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Which Came First—The Chicken or the Egg?

Biblical Worldview

by Heather Brinson Bruce on July 1, 2012
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Some questions don’t ever seem to get resolved. Some matter, and others don’t. What about the age-old question of the chicken or the egg? Does the Bible give us a clue, and does it matter?

Few questions have plagued mankind like the chicken-or-the-egg conundrum. Even Aristotle, the philosopher credited as the first to study formal logic, wondered which came first. Chickens come from eggs, and eggs come from chickens—how can one come before the other?

As with other questions, worldview dictates your answer. Evolutionists assert that birds evolved from reptiles over millions of years, so the reptiles eventually laid the egg that hatched as a chicken. The egg came first.

God created mature birds with the ability to reproduce. So the bird was first, ready to lay eggs.
What do creationists believe? On Day Five of Creation Week, God created “every winged bird according to its kind” (Genesis 1:21). God created mature birds with the ability to reproduce. So the bird was first, ready to lay eggs.

While we know that birds came first, that fails to address the specific question about domesticated chickens. Is it possible to determine the chicken’s ancestor that was created on Day Five? Classification research is a very young field, but chickens happen to be one of the creatures that creationists have investigated to identify the original parent kinds.1

What they found is interesting. Analyzing all the relevant biblical words for chickens and birds, then studying which modern birds can mix (hybridize) with chickens, along with statistical analysis of similar physical traits, they found evidence that chickens belong to the potential created kind of the Galliformes order.

These birds appear to have been among the clean animals on the Ark. As they diversified and filled the earth after the Flood, many different species appeared. Some of these were preserved in post-Flood sediments. The earliest fossils look like pheasants and similar wild birds. It’s possible that it was not until later that the modern species of domesticated chickens (Gallus domesticus) appeared.

The Creator placed designs for immense diversity within the genetics of the original kinds. As this diversity was passed from parent to offspring, most likely a non-chicken bird eventually laid an egg containing a chicken. So, technically speaking, it’s very likely that the Gallus domesticus egg came first.

Now, with that out of the way, we can address the other question on everyone’s mind—why did the chicken cross the road?

Heather Brinson Bruce earned dual degrees in English and chemistry from Clemson University. She writes and edits for Answers magazine as part of the full-time staff.

Answers Magazine

July – September 2012

It’s impossible to explain how even one creature could evolve by chance, but in fact all life needs a complete community of other organisms to survive. The web of life had to be in place from the very start for any of us to exist. What an amazing testimony to the Creator! Also learn about animals that seem to come back from the dead, robotics, and how archaeology in Jordan confirms the Bible’s history.

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Footnotes

  1. Michelle McConnachie, “A Baraminological Analysis of the Land Fowl (Class Aves, Order Galliformes),” senior honors thesis under the direction of Dr. Tim Brophy, Liberty University, 2007.

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