago – July 2010. Even though we always hear that once something hits the internet – it’s there forever – not true for this story from Fox News. It’s gone. Oh well.
Anyway – as I update my article, I’ll put the new stuff in text like this – so you can tell what’s new.
Having said all that, I found out this morning that it’s still not settled. Amazing. Not only that, but according to Spectrum News, the folks on the fox News broadcast got it wrong!
I guess that means it’s time to pull this one out again. Eleven and a half years later, and the question of the chicken and the egg is murkier than ever. This time, I’ll use text like this – so you can tell what’s newer than the previous new stuff.
The bottom line – after all their research – they know that the chicken came first! Turns out there’s a protein that is “crucial” in the formation of the eggshells. And that protein is only produced in pregnant hen’s ovaries.
Which came first – the chicken or the egg? – The Fox News report
Which leads to the “obvious” conclusion –
“It had long been suspected that the egg came first but now we have the scientific proof that shows that in fact, the chicken came first,” said Dr. Colin Freeman, from Sheffield University.
Sounds most convincing – doesn’t it?
One minor little question though – where did that first chicken come from in order to produce the protein that was used to make the first egg?
Which came first – the chicken or the egg? – The Spectrum News report
Not so fast there! Spectrum News disagrees.
According to Spectrum, somehow, by means of collagen, the chicken is related to the Tyrannosaurus Rex. You know – T-Rex with all those huge teeth? Therefore, for some reason that wasn’t really explained, the chicken came first. It seemed like the choice was made because no one wants to tell old T-Rex that it wasn’t them. ??
But that still leaves a question. How did that T-rex turn into a chicken? Magic? Either way, it’s very odd. Incomplete. And doesn’t answer the question of Which came first – the chicken or the egg?
Out title question, I thought, was pretty simple:
Which came first – the chicken or the egg? Why?
I also should have asked “How”? And maybe even added a note that an explanation had to accompany the how. One that didn’t just say by magic or because you’re afraid of an extinct huge animal that could have eaten you, if you had been around however many million years ago that was. Or, of course, if that T-Rex was still alive today.
So we now have two answers. Different one. Given the question, one of them must be correct! Kind of like how a twelve-hour clock is correct twice a day – if it’s broken!
Most unsatisfying. Let’s look further.
Which came first – the chicken or the egg? – from another source
There’s this song that we sing in church sometimes – “What Can I Do” – by Paul Baloche. Whenever we sing it, I’m reminded of science stories like this one with the chicken and the egg. The first verse goes:
When I see the beauty of a sunset’s glory,
Amazing artistry across the evening sky
When I feel the mystery of a distant galaxy
It awes and humbles me to be loved
By a God so high
The thing is – so many things should be so obvious. But we are taught to look for answers that are anything but obvious. The verse above is about the sun, the stars, galaxies – all created by an incredible God – who also happens to love us.
Remember from Genesis – the very beginning of the Bible – Genesis 1:1-5
Ge 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
Ge 1:3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
Then – a few days later – Genesis 1:14-19
Ge 1:14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.
So in the very beginning, we know that God created the heavens and the earth – the sun and the moon – and all the other stars. Wow – just by saying it, He made it happen. For more on the importance of the words “God said”, I invite you to check out String Theory in Who’s afraid of science?
True – the chicken isn’t quite so glorious to look at as a beautiful sunset or the night sky when there’s no other lights to obscure all the stars.
But is the chicken any less one of God’s creations than this planet called earth and all the stars in the sky? Let’s check out Genesis again – this time Genesis 1:20-23 –
Ge 1:20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.
So birds were created the very next day. BTW – just to be sure we’re all on the same page here – chickens are birds. You can find more than you probably want to know about chickens from the Extension Program at The University of Illinois, but here’s just one paragraph from them, which may still be more than you need or want –
A chicken is a bird. One of the features that differentiate it from most other birds is that it has a comb and two wattles. The comb is the red appendage on the top of the head, and the wattles are the two appendages under the chin. These are secondary sexual characteristics and are more prominent in the male. A few other birds have a comb or similar appendage, in some cases bearing a different name such as helmet in the guinea, and a few have wattles with some having a single median one rather than a pair. The comb is the basis of the Latin name or classification of chickens. In Latin, gallus means comb, and the domestic chicken is Gallus domesticus. The Red Jungle Fowl, ancestor of most domestic chickens, is Gallus bankiva. There are eight recognized kinds of combs: single, rose, pea, cushion, buttercup, strawberry, V-shaped, and silkie.
The key is that, like the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, and everything else – they were created by God – because He literally said they should exist, and therefore they do.
