Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Design of the Cosmos Part 5: The Lunar Anthropic Principle / Intro to Our Solar System


I used to ask my daughter around the age of 1 or so, "Who made the moon?" She would answer, "God!" (I taught her well) This was before I learned just how fined tuned the moon must be for human life to be possible here on Earth.

Did you know that without the precise size and location of the moon, life on Earth would not be possible? For instance, science has discovered that the moon serves many purposes to support life on Earth. One such example is that it serves to stabilize the tilt of the Earth's rotation axis. Get this: If the moon's mass were only 2 percent larger (increase the radius of the moon by just 7 miles), then the tug of the enlarged moon's gravity would significantly pull the Earth's axial tilt out of balance (it's tilt is currently stable at a 23 degree angle) causing catastrophic climactic changes (decreases in rainfall and increases in life threatening temperature changes). (Al Gore eat your heart out)

However, if the mass of the moon were just 2 percent less (decrease the radius of the moon by just 7 miles) then the moon's gravity would be too weak to put brakes on the Earth's rotation rate, which in turn would mean that the Earth would rotate in just a few hours, instead of 24. The results of a faster rotation rate of the Earth would also be catastrophic for life, resulting in overwhelmingly frequent hurricanes and tornadoes, and with longer durations. While it's true that a slightly less massive moon would eventually slow the Earth's rotation rate, the time it would take would be considerably longer than the 4.5 billion year time window in which our Sun requires to enter into it's most stable burning phase, (which begins when the Sun is about 4.5 billion years old - which is right now in human existence) and this would mean that the Sun's burning phase would be unstable, also making life impossible on Earth.

So, what do you think? Do you think the moon's size and location as beneficial to life on Earth is just a lucky, random chance event or coincidence? Or, is it more plausible to think that an intelligent Agent (God) fine tuned it for our benefit? Before you answer, consider the way that scientists now believe how the moon was formed in the first place.

According to the latest scientific theory called the Giant Impact Hypothesis, the moon was formed from a just right mars sized object which struck the young Earth at just the right velocity and at just the right angle, crashing into the Earth and blowing away the thick early Earth atmosphere (see verse 9 of Job 38 which describes the very thick early Earth atmosphere, so thick that from the vantage point of an observer on the surface of the Earth, the observer would experience darkness) and replacing it with an atmosphere thin enough for light to pass through (see Genesis 1 verses 2 and 3 where the once thick atmosphere of the Earth is changed to allow for the first time light to reach the surface - note the frame of reference is of that of an observer on the Earth's surface). The resulting debris field from the impact coalesced to form the moon. Here's a section from Hugh Ross's book, "Creation As Science": (page 111)

"Most of the time, a major crash constitutes a catastrophe. But one gigantic collision proved just the opposite. When primordial Earth was only 30 to 50 million years old, a planet between 11 and 14 percent the mass of Earth (for comparison's sake, Mars = 0.107 Earth masses) smashed into Earth at a 45 degree angle. The speed of the planet upon impact was surprisingly slow (less than 4 kilometers per second). This astonishing crash:

  • Replaced Earth's thick, suffocating atmosphere with one thin enough (about 100 times thinner) for light to pass through. The new atmosphere had the just right chemical composition to foster life's existence.
  • Boosted the mass and density of the Earth just enough to allow Earth's gravity to retain a large, but not too large, quantity of water vapor for billions of years.
  • Raised the amount of iron in Earth's core closer to the level needed to provide Earth with a strong and enduring magnetic field. This magnetic field shield's life from deadly cosmic rays and solar X-rays.
  • Delivered to Earth's core and mantle quantities of iron and other associated elements in the just right ratios to produce sufficiently long lasting, continent building plate tectonics. (Earth began without any continents) Plate tectonics also play a crucial role in compensating for the Sun's increasing brightness so that life can be sustained on Earth for billions of years.
  • Increased the iron content of Earth's crust in a way that permits a huge abundance of ocean life that in turn supports advanced land life. (see Genesis 1:20)
  • Played a major role in salting Earth's interior with an abundance of long lasting radioisotopes, the heat from which drives most of the Earth's tectonic activity and volcanism.
  • Gradually slowed Earth's rotation rate so that a wide variety of lower life forms could survive long enough to provide the resources needed for the existence of advanced life forms. This slowing was also directly significant to advanced life, which cannot survive the high wind velocities of a more rapid rotation rate. (due to the creation of Earth's moon as a result of the impact)
  • Stabilized the tilt of Earth's rotation axis, protecting the planet from rapid and extreme climatic variations." (due to the creation of Earth's moon as a result of the impact)
He goes on to state that each of these beneficial results of the impact made conditions for the possibility of advanced life far more favorable.

Now, with all of that said, now I want you to ask yourself the same question as before. Was the formation and fine tuning of the moon to make life on Earth possible just a product of random chance, coincidence, or the result of carefully orchestrated engineering by an incredibly intelligent, powerful, Agent?

If you answered an intelligent Agent, what if I could show you that the Bible's various creation accounts match the most recent scientific accounts of the creation of the universe, Earth, moon and life on Earth? Wouldn't that mean that the Bible is true and trustworthy?

I love in Genesis 1 and Job 38, the exact conditions of the early Earth are described in detail and match what science has discovered some 3000 years later. See the references for yourself above.

Well, I'm out of time - I was going to introduce you to the Solar System today but I'll save that for next time.

Until then, have a great and Merry Christmas!

Cheers
Tom

2 comments:

  1. Interesting ideas, for an agnostic to read. People like me find it tough to listen to religion because the historical claim about the age of Earth has been proven untrue by science.

    Nice argument, not converted to Christianity yet. Do you think I will get into heaven if I continue the Agnostic stance,even though I've never committed a crime?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Karl,
    Thanks for your comments.

    It's interesting to hear your remarks regarding the historical claim on the age of the Earth. Actually, many of the church founders believed in an ancient Earth, and even the Bible describes the Earth as being "ancient". Nowhere does it teach that the Earth is young. In fact, it is only recently that some Christians have emphasized a young Earth in their teachings. I would not, however, allow this to deter you from continuing your search for truth. God loves an honest skeptic! Just look at how Jesus treated Thomas in John 20. Thomas wanted proof, so Jesus gave him all the proof he needed. He'll do the same for you, you just have to seek for Him with an open heart. Let the evidence lead to where it leads.

    As for your second remark, the Bible is crystal clear on this point. It is not by works that we get to heaven, but on faith in Christ's finished work on the cross as payment for our sins. Here's a passage from Romans 3:21-27

    21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement,[i] through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

    And this from Romans 6:23
    23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord.

    So getting to heaven means accepting by faith God's gift which is eternal life for us if we choose to put our trust in Jesus.

    So even if you keep all the laws and do not commit any crimes, there still exists a law above our laws, which none of us can keep. We are all trespassers of God's law as the passages above state. Bottom Line: You can't make it on your own. You need a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

    Galatians confirms this:
    Galatians 2:16 (New American Standard Bible)

    16nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.

    Accept His gift this Christmas. His Word is true and good.

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear from you. I'm open to your take on this topic. Got a question? I will answer any honest question with an honest answer.