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Origin of Earth

The origin of the Earth has been debated for centuries. What is the true origin of the Earth? What is the most logical and rational theory for the origin of the Earth?

The very first verse in the Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). According to this passage God is the originator and Creator of the Earth. This is in contrast to secular Darwinists who claim the Earth originated by a naturalistic evolutionary chance process. There are Deists who believe God Created and originated the Universe at the time of the Big Bang, then God removed Himself and has allowed the universe to form by an evolutionary, naturalistic chance process.

The science of Astronomy maintains the Earth had a beginning. This is complementary with the Bible record which also maintains the Earth had a beginning. In order to gain an insight into the origin of the Earth, it is necessary to investigate the discoveries of astronomy. Geology can give an insight into the age of the Earth, whereas astronomy is able to give an insight into how the universe came into being at the time of the Big Bang Creation Event and also some of its intricate history. Astronomy has revealed evidences as to how galaxies, stars and planets were originally created and formed. All of this gives information and insight as to how our solar system and planetary system came into being and thus sets the basis for postulating the origin of the Earth.

The science of geology presents an interesting observation. Geology maintains the Earth had a beginning. This is complementary with the Bible record which also maintains the Earth had a beginning. In the following chapters, we will begin to see that there is a remarkable compatibility between the Geological and the Biblical records when it comes to explaining the history of the Earth from the time of its beginning to the present.

The Bible maintains the Earth was created and formed according to a plan. The sciences of astronomy and geology, both, give an insight into this plan.

Discoveries of Astronomy

Hugh Ross Ph.D. who is a Christian astronomer, astrophysicist and President of Reasons To Believe says, “No other generation has witnessed so many discoveries about the universe. No other generation has seen the measuring of the cosmos. For previous generations the universe remained a profound mystery. But we are alive to see several of its mysteries solved. Not only can we measure certain aspects of the universe, but in these measurements we are discovering some of the characteristics of the One who fashioned it all. Astronomy has provided us with new tools to probe the Creator’s personality.” 1 The reader is advised to read Dr. Hugh Ross’s book “The Creator and the Cosmos” for more detailed explanations.

Dr. Ross describes our vast universe as being, a Just Right Universe. It was designed just right for life on this Earth because our Earth has just the right molecules, the right atoms, the right nucleons, and the right electrons. If these four major building blocks were not in place, then galaxies, stars and planets would never have been formed and then created. At whatever level these building blocks of life are examined, it reveals the physics of the universe to be very meticulously fine tuned. To make sure the needed atoms were present, the Earth must have been exquisitely constructed, and carefully fabricated by a Super Intellect. This could never have been accomplished without the workings of a transcendent, Master Intelligent Designer, Chemist and Creator.

Dr. Ross says, “Unless it (the universe) is skillfully fashioned, the atoms will not be able to assemble into complex molecules. Such precise balancing of all factors is truly beyond our ability to comprehend. Yet with the measuring of the universe, even more astounding facts become apparent.” 2

The universe’s expansion rate was the first parameter to be measured which amazed astrophysicists. Dr. Ross says, “If the universe expanded too rapidly, matter would disperse so efficiently that none of it would clump enough to form galaxies. If no galaxies form, no stars will form. If no stars form, no planets form. If no planets form, there’s no place for life. On the other hand, if the universe expanded too slowly, matter would clump so effectively that all of it, the whole universe in fact, would collapse into a super-dense lump before any solar-type stars could form.”3 In other words, if the universe were left to chance, it would stand no chance of survival.

The Age of the Universe was the second parameter to be measured. Astrophysicists favor a date of about 12 billion years. The reader may question, why couldn’t God have created the universe about 6,000 years ago? Dr. Ross says, “Given the laws and constants of physics God chose to create, it takes about twelve billion years just to fuse enough heavy minerals in the nuclear furnaces of several generations of giant stars to make life chemistry possible. Life could not happen any earlier in the universe than it did on earth. Nor could it happen much later. As the universe ages, stars like the sun–located in the right part of the galaxy for life and in a stable nuclear burning phase—become increasingly rare. If the universe were just a few billion years older, such stars would no longer exist.”4

A third parameter is entropy, or energy degradation. The universe possesses an extreme amount of entropy. Ross says, “This high level of entropy is essential for life. Without it, systems as small as stars and planets would never form. But as extremely high as the entropy of the universe is, it could not be much higher. If it were higher, sytems as large as galaxies would never form. Stars and planets cannot form without galaxies.”5

A fourth Parameter is the ratio of the electromagnetic force constant to the gravitational force constant. If this constant was decreased by very minute amounts, then only large stars would form. Ross says, “For life to be possible in the universe, both large and small stars must exist. The large stars must exist because only in their thermonuclear furnaces are most of the life-essential elements produced. The small stars like the sun must exist because only small stars burn long enough and stable enough to sustain a planet with life.”6 Our Earth is dependent upon our Sun for life. It happens to be just the right size and the right distance from the Sun for life to exist.

