George Stimpson

His life and works

Home > Information Roundup > Which came first, the hen or the egg?
Which came first, the hen or the egg?

If the theory of evolution is correct, this age-old question is meaningless and neither the hen nor the egg came first. The original matter into which the breath of life was breathed and which eventually developed into the chicken was at the same time the producer and the product. All higher life on the earth, science presumes, sprang from single-celled animalcules. If we regard the original cell as an egg, then in this sense at least the egg existed before the bird did. In the beginning, it is supposed, all reproduction was by simple cell division; that is, the one-celled organism reproduced by dividing into two or more parts, and each part grew into a likeness of the original unit. New forms of life are supposed to have evolved by mutation. Differentiation in the sexual functions developed so gradually that it cannot be said that there ever was a time when there were birds or fowls and not eggs, or when there were eggs and not birds or fowls, for the reptilian progenitors of birds and fowls undoubtedly laid eggs. Feathers are one of the distinguishing marks of true birds, which are believed to be offshoots from very active lizardlike reptiles, probably related to some of the smaller dinosaurs, which became birds through the evolution of feathers out of scales. Dr. Herbert Friedmann, curator of birds at the United States National Museum in Washington, made the following comment on this subject in a letter [page 73] the author dated September 27, 1930: "The question as to which came first, the hen or the egg, is one that appears, superficially, like a really fair thing to ask, but inasmuch as both are stages in the de­velopment of the same organism the question loses meaning. One might as well ask, Which came first, the child or the adult) The two cases are quite comparable. It is only because from a purely human standpoint, based chiefly on experience with both at the dining table, that hens and eggs seem to us to be totally distinct and unrelated things." Of course, if evolution is rejected and special creation is assumed, the question becomes simple. It would be as easy for the creator to create a full-fledged hen capable of laying eggs as to create an egg capable of hatching and producing a hen. The scientist attempts to trace both hen and egg back to something that was neither hen nor egg; the believer in special creation attempts merely to deter­mine whether the hen or a certain stage of its development was singled out for the honor of special creation.