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Feedback archiveFeedback 2014

Why so many planets?

Can populated planets arise by chance, and are empty planets a waste of space?

Published: 18 January 2014 (GMT+10)

Mihai A. from Romania asks us to address his concerns about the huge number of planets in the universe and their implications for biblical creation:

NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC-Caltech)

Hello, I was raised as an Orthodox Christian and both my father and my grandfather were very devout believers. They have taken me to church since I was very little. However, I started questioning the existence of God for several years now. I appreciate very much what your website does and that it provides a bridge between science and God that nobody actually teaches you in school. And it brought a little faith back.
However, one of the topics I have the biggest problem with is cosmology. Evolution seems like a longshot, but there are so many planets in the Universe that we might actually be the result of a lucky shot.
And if all these planets exist just because we have a creative Designer, why would this Designer waste all the space for only ONE planet.
I would welcome the prospect of aliens being true, it would make more sense that God created more living planets than just to waste all the space for us. The question WHY must be applied to space too.
Thank you,

CMI’s Keaton Halley responds:

Hi Mihai,

Thanks for the kind words. Glad our site has been helpful to you, and I hope you will see that there are good answers to your cosmological concerns as well.

Before I address those questions, however, let me encourage you to keep them in proper perspective. What I mean is, we have good reasons from many other fields to believe in the God of Scripture. As we’ve written about on, there is powerful evidence for God from the universe’s finite past, the genetic information present in living things, the realm of moral obligations, the accuracy of Scripture, and much more. See also The Creation Answers Book, chapter 1.

Secular astronomers are desperately searching for earth-like planets, but so far have come up empty.

Against that backdrop, let’s examine your specific concerns. First, you say that we might result from “a lucky shot” because there are so many planets in the universe. Well, have you considered how many factors need to be in place before a planet can be suitable for life? For starters, a life-friendly planet must orbit a very stable star, have a nearly circular orbit in the ‘just right’ Goldilocks zone, be a terrestrial planet made of rare heavy elements, contain liquid water, possess a large moon to circulate water in its oceans, be protected from impacts by large outer planets, have a protective atmosphere with the right chemistry, be shielded from solar wind by a strong magnetic field, etc. See Did life come to Earth from outer space? Secular astronomers are desperately searching for earth-like planets, but so far have come up empty. And calculations of the chance of getting all these factors in one place suggest that if a particular galaxy came about by chance it would almost certainly not contain any habitable planets. So, you might say that taking into account all these conditions that are necessary for life is akin to visiting Oz; you are likely to conclude that there’s no place like home.

Of course, since the universe contains trillions of galaxies, one could still speculate that there might be rare habitable planets out there somewhere—except that we have not yet considered the problems with forming all these astronomical bodies naturalistically. It turns out that evolutionary astronomers have to invoke countless freak accidents to explain the existence of various astronomical bodies. For example, see Cosmic catastrophes, Earth is ‘too special’?, Solar system origin: Nebular hypothesis, and Problems for ‘giant impact’ origin of moon. With these problems factored in, I think we can definitively say that we are not the result of “a lucky shot”.

But there’s more. It also appears that the same conditions that are conducive to life are also conducive to making scientific discoveries. This is the thesis of a book called The Privileged Planet, which was not written by young-earth creationists, and yet much of the book’s content can be adapted into a biblical, young-earth framework. An example would be that the combination of gases in Earth’s atmosphere is not only optimal for sustaining life, but also happens to be transparent—allowing us to peer out into the universe beyond. The remarkable correlation of so many factors like this suggests that our local cosmic neighborhood was not the result of chance, but design.

It’s no harder for an omnipotent God to make a big universe than a small one.

And that’s not all. There are other factors governing the entire universe which have to be just so in order for life to exist anywhere, like the strength of the gravitational force or the electron to proton mass ratio. See The universe is finely tuned for life and Multiverse theory.