The Solar System

As Astronomers research our universe, they find that it is mind boggling to grasp the minute detail that the Master Designer wove together within the universe, our galaxy and our solar system in order to make the Earth suitable for life. In order to understand how God may have created and formed our Earth, it is imperative that we understand certain details about our solar system.

For the solar system to be suitable for life, it must belong to the right spiral galaxy. Ross points out, “Not all galaxies are created equal in terms of their capacity to support life. Popular media often give the impression that all galaxies are spiral like our Milky Way. Actually only 5% of the galaxies are spiral. The other 95% are either elliptical or irregular.”7 First, it is important that our Milky Way Galaxy is a just right spiral galaxy in order for it to be suitable for life on the Earth.

Secondly, it is important that our solar system is positioned in the right part of the spiral arm, and that the spiral arm must be at the right distance from the centre of our galaxy. Ross emphasizes the importance of supernovae explosions leading to the formation of the solar system and in supplying the needed quantity of elements heavier than helium. He also points out the importance of White Dwarf stars in supplying the element fluorine which the Earth needs for the support of life.

Thirdly, our solar system must be a single star (Sun) system. It cannot have two or more suns. Ross says, “This star must form at the right time in the history of the galaxy. If it forms too soon or too late, the mix of heavy minerals suitable for life chemistry will not exist. It is also essential that the star be middle-aged. Only middle-aged stars are in a sufficiently stable burning phase.” 7

Fourthly, Our Earth must have the right rotation period. If it rotates too slow, temperature differences become too great. If it rotates too fast, wind velocities will rise to catastrophic levels.

Fifthly, the Earth needs the right Moon. Dr. Ross says p.128, “Our moon is unique among solar system bodies in that it is so large relative to its planet. As a result, our moon exerts a significant gravitational pull on Earth . Thanks to this pull, coastal sea waters are cleansed and their nutrients replenished, also the obliquity (tilt of the rotation axis relative to the orbital plane) of earth is stabilized (a critical factor for avoiding extremes).”8

Our Earth has been prepared through a variety of finely tuned characteristics to make it suitable for life. Dr. Ross lists 32 characteristics that are necessary if life is to exist on Earth and says that this list is growing with every year of research. He then says, “These factors would seem to indicate that the galaxy, the sun, the earth, and the moon, in addition to the universe, have undergone divine design.”10

Secular Scenario

for the Origin of the Earth

The origin of the Earth must be considered in the context of the entire solar system, because the Earth is an integral part of this system. Secular textbooks on Astronomy and Geology present two main hypothesis with respect to the origin of the Earth. They are:

1. The Cold Nebular Accretion Hypothesis .

2. The Hot Nebular Accretion Hypothesis

1. The Cold Nebular Accretion Hypothesis envisages a swirling cold cloud of gas and dust gathering in a certain arm of our Milky Way Galaxy. As it rotates it becomes flattened and disc shaped. Gravitational forces cause 90% plus of its mass to be compressed to its centre. As the particles of matter and gases are condensed and shrunk, gravitational attraction causes them to be attracted to the central mass at the centre. The increased intensity of particles being attracted to the central mass by gravitational compression generates great heat to form the sun.

Solar winds drive the lighter dust and gas elements outward causing protoplanets to form by accretion. As these protoplanets enlarge, their gravitational pull becomes more intense. This causes the surrounding particles to bombard the growing planet such as the Earth with increased intensity causing it to grow continually in size.

The Cold Nebular Accretion Model attempts to explain how the Earth was originally formed. At this stage the Earth is still unsorted but is layered. It now requires a process of differentiation. This is accomplished by the generation of heat resulting from 1. radioactive decay. 2. heat generated from gravitational compression and 3. accretionary heat from the bombardment of particles. As the Earth reverts to a liquid state the heavier iron and nickel minerals sink to form the Earth’s core which has a density of 10. The less dense minerals form the liquid middle Mantle with an average density of 4. The lighter minerals form the crystalline crust which has a density of 2.65.

