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Privileged Planet

Is the earth really an insignificant “pale blue dot” with no hope of salvation as atheists claim?

Many claim that the earth, solar system, and entire universe was all just an accident of nature. In fact, Carl Sagan who famously referred to planet Earth as an insignificant “pale blue dot” wrote, that to believe “we have some privileged position in the Universe” is a “delusion.”[1] However, recent astronomical observations seriously challenge this statement. In fact, not only does science contradict it but, ironically, it is our very placement in the universe which even makes scientific discovery possible in the first place!

For example, earth is the only planet that scientists know of on which a total solar eclipse can be viewed. In order for this to occur the sun and moon have to have relationships in both size and distance to the planet. The moon has a diameter of approximately 3,400 km and orbits the earth at an average distance of 380,000 km. The sun is about 400 times further away from the earth than the moon is, however, it is also 400 times larger than the moon. This means that from the earth, the sun and moon appear to be the same size. This is so precise that the moon covers the sun perfectly giving us on earth a stunning view of the corona. If the moon was slightly larger or smaller this would not be possible. Thanks to this view of the corona, scientists are able to use the spectra to uncover the chemistry of the sun. Thus, earth is placed in a prime position in our solar system to make scientific observations about our home star.

And not only is earth placed in a prime position for scientific discovery but also for life itself. Indeed, earth is a unique planet in our solar system as it happens to be at precisely the correct distance from the sun to provide just the right amount of heat and light needed for life. Astronomers refer to this area around a star where life could exist as the goldilocks zone. Even the sun itself has prime placement in the universe. Scientists have recently discovered that our star happens to be in a location within our galaxy which actually makes scientific discovery possible. In fact, if the sun were closer to the centre of the Milky Way, or if it were further out, we would not be able to view the stars and it would create many problems.

Despite the claims of Sagan and many others, our placement in the universe is by no means “insignificant”. The fact is it is our very placement which allows us to make scientific observations in the first place. While a privileged position in the universe does not fit well with a naturalistic worldview, it is precisely what would be expected if the universe were the result of a wise and intelligent Creator. Of no insignificance, the Bible promotes earth as the “main stage” of the universe. Notice that out of the six days of creation five were spent on preparing the earth. Additionally, Jesus Christ came only to Earth to “save us from ourselves”. Thus, Sagan was wrong on both counts. The earth, through indeed a small speck, is extremely unique and those who have put their trust in Jesus Christ certainly will be saved from the coming wrath.

Ryan Hembree is a daily co-host, speaker, and writer of Bible Discovery. He also hosts a YouTube channel that shows the unity of the Bible and how science and Scripture fit together. Ryan also has an honorary Masters of Ministry in Creation Science from Phoenix University of Theology.

[1] Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space.
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  1. I was amazed by the first lines in Genesis, in relation to time, space and matter. In the beginning (time), God created the heavens (space) and the earth (matter). I cannot stop thinking about it. I enjoy Bible Discovery, it’s uplifting, encouraging, very interesting and I appreciate what the Hembree family shares with the viewers so that we may understand what God is telling us. Thank you all so much. The information about the “Pale Blue Dot” was quite interesting. I really got a kick out of that. Thanks again and keep up the good work. Blessings to all.