Finally, even if habitable planets could arise by chance, and even if they were ubiquitous throughout the universe, that still would not imply that “we” human beings got here by chance. Just because a planet is habitable doesn’t mean it’s inhabited. Many secular astronomers seem to think that if we find a planet with liquid water, then it will also, by chance, contain life. But the recipe for life is more complicated than: “just add water”. See Origin of life: An explanation of what is needed for abiogenesis. Plus, there are many other insurmountable hurdles to the idea that humans evolved from simpler life forms. See, for example, Plant geneticist: ‘Darwinian evolution is impossible’. So, in sum, our existence is much better interpreted as the product of intelligent agency, not a cosmic lottery.

As for your question about why God would create such a big universe, keep in mind that it’s no harder for an omnipotent God to make a big universe than a small one. God could have many reasons for making a big universe, like giving us much to explore and discover, or emphasizing His power and majesty (Psalm 19:1). It’s actually quite presumptuous to claim that, if the rest of the cosmos is uninhabited, then it exists for no reason or is a waste of space. We simply aren’t in a position to know all of God’s purposes (Deuteronomy 29:29; Job 42:3; Ecclesiastes 3:11), so even if we can’t immediately identify one, that doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist. For more on this, see Did God create life on other planets?, which also explains why the presence of intelligent ETs would be inconsistent with Bible’s big picture.

I hope this is helpful to you, Mihai. Please explore the links for the details. And next time you write in be sure to search the site first because, as you can see, we already have a lot of published materials that address these questions.

I will say a prayer for you right now, that God will help you to trust fully in Him, and I wish you the best.

In Christ,

Keaton Halley

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Readers’ comments
Alex W., Australia, 28 January 2014

I don't think anyone has yet mentioned love. When you come to know God's special love for just you, then you begin to see all things in a new light. And when you come to know all things (1 Cor 13:12) the creation will indeed display God's eternal power and divine nature in fullness according to His word (Rom 1:20). Nothing is wasted, apart from the lives of those who refuse to believe what God says.

Trevor B., Australia, 28 January 2014

Thanks Keaton for an informative article. I have never considered our immensely large universe to be wasted space. After all, the evidence shows that our universe has a certain size and mass. If the universe is finite, then compared to infinity it is infinitely small! I believe that God made the universe the size it is for a reason. Maybe one day science may show why it had to be the size it is, or perhaps we will never know? I don’t see this as a barrier to faith since any claim of waste etc. is just coming from our insufficient knowledge.

James T., United States, 23 January 2014

I have to ask.If there is no life on other planets out there,then would this mean that God exists?I mean i herd some atheists argue that even if earth was the only planet with life on it.It would not mean God exists.If true then i think that it would beg the question about whether evolution happened or not because i would think that evolution would work on planets[if there are any like ours.]that are like earth.

Keaton Halley responds

It's not so much the lack of life elsewhere in the universe that points to God, but the presence of life anywhere against all odds, plus the fact that the conditions which allow for our existence also permit us to gain knowledge about the world around us—an unlikely coincidence.

Note, Seth Shostak of SETI believes in ETs because "To believe that they don’t exist requires positing that what’s happened on Earth is some sort of miracle." See ET vs 'Miracle'. And co-discoverer of DNA, Francis Crick, says that "the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going." See Designed by aliens?

Evolutionists who think you can have life on this planet without God should answer our 15 Questions for Evolutionists.

Guy G., United States, 22 January 2014

As a practicing doctor, I guess I question the existence of extra-solar system planets. The last time I checked, the only star whose "disc" we've actuallyseen is our sun; the existence of these planets is a step of faith based on observed "wobbles" and eclipses. But these observations are all at great distances. For me, it's like trying to study an infection through a telescope across a football field. And the further step of faith suggesting one of these is possibly similar to earth, well, it's a good bedtime story, that's all. Because I know just how difficult good observational science is, I find this aspect of astronomy to be another excellent example of extremes evo's go to avoid the reality of our God.

Keaton Halley responds

Here's a link to more information about the evidence for extrasolar planets so people can decide for themselves.

Cg A., United States, 21 January 2014

The question was asked: " ...if all these planets exist just because we have a creative Designer, why would this Designer waste all the space for only ONE planet?"

