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Aliens astronomy Creation/evolution

Life on Earth 2.0—Really?

Discovery of Kepler-452b

The news media is currently full of the news of the discovery of Kepler-452b, the planet that is supposed to be Earth’s twin.1,2 It was discovered using the satellite-borne telescope, Kepler, where the exoplanet was found to be at a distance of about 1400 light-years. It has a mass about five times that of Earth and diameter about 60% larger, hence a gravity nearly double that of Earth. It has a year3 about 20 days longer than Earth. That makes it the most similar planet to Earth yet and it is located in the habitable zone around its parent star, which is a G-class star, the same class as our sun.

You see pictures (e.g. Figure 1 here) of a planet with oceans and land masses and some even with green vegetation drawn in. But none of these are actual images of the planet. It is too far away for such a thing, even with man’s best telescopes.

Figure 1. Artist conception of the planet Kepler-452b. Clouds, continents and oceans are included, for which there is no evidence. Credit: NASA
Figure 1. Artist conception of the planet Kepler-452b. Clouds, continents and oceans are included, for which there is no evidence. Credit: NASA

Why all the hype? Well, it is the hope of life being found elsewhere. The way it goes is: find an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone, called the Goldilocks zone—not too hot, not too cold, but just right—the distance from the parent star where water is in its liquid form—detect the presence of water in its atmosphere and that gives you a good chance of finding life.4

Categories
astronomy Belief in God Decay of society God's sovereignty hermeneutics

When I consider thy heavens

O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.  … 3. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;  Psalms 8:1,3

These verses really struck me as significant as I read them this morning. Let’s look at these two verses carefully.

O YHWH (יְהוֹוָה Yhovah) our Lord (אָדוֹן ‘adown meaning ‘sovereign’)  who (meaning God Himself) hast set thy (your, singular) glory above the heavens. Psalms 8:1

God has set his own glory above that of the created heavens. And those heavens are a wonder to behold. Just look at some of the beautiful pictures of the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day. Here I illustrate this (Fig. 1) with their July 30, 2014 picture of the Andromeda galaxy.

m31_bers_960
Figure 1: M31: The Andromeda Galaxy.  Image Credit & Copyright: Jacob Bers (Bersonic)

Our own galaxy would look very similar to this one. With modern large telescopes we see a universe full of maybe 100 billion galaxies, many of which look like this one. But God’s glory is way above all of this.

When I consider thy (your, singular) heavens, the work of thy fingers ( אֶצבַּע ‘etsba` meaning ‘something to seize with’ but God does not have nor need real fingers, so it is figurative), the moon and the stars (and the latter must include the sun, which was not known by Earth astronomers to be a star until millenia later), which thou (you, singular) hast ordained (כּוּן kuwn meaning to ‘be erect’, stand perpendicular hence causatively to ‘set up’, literally to ‘establish’ or figuratively to ‘appoint’); Psalms 8:3