The Bible teaches that God first created the earth from a ball of water. “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2)
To the contrary, the dominant evolutionary theory for many decades has been that the earth’s water was derived from ice-rich comets or asteroids, which allegedly hit the planet after it formed 4.5 billion years ago. Now new research overturns those notions and brings the ‘official’ secular creation story closer to the Genesis account. A team of scientists found evidence that,
“Earth has had water since the beginning of its formation,” according to planetary scientist Lydia Hallis, who led the team.1
Their recent paper,2 published in Science, has the following abstract:
The hydrogen-isotope [deuterium/hydrogen (D/H)] ratio of Earth can be used to constrain the origin of its water. However, the most accessible reservoir, Earth’s oceans, may no longer represent the original (primordial) D/H ratio, owing to changes caused by water cycling between the surface and the interior. Thus, a reservoir completely isolated from surface processes is required to define Earth’s original D/H signature. Here we present data for Baffin Island and Icelandic lavas, which suggest that the deep mantle has a low D/H ratio (δD more negative than -218 per mil). Such strongly negative values indicate the existence of a component within Earth’s interior that inherited its D/H ratio directly from the protosolar nebula. (emphasis added)
This claimed discovery and its interpretation were boldly announced in the online Earth & Space Science News with the headline “Earth’s Water Came from Space Dust During Planetary Formation.” The article translates the science thus:
A new analysis of lava from the deep mantle indicates that water-soaked dust particles, rather than a barrage of icy comets, asteroids, or other bodies, delivered water to the newly forming Earth.1
Hallis and the team looked at the ratio (D/H) of the heavy form of hydrogen (deuterium) to the ordinary form. In the rocks (lava from deep in the mantle) they found a value of D/H much lower than that found in the earth’s oceans. They then interpreted this low value as strongly indicative of Earth’s water being derived from the alleged solar nebula, of gas and dust, from which it is alleged that the sun, the planets and all the smaller bodies in our solar system formed.
Hallis and her colleagues found that the sun is the only body in the solar system that has as low a value of the D/H ratio as the lava flows do. They then associated this with the formation of the alleged primordial nebula cloud of gas and dust. And because D/H ratios in their lava samples did not match the D/H ratio from meteorites, which all had higher D/H ratios, they then concluded that the source of the earth’s water was not from comets and/or asteroids, as once believed.
“It has been noted that the deuterium-to-hydrogen (D/H) ratio in the comets exceeds that in Earth’s oceans by at least a factor of two. In fact, the D/H ratio is more characteristic of the interstellar medium than of the terrestrial oceans. From the small sample of comets that have been closely investigated to date, it appears that another source for the water in Earth’s oceans must be determined.”4
Another study,5 also published in Science, in 2014, argued that Earth received its water as it was forming, but from really old meteors called carbonaceous chondrites. But the D/H ratio measured by Hallis et al. is lower than that of the chondrites. Hallis suggested that something that preceded those meteors—i.e., the nebula’s dust—delivered the water.1
The evidence is clear that the D/H ratio is very different from that found in the earth’s oceans, but their evolutionary interpretation is pure guesswork. Actually, it is based on a prior belief that the earth formed from the alleged solar nebula (disk of dust). The story is flexible—but still pure guesswork.
Having said that, an alternative explanation is that the isotope ratios are different because of the way God formed the earth. The Scripture tells us that God created water first and from that water He formed the oceans of the Earth. God differentiated the earth’s core and mantle from that (see also 2 Peter 3:5). There is no reason to assume then that the same isotopic ratio D/H should exist in the oceans and the mantle, nor in the sun and the solar system bodies.
Solar nebular theory has essentially the formation of the sun and planets from the same homogeneous mixture of gas and dust. It is a serious problem for planetary formation; how the gas giants differentiated from the inner rocky planets, and how the asteroid belt formed from them. In fact, recent simulations trying to understand how the inner solar system formed naturalistically suggests that the solar system cannot exist.6
Finally, it should be noted that this new evidence is just as easily, if not better, interpreted as evidence of a recent creation. God made the earth from water, and there is no reason that the water in the mantle should left with the same D/H ratio as the oceans. During the creation of the mantle one might speculate that deuterium (D) may have been depleted more than normal hydrogen (H) atoms. But during the Creation week there was no nebular with dust-laden water—that is pure conjecture—so how could the earth have formed from that? And despite the just-so storytelling, if the earth had formed from that cloud of dust, then it is more likely that the D/H ratio would be the same throughout the earth and the rest of the solar system. It is pure storytelling now that they have identified this difference. At least our story matches the eyewitness account given in Genesis 1 (the eyewitness being God Himself).
Yes, Earth was formed from water, but by fiat creation about 6,000 years ago, not from a nebular cloud 4.5 billion years ago. Believe your Bible, God’s Word.
- Sullivan, C., Earth’s Water Came from Space Dust During Planetary Formation, Earth & Space Science News, November 23, 2015.
- Hallis, L.J., et al., Evidence for primordial water in Earth’s deep mantle, Science 350(6262): 795-797, November 13, 2015.
- Hartnett, J.G., He layeth up the depth in storehouses, May 14, 2014.
- Carroll, B.W., & Ostlie, D.A., 2nd Edition, An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, Pearson, Addison-Wesley, p. 830, 2007.
- Sarafian, A.R., et al., Early accretion of water in the inner solar system from a carbonaceous chondrite–like source, Science 346(6209): 623-626, October 31, 2014.
- Hartnett, J.G., How did the solar system form, January 1, 2016.