Our Amazing Spaceship Earth
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[14:33] He has committed the sun and the moon in your service, continuously. He has committed the night and the day to serve you.
The second engine is deep inside the earth itself. There, the fuel is decaying radioactive elements that heat the planet and drive plate tectonics. Geologists Frank Press and Raymond Siever call this “a gigantic but delicately balanced heat engine fueled by radioactivity.” (Earth, p. 4).
“Not only does plate tectonics help with the development of continents and mountains, which prevent a water world,” adds astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez, “but it also drives the Earth’s carbon dioxide—rock cycle. This is critical in regulating the environment through the balancing of greenhouse gases and keeping the temperature of the planet at a livable level . . .
“This radioactive decay also helps drive the convection of the liquid iron surrounding the Earth’s core, which results in an amazing phenomenon: the creation of a dynamo that actually generates the planet’s magnetic field.” (quoted by Strobel, pp. 182-183).
The passenger cabin
What about the passenger cabin? How well designed is it?
We find the earth provides all the comforts a space traveler could desire—abundant and delicious food, plenty of water, gorgeous and entertaining scenery, a comfortable climate, challenging work and plenty of room to have a family.
[6:99] He is the One who sends down from the sky water, whereby we produce all kinds of plants. We produce from the green material multitudes of complex grains, palm trees with hanging clusters, and gardens of grapes, olives and pomegranate; fruits that are similar, yet dissimilar. Note their fruits as they grow and ripen. These are signs for people who believe.
It is a self-contained unit with renewable resources that can last, if properly taken care of, for potentially thousands of years into the future.
To keep the temperature comfortable for the passengers, the planet remains in orbit at just the right distance from the sun and is designed with an optimum tilt of 23.5 degrees.
“If the earth had been tilted as much as 45 degrees instead of what it is,” notes Fred Meldau, “temperate zones would have torrid zone heat in the summer and frigid zone cold in the winter. On the other hand, if the axis of the earth were vertical to the plane of its orbit, January and July would have the same climate and ice would accumulate until much of the continents would be ice-covered six months and flooded the other six months” (Why We Believe in Creation Not in Evolution , 1972, pp. 27-28).
[Psalm 104:24] “O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of your possessions.”
[15:19] As for the earth, we constructed it, and placed on it stabilizers (mountains) and we grew on it a PERFECT BALANCE of everything.
A protector fleet of spaceships
Not only does our terrestrial vessel have a magnetic force field and renewable resources, but it also has a number of accompanying spacecraft to stabilize and protect it.
The first of these is our moon. It is a veritable workhorse. Not only does it shield our planet from taking some meteorite hits, but it stabilizes earth’s vital tilt. Just as a clock has counterbalancing weights, so the moon acts as a counterbalance to the earth, keeping the planet’s tilt carefully adjusted to allow the four seasons of the year. This tilt permits the sun’s rays to uniformly heat the globe, much like a rotisserie slowly roasts a chicken.
The moon, along with the sun, also regulates our tides. The earth’s tides help circulate the water in the oceans and sweep away waste products from the coasts.
“If the moon were half as far away, or twice its present diameter,” adds Fred Meldau, “great tides would wreck most of our harbors . . . If the moon were smaller and farther away, it would not have
sufficient pull on our tides to cleanse our harbors or adequately rejuvenate (with oxygen) the waters of our oceans” (p. 31).
Also remarkable is the relative size and placement of the moon with respect to the sun. The sun is 400 times larger than the moon but also 400 times farther away—an arrangement that produces perfect solar eclipses when viewed from earth.
This extraordinary phenomenon has revealed crucial scientific facts about the composition of the sun and other stars, as well as providing concrete evidence of Einstein’s theory of relativity (again illustrating how our earth is set up to allow us to make scientific discoveries about the universe).
Yet the moon is only the first of Spaceship Earth’s protector fleet.
The two gas giants, Jupiter and Saturn with their strong gravitational pulls, also help shield the planet by functioning as giant vacuum cleaners, sweeping the solar system of dangerous comets and asteroids.
[22:65]…He prevents the heavenly bodies from crashing onto the earth, except in accordance with His command…
Astronomers witnessed a stark example of such protection in 1994 when Jupiter took a hit as the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet broke apart due to Jupiter’s gravitational pull and smashed into its atmosphere.
As the book The Privileged Planet notes: “The existence of a well-placed moon, of circular planetary orbits . . . of the outlying gas giants to sweep the Solar System of sterilizing comets . . . all these and more are profoundly important for the existence of complex life on our planet” (p. 256).
Not only is Spaceship Earth just the right distance from the sun to have a temperate climate, but its solar system is in an excellent neighborhood of stars. It lies between two spiral arms of the Milky Way galaxy, far away from the dangerous galactic core or the spiral arms, and is in what astronomers call a “safe zone.”
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