Amazing Evidence of God in the Design of Our World
by Lenny Esposito
[In my last post], I began a discussion on how the universe is finely-tuned for human existence. We started with an analogy of being lost in a wood and stumbling onto a life-saving cabin. Then, I noted that just like our cabin, we see three key areas that are necessary for our shelter to sustain life. If you haven’t read it yet, make sure you do.
Last time we looked at how the area is just right – that is the laws of the universe allow life to exist. Today, I’d like to look more closely at the other two features that make life possible: our solar system is built for life and our planet itself is just right.
2. Our planet and solar system are poised for life (the cabin is built right)
Going back to our cabin analogy, it’s not merely that the area where the cabin is built is just right for you to survive—the cabin itself has to be made the right way with the right materials, otherwise it will do you no good at all. Imagine if the cabin had huge holes in the walls and ceiling. It would let the heat and the cold in and not sustain your life. Imagine also if the cabin was made out of paper or sand, which would quickly give way to the wild beasts outside or simple erosion. None of these situations would be of benefit to you when you needed it most.
Similar to the cabin, our little neighborhood in the universe, our solar system and the planet Earth, also show remarkable design for life. In their great book Rare Earth, scientists Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee note just how unlikely it is that another planet in the universe would have the perfect conditions for life that our planet Earth does. We live in a spiral galaxy, but not in a portion crowded with stars. Our sun sits far enough away from the center of the galaxy, yet in-between two of its more densely-packed arms, what Ward and Brownlee call the “Galactic Habitable Zone.” 4They note that the distance of our Earth from the sun is also perfect , not letting the oceans boil away (possibly like Venus) or freeze over permanently (like all water on Mars). 5
Our sun is also the right kind of star. Did you know that 95% of stars in the universe are smaller than our sun?6Planets need to be closer to smaller stars in order to get enough warmth for life, but when planets do get closer, the star’s gravity keeps one side of the planet constantly facing toward it, freezing out the atmosphere. If our sun were much smaller, it wouldn’t put out enough heat, and if it were larger, it would be so hot that it would sterilize the planet of all life.7 And because our sun is not too red (which would also make it too cold for life) or too blue (which would burn too quickly to sustain life), we are able to exist.8 Everything seems to be not too hot nor too cold, but just right for life to exist on this particular planet…
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