2. The Hot Accretion Hypothesis envisages an extremely hot solar nebula (10000 C or greater) in a certain spiral arm of our Milky Way Galaxy. The general mechanics of accretion would be quite similar to the above model except the swirling cloud of dust particles and gas are extremely hot, not cold. Under this model, the sun forms first and the planets follow. The initial crystallization of iron and nickel rich elements form the earth’s core. The less dense elements form the liquid mantle. Then, with the subsequent cooling of the Earth, the less dense silicate minerals begin to crystallize to form the outer crust.

In 1796 Pierre-Simon Laplace published his Nebular Hypothesis. Astro Physicist and Geologist Dr. Harry McSween Jr., says, “In Laplace’s nebular hypothesis, eventually rotation caused the nebular gas to flatten into a disk with a bulge at the centre. The formation of a nebular disk was a particularly important aspect of Laplace’s model, because it provided an explanation why all the planets lie in the ecliptic plane.”11 He then says, “A thorny problem for Laplace’s nebular hypothesis, then and now, is that the present Sun should be rapidly whirling like a figure skater. Instead, this star, with 99.9% of the solar system’s mass, is spinning much too slowly, having only 2% of the system’s angular momentum.”12 Physicists in the early part of the century tried to get around this problem by coming out with catastrophic theories. The most popular model was the hypothesis of two stars colliding. This was shown to be statistically impossible, thus this theory was abandoned. Astronomers have now returned to the nebular hypothesis again. It has become the almost universally accepted model, even though it falls short of answering the above problem.

McSween says, “Unlike the formative stages of stars, the act of planet formation has never been observed.” 13 There is a gap in knowledge as to how a gaseous nebula could come together to form our Earth in an extremely hot state with all the necessary ingredients for life and why our central Sun with 99.9% of the solar system’s mass is spinning much too slowly having only 2% of the system’s angular momentum. The gap that is missing can be logically explained by the following Creation Scenario for the origin of the Earth.

Creation Scenario

for the Origin of the Earth

What is missing in the naturalistic, secular Scenario for the origin of the Earth is the continual working of the Great Transcendent, Intelligent Designer and Creator of the universe. They fail to recognize and to admit that this Transcendent Super Intellect is a super scientist, astronomer, geologist, chemist, biologist, and the list could go on and on. Whatever field of science a person may find themselves in, they can be assured that He knows everything to be known about the subject that they are researching. It is totally absurd to ignore the One who has brought all things into being.

Hugh Ross says, “The persistence of rejection of God’s existence and creative work despite the build-up of evidence for both suggests that the source of rejection is not intellectual. This was brought home to me while reading an article in one of the humanist magazines to which I subscribe. The article noted that “atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers — call them what you will — are almost all former Christians.” It seems the issue for these atheists, agnostics, humanists, and freethinkers is not so much the deficiency of evidence for the Christian faith but rather the deficiencies of Christians. They seem to be reacting to their past, holding bitterness over the wrongs or abuses they incurred in their experience with Christians.” 14 In other words, they have gone in the opposite direction by trying to prove that there is no God, regardless how absurd their theories may be. In the process they have become disciples of the religion of naturalistic Humanism. They thus take a very anti-Christian and a very anti-Biblical position. They do not want to admit that the Biblical record, not only complements, but it also enhances the scientific record.

How is it possible to relate the Bible record to the record of astronomy? According to the Bible, God created the heavens (the universe) and the Earth (Genesis 1:1). This verse assumes God is transcendent and was present prior to the creation of the universe and the Earth. Second, it implies that He not only created the universe, but He also created the Earth by His Mighty Power.

According to astronomy 99.97% of all matter and energy came into existence suddenly within a split second at the time of the Big Bang Creation Event. Since that time all galaxies, stars, planets including the Earth etc. have been in the process of being formed, not created, by a naturalistic evolutionary process. How is it possible to bring the two records together.

God’s Plan for the Earth

According to the Bible, God established a detailed plan or architectural blueprint for the universe and the Earth before they were ever created. We read in Proverb 8:22-23 & 27 “The Lord possessed me (wisdom) at the beginning of His way, BEFORE HIS WORKS OF OLD. I have been established from everlasting, from the beginning, before there was an earth. — When he prepared the heavens (Universe) I was there.” The central theme of Proverbs chapter eight is wisdom. Wisdom is synonymous with God. Wisdom is an integral attribute of God and the universe was planned, created, formed and made according to the wisdom of God as revealed through His creation.

There are four Hebrew words kun, bara, yatsar and asah that are of fundamental importance when attempting to understand the methods by which God planned, created and formed the universe and the Earth.