The short answer is: "He Didn't."

The longer answer comes from Scripture. The real reasons why God may have set out the other planets in our Solar System is found in Genesis 1:14 "14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years."

The Sun, planets, moons and comets perform according to this verse. Understanding and believing this verse is the explanation the Bible offers as to the function of all the planets which to us appear to be lights in the heavens.

Now then, is there only one Earth in all of Creation?

What if God created a million other planets in environments favorable to carbon based lifeforms. The real question isn't 'Why?' but 'Why NOT?'

Just because the descendants of Adam failed does NOT mean God just decided to 'forget it'. It was man's sin that brought ruin to the Earth. God just cleaned up the mess.

Would God repeat this process every time he made a new habitable planet somewhere in the Universe? My guess is no. God does not rely on chance and evolution to Create. There could be millions of other, precisely designed, Earth-like planets in our Universe with carbon-based life, or other life forms inhabiting them in sinless peace, love and harmony... just like the Earth will be when Christ returns to rule.

I mean, "What if Adam had been Jesus?" The Earth would have started out and ended up the same way. A perfect place for all of us to live in. That was not God's plan for the Earth and we Earthlings but is that plan applied to all of the Universe

Come Lord Jesus.

Keaton Halley responds

Not sure I follow everything you're saying here, but I don't think that there could be ETs out there living in "sinless peace". The Fall impacted all of creation as explained in The Fall: a cosmic catastrophe, and see Did God create life on other planets?

Dean M., United States, 21 January 2014

I always like to bring up the opposite scenario to people who use the vast expanse and seemingly infinite number of celestial bodies as a reason to doubt God's existence and the special-ness of our existence.

Suppose God had created the world in a bubble where nothing existed beyond it? Then the doubters would be questioning God's existence because any true God would have more power and imagination than to create such a limited creation!

Pete M., United Kingdom, 20 January 2014

Hi, It wouldn't surprise me to find out that the whole universe had some part to play in the day to day running of planet earth!!

Jeff C., United States, 20 January 2014

The Bible, when it was written, was not written in English. The word translated 'day' is the Hebrew word 'yom'. 'Yom' can mean a literal 24 hour day, or a little longer period of time, or a very long period of time. According to what we see in the universe, it must mean the third of those definitions. But, you might say, God just made the universe look this way. But the Bible says, "God is a God of order." Also, the farther out into space we look, the farther back into time we are looking. Scientists can see and have published information about the state of the universe fractions of a second after the big bang. Let me tell you how creation took place: "At the beginning, God said, 'Let there be light!' BOOM! The big bang occurred. Then, God waited for billions of years, as and while the universe cooled and expanded. Then, about 4.6 billion years ago, God allowed the expansion of the Big Bang to begin the formation of the Milky Way galaxy, after the Big Bang had already begun the formation of the galaxies closer to the event horizon of the Big Bang. Then, about 6000 years ago, God personally made mankind on the earth. The rest is history.

Keaton Halley responds

Hi again, Jeff. You've made a number of claims here, but not really backed them up with arguments. Also, you've set up some straw men about the Bible being written originally in English and God making the universe to look old—things we do not believe. How about interacting with the many articles we have published which refute your claims? For example, you say that the days in Genesis 1 must be very long periods of time, but can you explain what's wrong with our exegesis in Did God really take six days? You say that the universe looks old, but see The earth: how old does it look? You say that mankind appeared after billions of years, but then why did Jesus say mankind was present from the beginning of creation? You want to tell us "how creation took place", but why not allow God to tell you how creation took place?

