Habitability for Redemption
Southern Evangelical Seminary
My name is Hugh Ross, and I am the president of Reasons to Believe, an adjunct faculty
Dr. Ross is President of RTB and Adjunct Faculty at SES.
member at Southern Evangelical Seminary, and the minister of apologetics at Sierra Madre Congregational Church. I have a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of British Columbia, a PhD in astronomy from the University of Toronto, and conducted five years of postdoctoral research on quasars and galaxies at the California Institute of Technology. I have authored or co-authored 16 books on apologetics. At this year’s National Conference on Christian Apologetics, my talk, Habitability for Redemption, will be a condensed version of one part of my latest book, Improbable Planet. Here is a summary:
Revelation 7:9 tells us that a countless number of human beings will be part of the redeemed host. Since the first century Greeks’ number system extended up to a billion, countless implies that billions of humans will be saved. What does it take for billions of humans to hear and respond to the gospel message? As I explain in my book, Improbable Planet, it takes a habitability index very different than the one in use by astrobiologists.
Astrobiologists consider a planet habitable if it resides the appropriate distance from its star where, at some moment in the planet’s history and at some location on the planet’s surface, the temperature might permit the existence of at least a small quantity of liquid water. By this definition of habitability, about 20 percent of all planets are habitable. The percentage drops dramatically below 0.01 percent, however, if one defines habitability as a planet that can possess liquid water on more than half its surface for more than half its history.
The water habitable zone, however, is just one of the known zones required for habitability. So far, the following nine have been discovered: water habitable zone; ultraviolet habitable zone; photosynthetic habitable zone; ozone habitable zone; planetary rotation rate habitable zone; planetary obliquity habitable zone; tidal habitable zone; astrosphere habitable zone; and electric field habitable zone.
For a planet to be truly habitable, all nine of these zones must overlap. Of the 3,400 planets that astronomers have discovered, only one exists where all nine zones overlap—Earth…
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