-Kun means to prepare something beforehand with a plan in mind.

-Bara, has a primary meaning to create something new out of nothing. It has a secondary meaning to create something new out of previously created matter. It means to change the form, state, and situation of matter, which is totally indisposed for such a change and requires as great a power as to create something new out of nothing. For example, God created Man’s body out of previous existing dust, and He created Man’s soul and spirit out of nothing. Bara always implies original creation. In other words, what He has created has never been in existence before. For example, when God created the Earth it was unique and different from any other planet. It had never been in existence before.

-Yatsar means to form something out of previous existing matter. This involves a process and it implies the work of a potter molding a beautiful vase out of clay.

-Asah has a general meaning often translated as made. It has great latitude, but never to indicate original creation. It also means to appoint. For example, we read in Genesis 1:16, “He made (asah) the sun, moon and stars.” This can be interpreted to mean that God gave the sun, moon and stars a new appointment or assignment during the Fourth Day, although their original creation (bara) took place during the First Day (see Daae, 1989). 15

According to the Bible, God planned, created, formed and made the Earth according to a plan and purpose. Often these four Hebrew words appear similar to each other, yet are quite different such as is found in Isaiah 45:18, “Thus says the Lord, who created (bara) the heavens, who is God, who formed (yatsar) the earth and made (asah) it, who established (kun) it, who did not create (bara) it in vain (that is without a purpose), who formed (yatsar) it to be inhabited: I am the Lord, and there is no other.” The Hebrew word kun means to come forth with a plan. The plan and purpose was that the Earth would be a place of habitation and that the Earth’s inhabitants would give honor, glory and power to their Intelligent Designer and Creator as a result of observing the greatness of His creation. Revelations 4:11 says, “You are worthy O Lord to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things and by your will they exist and were created.” We read in Isaiah 43:7. “Everyone who is called by my name, whom I have created (bara) for My glory, I have formed (yatsar) him, yes, I have made (asah) him.” The purpose of Man is to acknowledge God as Creator and to give Him all the glory and honor.

The often confusing and contradictory question arises: How could God create the Earth if the original matter had already been created at the time of the Big Bang Creation Event? The answer is found in the second meaning of the Hebrew word bara. According to Crudence Concordance bara has two meanings. The first meaning is to create something new out of nothing. The second meaning is to create something new out of previous existing matter and the end result is just as great as if it had been created out of nothing.

The Origin of the Earth

Based upon the Bible Record

“In the beginning God created (bara) the Heaven’s and the Earth” (Genesis 1:1). This verse describes the origin of the Earth. Bara always means original Creation. It implies that God either created the Earth out of nothing or He created the Earth out of previously created matter and the end result would have been just as great as if He had created it out of nothing.

The basic principle of Creation is that God always creates something according to a preconceived plan (kun). He then forms (yatsar) what he has created by a step by step process. For example when he created (bara) the Earth, it was a brand new creation. He then began to form (yatsar) the Earth, as a potter would mold a beautiful vase out of clay, in preparation for life. This process of forming the Earth involved the laying of the cornerstone and the foundations of the Earth, the birth of the oceans, the establishment of a water cycle, etc. This was followed by millions of successive acts of creation involving the creation of multi species of plant and animal life throughout geological time. At the time that God was creating life, He was also forming (yatsar) the Earth by the deposition of thousands of feet of sedimentary deposits. At any point in time during the history of the Earth the Lord God could say, “This is the Earth that I have made (asah).”

By applying this basic principle of Creation to the Universe, it follows a similar pattern. First, God planned (kun) the universe that He was about to create. Secondly, He created (bara) the universe consisting of the 99.97% of all matter and energy at the time of the Big Bang Creation Event. This matter was created suddenly and instantly (in a split second) in an extremely hot gaseous state according to astronomers. Thirdly, God immediately began to form the vast amounts of matter & gases into an orderly arrangement of nebular clouds. Every particle of matter was sent out on an orderly, pre-planned trajectory orbit in all directions through space. God continued to form (yatsar) the raw materials of matter and gases into multi million clusters of nebular clouds that were widely distributed throughout space. Fourthly, God took the raw materials that were present in the multi-million clusters of nebular clouds of matter and gases and by the power of His Word created (bara) the multi-millions of galaxies throughout space. Each galaxy became brand new with a unique arrangements of new stars, planets and moons, etc. Some of these galaxies were spiral shaped, others elliptical and others irregular in shape. Each one would have been created (bara) by separate and successive acts of creation according to the preconceived plan set out by the Master Designer. The science of astronomy confirms that every galaxy is unique and that galaxies and stars have somewhat different ages.