Mark M., United States, 19 January 2014

The fact that there are other planets (worlds) out there is not surprising given Hebrews 1:2 (KJV) where it says that God "Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds." It's almost a footnote like that in Genesis 1:16 "...he made the stars also." Given that the original plan did not involve death, if everything had gone one the way it was supposed to, with people living forever, and having children, with no limit on the reproductive years of anyone, eventually this planet would have filled up and others would have to be colonized. Mankind would have spread out across the galaxy and the universe. But the fall of man happened instead, sin and death became the norm, and the original plan put on hold. this world was cursed (Gen. 3:17) and "...the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now." Romans 8:22. Presumably this includes all the other worlds out there. Perhaps some are still inhabitable given what they may have originally been meant for; perhaps they became inhospitable after the fall. God, no doubt, did not want man in his fallen condition, spreading beyond Earth. When all is remade in the future, and death is no more, we will no doubt see this all occur as it was meant to.

Keaton Halley responds

For what it's worth, I do not think "worlds" in Hebrews 1:2, refers to planets. The Greek word is aionas, which means "ages". The same word is used in Hebrews 11:3, and in both cases it refers to God creating all of history, including the stuff that exists during that history.

T. L., United States, 19 January 2014

Very good arguments why a god could be involved in the creation of earth. It is amazing how at least one of the millions of known planets could produce life forms. But what is even more amazing to me is that a super intelligent being (God) could be in existence before all other life existed. I guess I'm an evolutionist. To my way of thinking God could not exist before any other thing.

Yes, life will always be a mystery.

Keaton Halley responds

Thanks for weighing in. Of course, we do not think the planet produced life forms, God did. See Origin of Life. Also, I strongly encourage you to read If God created the universe, then who created God?. It makes sense to believe that God was here 'before' the universe, since He is eternal, while the universe cannot have existed from eternity past.

Dragan A., Australia, 19 January 2014

A belief in god is seen by the atheist as irrational and no explanation at all. Often there is a condescending 'you may as well believe in the tooth fairy' Surely there a a few facts we can agree on! multiverses,one dimensional strings existing in 15 different dimensions,space /time/all matter and energy exploding from nothing! These scientific principles need not have there origins in a laboratory but could easily have been postulated at the local pub. Infinite universes...I mean seriously ? Let us agree that in a godless universe,we are chemical and chemicals only,life has no purpose,molecules don't care how they got here,the universe is a canvas of indifference.There is nothing to celebrate here.The fact that we strive to find meaning,the fact that there is consciousness in the universe is God staring at us.If he is not, then don't worry about cosmology it really doesn't matter! Science is not an atheist and with god the study of science becomes relevant.

Judie S., Australia, 19 January 2014

It's been mentioned before, but in different words.

Someone once used a similar argument when speaking to me. My answer was, roughly, "The difference between God & a man is infinite, the difference between God & an electron is infinite, the difference between God & the universe is also infinite. You think the universe is too big? I think your idea of God is too small."

Brenden W., Australia, 19 January 2014

Thanks so much CMI for your thought provoking articles. I have also pondered this question, although we cannot know for sure, I believe we have a glimpse of what could have been had not sin entered creation. Think about it no death while being fruitful and multiplying, our numbers would eventually increase and we would need a lot of room. Also we have only about 80 odd years to gain knowledge, imagine the knowledge Adam and the earlier people would have amassed by now if they were still alive, I believe in our pre fallen state we would have already been on our way to settling the moon or even mars and its only been 6700 years also we still would be in direct fellowship with God whom I am sure would have been only to happy to help.This is all speculation of course but worth thinking about. God bless you all and thanks again.

John S., United States, 19 January 2014

There is a logical problem with the idea that life on earth was from space (as opposed to life being created here). The problem is the origin of the non-terra life. Where did it come from? Who created it out there?

Keaton Halley responds
john P., Australia, 19 January 2014

In his book on the Genesis record, I think it was, Henry Morris speculated that in eternity we may indeed explore the universe and visit other planets. As my boss at work says, God is the inventor of surprise parties so who knows what He has instore for us?

Whether man had space travel in the past-say before the flood, we do not know, but antidiluvians had huge lifespans and great intelligence, and initially while they were believers, their civilisation would have been blessed by God and declined only once the world became filled with violence.

