A Message From the Pastor
The Unlikely Planet Earth
Everywhere we turn there’s evidence of fine-tuning and design throughout creation. There are so many examples of the universe’s fine-tuning as it exploded out of something smaller than the period at the end of this sentence 14 billion years ago.
In fact, there are more than 200 parameters necessary for our planet to support life. Every single one of them must be met or the whole thing falls apart. In some cases, if any one of these were different by a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent, life wouldn’t exist on Earth. The chance that all of these constants would take on the values necessary to result in a stable universe capable of sustaining complex life forms is almost infinitesimal. And yet those are the parameters that we observe (1).
I’ll only share several of these amazing facts with you for your serious consideration.
Theoretical Particle Physicist Paul Davies has himself said, “The impression of design is overwhelming.” Consider the ratio of the strong nuclear force to the electromagnetic force. Davies himself calculated that if the ratio between them had been different by just 1 in 10 to the 16th power, the universe as we know it wouldn’t exist. To put it another way, if that ratio had deviated by .00000000000000001 percent, the universe wouldn’t be here. But the ratio just happens to be exactly and precisely what it needs to be, and here we are!
Physicists have also calculated that if the energy of the Big Bang were different by 1 part-out of 10 with 120 zeros after it, there would be no life anywhere in the universe!
If the Earth’s distance from the Sun was only 6% closer, calculations indicate that the increased solar heat would prevent water vapor from condensing. What does this mean? It means there would be no rain, no lakes, no rivers, no creeks, and no oceans. And life as we know it is totally dependent upon water in its liquid state. Obviously, without water we couldn’t exist. Even our bodies are 75% water.
We’ve got tilt! The Earth’s axis tilt of 23.5 degrees off of vertical may not seem like much. But it spells wonders for moderating the climate at all latitudes. A vertical axis means constant year-round direct sunlight at the equator, and only minimal glancing Sun at both poles.
The Earth revolves around the Sun at approximately 30 kilometers per second. The Sun and the solar system revolve around the center of the Milky Way at some 10 times that speed. All revolutions are in the same direction. A deep challenge remains to discover why all components of the universe revolve or rotate.
Astrophysicists tell us that angular momentum, as the forces of rotation are categorized, is always conserved unless acted upon by an outside force. What outside force acted to induce the rotations observed is an unsolved puzzle. A universe without rotation would mean a universe without planets and without life. All solids and gases would be gravitationally drawn directly into the parent star rather than revolving around the parent star.
In addition, a glance at the spacing between the 7 inner planets tells wonders. The orbit of each of the 7 inner planets places it approximately twice the distance to the Sun as the planet in front of it. For example, Mercury is 58 million kilometers from the Sun, and Venus is 108 million kilometers. Mars’s distance, 228 million kilometers, is approximately twice the distance of Venus from the Sun. The nominal doubling pattern repeats with Jupiter (780 million kilometers), Saturn (1430 kilometers), and Uranus (2870 kilometers).
The exception to the pattern of doubled-spacing between the planets is Earth. According to this pattern, there should be no planet in the exceptionally life-friendly region between Venus (too close) and Mars (too far). (2)
But here we are!
The exception proves the rule. The rule here is that we reside on a very special stellar system, formed at just the right position within the right kind of spiral galaxy. The Earth’s distance from the Sun, for the right amount of warmth, and its mass and gravity, for the ability to retain a proper atmosphere, put us in the only habitable zone within the solar system.
The odds against a planet supporting life have grown and grown, to unfathomable heights of impossibility. In sum, life on Earth is wildly improbable.
Are we seeing the hidden hand of God at work here?
1. Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, “The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief” (Free Press 2006) p. 74.
2. Gerald L. Schroeder, PhD., “GOD According to God: A Scientist Discovers We’ve Been Wrong About God All Along” (HarperCollins 2009) p. 67.