Fingerprints

As my children's teacher and leader of a small group of homeschooled teenagers, my personal goal is to spark curiosity and wonder. I also strive to present solid information by which they will eventually be able to form their own conclusions—their own worldviews. My wish for these precious young people is that they will feel confident and free to explore various ideas with open minds—ideas that may be outside of their comfort zones. We've spent several weeks reading and discussing differing origin stories all of which have some degree of incredibility linked to them. Yet, it's obvious to me that the following ideas and/or facts truly speak to our Creator's unmistakable design of all that is and all that will ever be.




Understanding Intelligent Design by William A. Dembski and Sean Mc Dowell

Clearly, a cake is the work of an intelligent designer. Are we to believe that a habitable planet, which is exceedingly more complex than a cake, is not also the result of design? Consider some physical factors that must be set precisely for the earth to be hospitable to life.
Life must be in the right type of galaxy. Scientists classify galaxies into three types—elliptical, irregular, and spiral. Elliptical galaxies lack the heavy elements needed for life. Irregular galaxies have too many supernova explosions, which endanger life. Only spiral galaxies foster life, and Earth happens to be in one of them.
Life must be in the right location in the galaxy. We are situated in just the right place in the Milky Way. If we were too close to the center of the galaxy, near the Black Hole, harmful radiation (gamma rays and X-rays) would make life impossible. On the other hand, if we were too far out in the periphery, not enough heavy elements would be available for the construction of Earth-like planets. Earth is located in what scientists call the galactic habitable zone.
Life must have the right type of star. A star must act as an energy source for life. But not just any star will do. The size and age of the sun uniquely enhance the Earth’s habitability. Most stars are too large, too luminous, or too unstable to support life. But our sun is just right.
Life must have the right relationship to its host star. If the earth were merely 1 percent closer to the sun, then bodies of water would vaporize, destroying the possibility of life. If the earth were merely 2 percent farther from the sun its water would freeze. Earth also has a nearly circular orbit, which ensures a nearly constant distance from the sun, which in turn ensures that seasonal changes are moderate rather than severe. Earth exists in the circumstellar habitable zone, which is the region around a star where liquid water can exist to support life.
Life needs surrounding planets for protection. The other planets in our solar system contribute to Earth’s habitability. As a huge gaseous planet more than 300 hundred times our size, Jupiter protects Earth from incoming comets. And Mars, which is at the edge of the asteroid belt, protects Earth from incoming asteroids.
Life requires the right type of moon. If Earth did not have a moon of the right size and distance, our planet would be uninhabitable. The moon stabilizes the earth's tilt, preventing extreme temperatures and thus creating a stable, life-friendly environment. In short, without our moon, we would not be here.
Life requires the right type of planet. Planets much smaller or larger than Eath are probably less habitable. Planets must have the right core—as Earth happens to have—to undergo plate tectonics. Plate tectonics make possible the carbon cycle, which is essential for Earth to support life.

It seems that there are some Christians who tend to shy away from acknowledging the ideas/facts behind various theories and often view science as something to fear—something that threatens a belief in our Father God. It is clear to me that the more I immerse myself in science, the more I admire God's infinite wisdom; am amazed by his creative power; am aware of his omnipresent fingerprints. We truly live on a privileged planet created for us by an awesome God.


Melanie

Linked this week to ladydusk.