I would say the reason we do not have colonies on the moon or Mars by now is because of a rejection of our Christian heritage in the West. Evolution in all its forms-eg Darwinism, pantheism and so forth, destroys science and the need or will to explore an ordered worls or cosmos. For scientists and others of an evolutionary bent, colonising other moons or planets forces them to be face to face with God's glory, a situation they may not like to be in.

Also, Barry Setterfield had a theory the speed of light has declined from what it was in the past-which is interesting.

One thing is certain, God has wondrous things in store for us in eternity. Seeing He loves us so much He sent Jesus to the cross to take our sins upon Himself, and Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us, we would not have words in our language adequate enough to explain the joy awaiting us.

Keaton Halley responds

On advanced pre-Flood technology, see Computers on the Ark?, and on Barry Setterfield's c-decay theory, see The Creation Answers Book: chapter 5 and Have fundamental constants changed, and what would it prove?.

Jeff C., United States, 19 January 2014

Actually, the reason why the universe is so large is because it had to be so large in order for all of the elements necessary for advanced human life to be created. This is pointed out in the book, "Why the Universe Is the Way It Is" by Dr. Hugh Ross.

Keaton Halley responds

Au contraire, God is perfectly capable of creating human beings and sustaining them in a universe smaller than our own. Dr. Ross' whole argument depends on God being limited to natural processes. For example, Ross assumes carbon atoms can only form inside the furnaces of stars. But why does he think God is unable to supernaturally create them? Dr. Ross starts with the big bang as a given, and does not even consider that God could have created the universe by some other means. Of course, God did not use the big bang since that contradicts what is written in His Word. See Shame on Charisma and Did God use a big bang?.

Bill S., United States, 19 January 2014

One of the problems with finite minds contemplating an infinite God is that we inadvertently use his essential attributes to limit Him. "If He is so big," we think, "then He would have to have made other worlds with life on them, not just one." Okay, then how many would it take? How many worlds with life on them would He have to have made before you would think that was enough for an infinite God? A hundred? A million? You see, it makes no difference. No matter what number you plug in, it is the same as just one, when we are speaking of an infinite and eternal God. There would be the same problem of limitless space still lacking in life-sustaining worlds.

The same is true with time as with space. For a Being who has no beginning or end, today is as close to the beginning as a thousand years ago was, or a million years ago (if there were a million years before God created years.)

We might understandably wonder what God did for entertainment in the eons before He made us a few thousand years ago. We assume He would have had to have made other worlds and other peoples. But in so thinking, we are only expressing our inability to fathom concepts such as eternity and infinity. God would be no more "entertained" or pleased with his handiwork if He made a million inhabited worlds as He is with one. A million worlds would not dent his attention span one iota more.

The Book of Revelation says, "and time shall be no more." There was no such thing as time. Then there was time and then time will cease. An eternal God can do that. Eventually everything will be the eternal present and we will maybe begin to comprehend the meaning of his eternal name, "I AM."

For the present, we can only ponder such things and in pondering them humbly acknowledge our limitations.

Keaton Halley responds

One correction: the phrase "and time shall be no more" actually comes from a hymn: When the Roll is Called Up Yonder. Revelation 10:6 in the KJV does talk about how "there shall be time no longer", but in context it isn't talking about the cessation of time itself. Rather, it means that the time is up for "the mystery of God" to be completed. This can be seen by comparing other translations, which speak of "no more delay".

Paul S., United States, 18 January 2014

I have been a traditional Christian all my life attending one of the most conservative churches. I am also a scientist. I have had experience in biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, and nuclear physics as well as having a thorough understanding of the Bible. I have also done more than a few things in archeology as well as following the latest developments.

Evolution is a theory, science is based on laws. Theories still need to be proven. If you base the world on God's creation you are on solid ground. The theory of evolution has a number of exceptions especially in biology, but also especially in nuclear physics. Just after the turn of the twentieth century Albert Einstein developed the theory of changing energy to mass and the reverse of that. His formulas are good but not perfect. The error is that these reactions are far less that 100% of what is expected. But, if you take evolution to its basis with the big bang theory where did all the energy come from to create the mass that was required to develop the universe. It did not come from nothing. I will believe in creation and everything else that the Bible expounds.