One advantage of doing updates from time to time is that I can add more info. If the use of the word day bothers anyone, the reality of it is that the Hebrew word that gets translated into “day” doesn’t have to be translated that way. In fact, it would more properly be translated as “era” or “epoch”. For more on that, please see Is evolution a concept from Satan? There’s a lot of stuff in there related to misconceptions we have about Creation in the Bible and evolution. A little more than halfway down is a section called “What is a day?” It’s one of those things that I just cannot understand why Christians don’t seem to either know or talk about.
Which news report got it “right”?
One could even say that the scientists on the Fox News broadcast turned out to be correct. The Bible doesn’t say God created eggs – it says He created every winged bird. And then He blessed them with the command to Be fruitful and increase in number. Hence – the egg! It was needed in the process of being fruitful and multiplying.
Wow! All that time – all that research – and whatever else has gone into this great scientific question over the ages! And the answer they come up with after all of that – it’s the very same one that’s been in the Bible for thousands of years – the Word of God – the Creator of everything – it’s been there all along.
For more on that topic, there’s an article called It’s time for Christians to acknowledge what Darwin REALLY did that includes of discussion on who told Moses what we read in Genesis today?
Conclusion – Which came first – the chicken or the egg? Why?
All we have to do is read it – if we have eyes to see.
I know – of course we have eyes, unless there is a birth defect, an accident or some terrible thing has happened. But remember what Jesus tells us about having eyes but still not being able to see –
Mt 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
We could be looking right at something – yet still not see it for what it really is.
Why is that? In the middle of telling the Parable of the Sower, Jesus says –
Mt 13:14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “ ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
Mt 13:15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’ 16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
Jesus is quoting from Isaiah in the passage above. It’s a description of God’s people at the time. As often happens in Old Testament prophesies, it’s also about the future – about people like us. Part of what’s included in this lengthy section of Isaiah is the following warning – from God to Isaiah – in the underlined verse.
Isa 8:11 The LORD spoke to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people. He said:
Isa 8:12 “Do not call conspiracy
everything that these people call conspiracy;
do not fear what they fear,
and do not dread it.
Isa 8:13 The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,
he is the one you are to fear,
he is the one you are to dread,
Isa 8:14 and he will be a sanctuary;
but for both houses of Israel he will be
a stone that causes men to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.
And for the people of Jerusalem he will be
a trap and a snare.
Isa 8:15 Many of them will stumble;
they will fall and be broken,
they will be snared and captured.”
Isa 8:16 Bind up the testimony
and seal up the law among my disciples.
Isa 8:17 I will wait for the LORD,
who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob.
I will put my trust in him.
Isa 8:18 Here am I, and the children the LORD has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the LORD Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion.
Isa 8:19 When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. 21 Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. 22 Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.
What we need to realize here is what fear God actually means. It’s not necessarily fear in the sense of being terrified. The preferred sense is more a feeling of extreme awe. But the catch is, if we don’t feel that extreme awe, don’t find love within that extreme awe, then yes – we really should be afraid. Please see Do you fear God? for much more on that concept.
In the Matthew passage, Jesus is telling His disciples that they are blessed because they are doing the same thing in their time as what Isaiah was told to do in his own time – do not follow the ways of the world. This warning is just as true for us today as it ever was in the past.
All we have to do is trust our Father – our Creator – who loves us – and already has given us the answer to this question of the chicken and the egg – and so many other questions. All we have to do is read His Word – and believe it – trust it – and live by it.
It’s so simple – but so hard. Unless we have Jesus – the Light of the world – who will give us the eyes to see the Truth. If you don’t have Him yet – keep looking. He’ll find you – and you’ll never see things the same way again!
Before my final statements, actually questions, I do need to include something. I believe we need to look at science, which does change and is certainly not a static “truth” – and how it fits in with what the Bible says, which is unchanging at its core, although does “change” in a sense by the way we interpret it.
For instance, I do not believe in a young earth where people and dinosaurs existed together. The fallacy in that line of thinking comes from insisting on looking at a day as a 24-hour period of time instead of the “creation day”, from Jewish teaching, which is an unspecified period of time where related events took place. In science, that’s like an era or epoch. We must use the minds that God gave us and not just cling to dogma because “it’s always been that way”. If you didn’t check it out earlier, again I refer you to Is evolution a concept from Satan?
So what do you think? If you’re Christian, do you have the confidence to say the chicken came first, because that’s what God’s word says? When you read or hear about something like the two “news” reports above, do they sway your thinking? Do you see them as attacking your faith? Or can you look at them and hang on to your belief that the Bible is the core of your beliefs?