We have spent the last twenty weeks looking at the stars in the sky which tell the story of God. Now let’s take a look at the earth and its position in the heavens. The facts are astounding.
The Bible tells the story of the creation of the heavens and the earth twice in both Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. There are a number of people who have been taught that in Genesis 1 the creation of man before Adam is in focus (in other words Australopithecines and Cro-Magnon man). Then the theory goes that the creation of modern man is described in Genesis 2. It seems a convenient way of trying to harmonize the Bible with Science. But it is absolute rubbish. It does not hold a shred of truth. The point of two creation accounts from a Hebrew point of view is to emphasize strongly that man was the apex or the crowning glory of God’s creation and that the creation was made for the habitation of mankind. Man is the top of the pyramidof creation. Mankind is the apple of God’s eye. God created the earth as the perfect place for man to dwell. Everything was prepared in creation for the habitat of man. “Then God looked over all He had made and saw that it was very good. And evening passed and morning came marking the sixth day.” Genesis 1:31
Well let’s investigate this place where God placed man in the universe. Firstly we will look at the earth as man’s dwelling place from the point of view of the safety of our habitation and then we will look at the rest of the planets in our solar system as to whether they can also sustain life. We hear a lot about the search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) and life on other planets. Well let’s examine the facts. Firstly, our place on earth and it’s perfection.
We are perfectly positioned in relationship to our sun to provide us with a habitable planet where the temperatures are varied in order to sustain life on the planet. If we were any closer we would roast, if we were any further we would freeze. I don’t need to tell you more in order to convince you these days. The issues of global warming and the extremes we are experiencing in terms of temperature should be enough to convince you. However, let’s consider the factors which are built in to sustainable life on earth. Our position in relation to the sun gives us the right amount of light and warmth. Without light and warmth we could not grow plants. The presence of water on the planet is crucial. The balance achieved to ensure water doesn’t freeze across the planet is crucial. So too is the issue of heat, too much heat and all the water would evaporate. How is this achieved? Quite simply as a result of two facts: The period of the earth’s rotation and its revolution around the sun.
The fact that the earth rotates over a day (24 hours) and revolves around the sun over a year (365 days) gives us a modified, sustainable environment. If we had long periods of time when a particular face of the earth was turned away from the sun freezing would occur. The fact that the earth traverses an elliptical path around the sun means there are periods of time (the seasons) when we are closer and further away from the sun, giving us the seasonal changes. But more to the point axial tilt plays a part here which we will investigate in the next Nugget. These factors related to light and warmth interact with others to produce what is called the habitable zone. Earth is in the habitable zone in the planetary system. It is also called by some the goldilocks zone. A reference to Goldilocks and the fact that her porridge was just right, not too hot and not too cold.
Why is the earth like that? Partly because of diurnal differences in temperature between night and day which gives us a heating period and a cooling period which is short in order to sustain life. With the temperatures we are experiencing in NZ at the moment or anywhere around the world consider what the temperatures would climb to if you didn’t have a night to allow cooling and dissipation of heat. Then there are the seasonal variations around the globe related to summer and winter. This is related to the earth’s elliptical movement around the sun in a year combined with the axial tilt of the earth. Imagine if you had month of daylight and high summer temperatures or a fortnight of night and winter temperatures. We don’t because of the way God designed our planet. It is not like that as we shall see when we visit the other planets in our solar system. Mercifully I use the word visit poetically. I for one would rather not go there.
Let’s now consider light rather than warmth. We all know light is essential for plants to grow. If we didn’t have light on our planet, life could not be sustained. The fact we have a balanced amount of light over a 24-hour period is hugely beneficial to both plants and humans. Plants don’t grow in long periods of darkness. But we humans don’t function too well in long periods of light or dark. Ask anyone living in the Arctic circle. Scandinavians we have known in our work tells us psychological problems arise in those long low-sun-periods. Our wake-sleep cycle is aided by the 24 hour rotation of the earth. Imagine for moment if the earth didn’t rotate. We would all be in trouble.
I have started this first Nugget on this topic sticking to light and warmth. In future Nuggets we will investigate the other factors.