Keaton Halley responds

Thanks for sharing this testimony. I have one point of clarification, though. We recommend against using an idea's status as a "theory" to demote or undermine it. This is because scientists have varying definitions of the word theory, some of which enable them to claim that evolution is both a theory and a fact. See our Bad Arguments page for further explanation.

Carol G., United States, 18 January 2014

Maybe when God saw how quickly man/woman kind were to disobey His ONE rule, He decided NOT to inhabit other planets with them! But then there is the story of Ezekiel and that wheel he saw in the air! My sons asked me about that! I told them with God, all things are possible.

Keaton Halley responds

Be sure to read Did Ezekiel see a UFO? from Gary Bates book, Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection. Or you could read the whole book and then talk with your son about that!

R. K., United States, 18 January 2014

God is so omnipotent that to try and evaluate the reasons he does things makes man think and so expresses through thought God's reasoning power. The universe is vast to enable us to question why it is there. Our imaginations are vast to enable us to question the existence of God. Reasoning is God's way of allowing man to use the mind God gave us in understanding the Bible and expressing why we believe in the things we believe in. A vast universe will keep mankind thinking until the 2nd coming of Jesus so keep questioning and never think you have the true answer for someday God will give us all the answers we seek.

Keaton Halley responds

I'm not sure God gave us imaginations so that we could question his existence, but I do agree that he wants to leave some things mysterious. Other things he has revealed and other things we discover as we go along.

Dave H., United States, 18 January 2014

Just a thought from Isa 9:7: "of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end". I'm speculating here of course, and I'm just a KJV Bible believing country boy, but isn't it possible that not only is the vastness of the universe ("one spoken sentence") for 1) our astonishment at His power, but maybe also 2) for us to expand outward into over the coming millennia. His Kingdom will never end, and I have to wonder if some of us will be assigned to travel all over the vastness of space in His service.

Just thinkin...

cody T., United States, 18 January 2014

Something few consider is that God created that vast Universe out there for us. It is not a waste of space. It's more like a temporarily unoccupied space. Humans, being in our present Fallen state, are relegated to the confines of Earth for a reason. God knows that if humans, as we are now, were able to venture out into the Universe, we would just pollute and corrupt it too. Man would wage wars in space. One can only imagine. Certain set backs throughout history appear to have occurred so that Man did not leap too far technologically (The Black Death, Dark Ages, etc.), or he would have most certainly annihilated himself or done something else stupid.

But, one day, after Christ's return and things are the way they were meant to be in the first place, God will allow us to travel out and the wonders of the Universe will finally be open to us. We will actually be able to go out to other planets and live and spread through the solar system and Universe. They will be habitable. Rather by God's supernatural means or he allows us to do it ourselves (terraforming, if you will), who knows. It's fascinating to think about.

That's what I believe anyway. It isn't a waste of space. The Almighty's ultimate plan has yet to be completed. One day...

Keaton Halley responds

One small point to correct: the Middle Ages weren't so dark. See The biblical roots of modern science.

Steve S., United States, 18 January 2014

Christians have always believed that God likes life, and is very creative, being the Creator. That it would be far harder to explain a barren universe than one teaming with life. Now, that is by creation, not evolution, and we have no firm evidence of alien life at this time, though life certainly can have traveled between Mars, Earth, Europa and Enceladus by natural, local processes.

William B., United States, 18 January 2014

If one is looking at the many planets and stars from only a efficiency perspective it does seem like a waist of time and space. Why not just create earth in a bubble and be done with it? But if you look at it from a creative point of view, an artist's perspective if you will, it is not a waist at all. Creativity is a fun and exciting process. Artists don't just create one master piece and quit. I think of God as the ultimate artist with unlimited time, space and materials. It would not surprise me if we found life on other planets, but I do believe that we humans are the only ones created in God's image through Jesus Christ for a special relationship with God. In this way we are unique from all creation. I think the possibility of life on other planets (how ever remote possibility that would be) would not detract from God's glory or the uniqueness of man kind.

