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Mother Earth

Mother Earth

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. (Gen. 1:1-2a). Except for a few verses, the entire Bible addresses the earth and it creatures. The issues of the first eleven chapters of Genesis took place on earth. The earth is a living planet with biological life everywhere. It may be that it is a very privileged place and that there is not another place like it in the entire universe. From outer space, it appears to be very alive while the rest of the universe appears to be dead.

In 2004, astronomer and promoter of intelligent design, Guillermo Gonzalez, and analytic philosopher, Jay Richards, published “The Privileged Planet” and its accompanying video. In both the book and DVD, they document the argument that the earth is a privileged planet, unique in the universe.

In the Coral Ridge Ministries publication, Impact, May 2011, they summarize some of the arguments for a privileged planet. The following article from the Impact, “It’s a Special World, After All” is quoted entirely below:

“We’re nothing special. That’s the view of planet earth and our place in the universe popularized by the late Carl Sagan. The famous astronomer, best known for his public television series Cosmos, used a photo of earth taken from Voyager I nearly four billion miles away to showcase what he called ‘our obscurity – in all this vastness…’ That photo, shows earth as just a tiny dot in a shaft of light.”

“‘Our posturing, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light,” Sagan wrote in his book, Pale Blue Dot. ‘Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.'”

“Science now begs to differ. Contrary to Sagan and others, a growing body of data indicates that earth is a privileged place with unique properties that have made life and, surprisingly, scientific exploration of the heavens possible.”

“The entire universe is highly hostile to life ‘If you compare all the known places in the universe, none of them compare to Earth,’ states astronomer Donald Brownlee, co-author of Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe, and a featured expert on the ground-breaking documentary, The Privileged Planet.”

Optimized For Habitability

“In fact spaceship earth enjoys a host of special conditions that make complex life possible. These factors, detailed in The Privileged Planet DVD, include the presence of liquid water, our location in the habitable zone of the solar system, our moon, a stable and clear atmosphere, plate tectonics, and our favored position in the Milky Way Galaxy. All told, some 20 factors make our planet ‘optimized for habitability'”.

“The probability that these factors would all be present at one place in one time is astonishingly small. One statistical analysis yields a number on the order of one thousandth of one trillionth, a figure far greater than the one hundred billion or so stars in our galaxy.”

“That number tells us, Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer Bijan Nemati states on The Privileged Planet, that ‘this can’t happen, or this is very unlikely to happen in the galaxy. And that’s where the evidence is pushing us.'”

“To take one example of these special conditions, the Astronomer Guillermo Gonzales has done the math and found that of the 65 major moons in our solar system, ‘the best place in the entire solar system to view solar eclipses is from the surface of the Earth'”.

“But of course, it’s not just a coincidence. The improbable convergences of special conditions that make life and discover possible on planet earth point to a designing intelligence—to the benevolent Creator revealed in Scripture. The more we know, the more we see the truth of the psalmist’s declaration some 5,000 years ago, ‘The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament show His handiwork’ (Ps.19:1).”

I want to expand on five of these factors:

    • The first is the abundance of water on earth. Approximately 71% of the earth’s surface is covered with both fresh and salty water. The earth has a weather system which recycles the salty water of the seas as fresh water by evaporation and the winds move the vapors over the land areas where it is condensed as either rain or snow. The fresh water then drains by rivers back into the seas. The whole process sustains life on our planet.

    • The second factor is the earth’s magnetic field which screens and deflects harmful particles and radiation in the solar wind. Without this screen, life, as we know it, could not exist.

    • The third factor is the earth’s gravity. Earth’s gravity is strong enough to keep the earth’s atmosphere from drifting off into space. Wikipedia states that: “The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention (greenhouse effect), and reducing temperature extremes between day and night…” “Air is the name given to atmosphere used in breathing and photosynthesis. Dry air contains roughly (by volume) 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.039% carbon dioxide, and small amounts of other gases. Air also contains a variable amount of water vapor, on average around 1%. While air content and atmospheric pressure varies at different layers, air suitable for the survival of terrestrial plants and terrestrial animals is currently only known to be found in Earth’s troposphere and artificial atmospheres.”

    • The fourth factor is the unique relationship between the plants and the animal kingdom. The animal kingdom breaths in oxygen and breaths out carbon dioxide. Plant life takes in carbon dioxide and gives off life essential oxygen. This is a closed support system. If we consider the claims of evolution, what is the probability of the plants and animals evolving together? The process definitely appears to give evidence of intelligent design and a young earth.

    • The fifth factor is the earth’s spin rate. The earth spins on its axis every 24 hours and keeps the earth temperature within a living range. We can see the contrast as we compare the range in temperature on the moon (-242 degrees at night to 225 degrees in the daytime) and there is an even greater width of ranges on other planets.

“The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep” (Gen. 1:2a). The wording of this verse has led some to believe that the original earth was destroyed and recreated. It reads: “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep” (Gen. 1:2a). This is known as the Gap theory. Many believe that the universe and the earth were created first. Then after many years, a great catastrophic event occurred on earth and then God re-created the earth. Some put the original creation of the animals before the catastrophic destruction and others place them after the re-creation. However, there is strong evidence that the earth is not as old as this theory would necessitate.

The earth and its people are the center of God’s attention. It is to the earth that God sent His only Son to die for the sins of mankind. The Bible says that the earth will be God’s future home. The Apostle John writes in Revelation these words. “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people and God Himself will be with them and be their God” (Rev. 21:1-3).