Astronomers estimate that our spiral shaped Milky Way Galaxy consists of about one hundred billion stars. Many of these stars are believed to have solar systems. Each of these stars and solar systems within the Milky Way Galaxy, which includes our Earth, would have been the result of a new creation (bara), each having a unique purpose, plan and place within the galaxy. Just as our Earth has been continually formed and changed since its creation, every other star would be going through a similar process of being formed and changed. As astronomers view the galaxies and stars, they see that they are in a continual process of change. They are in reality observing changes that have taken place thousands and millions of years in the past.

Our Solar System

A person can only conjecture as to the order of creative acts that brought our solar system into being. It is believed that God would have created our Sun first as it is the central star in our solar system. Each planet would have been individually created so as to conform to a certain trajectory path around the sun. The moon would have been created to orbit the Earth. Its main purpose is for the establishment of seasons on the earth. The purpose of the earth orbiting around the sun is to establish the length of a year and also for astronomically establishing the 12 months of the year. Earth time began the moment the Earth was created.

The Earth: A Hot Gaseous State

What was the Earth like moments after it was created? Geology maintains that the Earth began in a gaseous state. The Bible maintains the Earth began in a gaseous state. Both records are complementary. The Bible says in Genesis 1:2a, “The earth was without form and void.” (New K.J V.). The New International Bible says, “Now the earth was formless and empty.” Geologists say the Earth consists of rock minerals that can exist in a solid, liquid or gaseous state. Both a solid and a liquid have form, but a gas is formless. It is thus believed that the Earth was created in a hot, formless, gaseous state as a bright star shining in the firmament of heaven.

Conclusion

God began His work of old by formulating a detailed architectural blueprint or plan for the universe and the Earth. The next step was to create all the raw materials for the universe at the time of the Big Bang Creation Event. The third step was to distribute these raw materials in the form of nebular clouds to all parts of the universe of space. The fourth step was to systematically form and gather the nebular clouds into systematic clusters in preparation for the creation of multi-million galaxies throughout space. This would have involved the gathering together of all the essential ingredients of matter that were created at the time of the Big Bang Creation Event. The fifth step was to create our solar system, which included the Earth, within a spiral arm of our Milky Way galaxy.

According to the Bible, the Creator created the Earth by the awesome power of His Word. The Bible says in Psalm 33:9, “He spoke and it was done, He commanded and it stood fast.” Psalm 148:56 says, “He commanded and they were created.” Then we read in Psalm Psalm 33:6, “By the Word of the Lord were the Heavens made and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.”

The moment God created the Big Bang Creation Event marks the beginning of our universe of time, space, matter and energy. It also marks the beginning of the First Day of Creation. The creation of the Earth marks the beginning of Earth time.

We can conclude, that the sciences of astronomy and geology are remarkably compatible with the Bible record. When it comes to explaining the origin of the Earth, the Bible is remarkably scientific. It greatly enhances the scientific record. The following chapters will give an insight into the remarkable plan that God has for the geological history of the Earth.

 

References

1. Hugh Ross, Ph.D., “The Creator and the Cosmos,” How the Greatest Scientific Discoveries of the Century Reveal God, Navpress publishing Group, Colorado, USA, 1993, p.105.
2. Ross, p.109.
3. Ross, p.109.
4. Ross, p.100.
5. Ross, p.110.
6. Ross, p.111.
7. Ross, p.124.
8. Ross, p. 125.
9. Ross, p.128.
10 Ross, P.135.
11. Harry Y. McSween, Jr., “Fanfare for Earth,” The Origin of Our Planet and Life, St. Martin’s Press, New York,1997, p.59. Note: The reader is encouraged to read McSween’s book or similar books on the origin of the Earth and to search the website. Harry Y. McSween, Jr., Ph.D. is head of the department of geological sciences at the University of Tennessee and author of Stardust to Planets (St. Martin’s Press, 1993).
12. McSween, p.59.
13. McSween, p.71
14. Hugh Ross, p.96. Note: The quotation he refers to is found in an article in a Humanist Magazine by David Dvorkin, “Why I am Not A Jew,” Free Inquiry 10, No. 2 (1990).
15. H.Donald Daae, P.Geol., “Bridging the Gap: The First 6 Days,” Genesis International Research Publishers, Calgary, AB Canada, p.24 to 26 & 193-199.

Note: All scripture references were from the New International Version of the Bible or the The New King James Version.

last updated: March 8, 2013
Copyright © 2010 Genesis International Research Association