Doug L., United States, 18 January 2014

I really liked this answer to Mihai A.'s question and thought I might add a little to your comment "God could have many reasons for making a big universe, like giving us much to explore and discover."

I look at the vastness of creation, the physical universe, and I believe God created the physical universe to be home for physical beings: us. We were originally created to be immortal and to obtain mastery over the physical universe. It's intuitively obvious to me that this universe was more or less made as our playground and as a blank canvas for us to utilize our God given talents for creativity.

Immortal beings, as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand in the sea, made in the image of God would need a place larger than the Earth in which to work, IMHO. I know there seem to be limitations, based on our contemporary physics, to our ability to travel to the stars. But ... somehow I can't help but believe that all the perceived problems are solvable. At least they would be by minds unhindered by sin, corruption, and short life spans.

So for me, the question as to why the universe is so big is clear: it was made for us to explore, build, and perhaps to engage in stellar and planetary engineering. Maybe there's a little of Douglas Adams in me (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.)

Marc A., South Africa, 18 January 2014

We must be careful to distinguish between a planet being able to support life and being able to create life. You could have billions of planets out there having all the non-life attributes of earth; water, temperature, pressure, gravity and myriad other 'Goldilocks' features we have on earth, perfect for sustaining life. But this would still be totally insignificant. Life is information and design, myriads of precisely specified genetic instructions and the machinery to carry out those instructions. These are things that only come from intelligence and purpose. For life, you need the perfect environment, but more importantly you need an omniscient, omnipotent, intelligent, creative, designer God.

Helen C., Australia, 18 January 2014

First, God spoke all of this into existence and if you consider the projection of droplets from speech then you might imagine the other planets are to God, simply particles. My second explanation for other, yet undeveloped planets is that God never intended Mankind to die, so the other planets were possibly intended for future generations. All I know for for sure is, "my redeemer lives!".

John B., United Kingdom, 18 January 2014

I also have wondered about the size of the universe, the uncountable galaxies,stars and likely planets, habitable or not. When one considers an eternity with God, once we cast off our mortal coils, you have to wonder what we will all be doing for the eternity He has promised us. As well as praising Him, I am sure that we will be in a position to explore the universe and beyond, and this in itself will never end. Whilst as mere mortals on this Earth, we have the privelege of observing our own solar system as well as the immense ness of our galaxy and those beyond our own. This, I believe is God's intention, that we can observe from a distance the amazing things that He has in store for us, as Christians. When we pass from this life to life eternal, we will somehow be able to travel and visit, study, observe and experience any and all of the mysteries of the universe, all of the time giving praise to Him who created all things. No one knows or understands the things that God has in store for those that love Him. The universe belongs to God, and we will be able to share that ownership one day....this is not wishful thinking, this has to be fact, otherwise the universe is an incredible waste. Just imagine for a moment, the unimaginable, there will be no barriers to our exploration of His Heavens, and no risk of death or injury. All Christians that have died, are in Glory now, and many of them will be exploring the wonders of the Universe right now, as we speak. I for one, can't wait to join them!

Mody N., Egypt, 18 January 2014

Thanks for your response , but allow me to remind you that ""plasma life forms"" are life forms made of plasma and plasma as you know is fire , ....

Sure you remember that god created life form called Jinn from fire.

As for the Quran contradicting trinity please note that logic contradics trinity and as such the Quran just declares Truth .

To prove my point would you please explain the following logical facts :

1- Is the divine ousia have an attribute of generating persons , then there are infinite number of persons .

2- If the generation was by the will of one of the persons , then the others are inferior , not divine.

3- when we say A+B+C=group , then A,B,C are

Real entities numbered three while (group) is an abstract concept with no independent reality or existance ....then trinity =Three gods not one

That is why the Quran refutes trinity .

Thanks .

Keaton Halley responds

Thanks for explaining. I suppose I'll leave the Muslims to debate the merits of your connection between Jinn and ETs.

Regarding the Trinity, you appear to have some severe misapprehensions about what it means for God to be triune. Each person in the Trinity is eternal, so none come into being as the result of a prior entity. Also, we believe in 3 persons, not 3 gods, so your A+B+C=group argument contains a bait-and-switch move.

Furthermore, your arguments fail to interact with the articles I linked to, and we're way off topic now, so I will end this exchange here.

Hans-Georg L., France, 18 January 2014

"that wouldn't answer the distant starlight problem"

Geometry and perspective.

My solution means stars can be smaller, thus for same apparent size less distant. Giving less distance for stars to travel and less time if light has a set speed.

Keaton Halley responds

Ah, I see. Well, I'll let readers judge for themselves whether this is the best solution.

Marie A., Canada, 18 January 2014

I am not suggesting that this applies to the writer but it's a cute and maybe pertinent quote that The Berean Call posted. "This is God's universe and He does things His way. Now, you may have a better way of doing things, but you don't have a universe. J. Vernon McGee.

Mike R., United States, 18 January 2014

I have been fascinated with the makeup of creation for some time and one thing really fascinates me! In this article we are looking at the big picture of all these bodies circulating through space but look at how all of this is made of tiny particles. Molecules, atoms, electrons, protons and such that move and rotate and are definitely the work of the same creator who made the universe.

Hans-Georg L., France, 18 January 2014

"As for your question about why God would create such a big universe, keep in mind that it’s no harder for an omnipotent God to make a big universe than a small one."

And no harder to make a small than a big one.

One problem secular astronomers - tied to an atheistic methodology - have with a small universe is that stars smaller than the mass of Jupiter would not have reached the critical mass for Hydrogen to start getting hotter and selfignite into nuclear fusion. The thing with this argument is that if we accept God and angels, there is no need for stars to be big enough to self ignite.

All they need is to have enough Hydrogen to keep a fusion going for the time (7 thousand 2 hundred years and some) that the universe has been a going concern and for the time that remains for it. Getting the fusion started was done by God or by the angel of the star acting on orders of God who made it.

This also disposes of the distant starlight problem.

Keaton Halley responds

If God created the stars with just enough fuel to last thousands of years, that wouldn't answer the distant starlight problem. That challenge has to do with the time it takes light to travel after leaving the star, not how quickly the star itself burns out. But see CMI's Creation Answers Book chapter 5 for our response.

Richard G., Japan, 18 January 2014

God bless you Keaton and Colobourers. Your love in taking the time to respond to this lone person shines through and if he's any "good" he'll see God's love beyond yours looming larger than yours even.

And may he quickly graduate from the theory of cosmology etc to the theophany of soteriology, in short, alliteration's artless aid aside, may he soon start to believe and obey the Lord Jesus Christ, and become useful to man and to God. There's far too much selfishness about us.

Tomislav O., United States, 18 January 2014

I'm skeptical of the Goldilocks hypothesis. Someone gave an example of a hypothetical planet that supposedly `failed' many of the Goldilocks criteria yet could easily evolve with intelligent life:

[Link deleted according to comment rules]

All of this, of course, is hypothetical. But such hypotheticals are necessary, because the imagination of God is far more creative than the imagination of man.

Keaton Halley responds

Thanks, Tomislav. While it may be possible for a hypothetical planet to fail some of the Goldilocks criteria and still be habitable (and I'm not sure that has been demonstrated), I still think enough factors have to be in place that would make habitable planets exceedingly rare in a given galaxy. But also notice that my argument goes beyond the mere rarity of life-permitting conditions coinciding in a local region. It also adds the problems with standard naturalistic explanations for the formation of stars and planets, plus the privileged planet hypothesis about the correlation between habitability and measurability, plus the fine-tuning of the entire universe to permit life, plus all the problems with the spontaneous origin of life and subsequent naturalistic evolution even given a life-permitting planet.

R. D., United Kingdom, 18 January 2014

To your list of quotes from God's Word about humans not being in a position to question God you could add the one which I always use to answer this sort of question, Romans 9:20: "O man, yes yes; you - who are you, the one who is answering back to God?"

The whole of the cosmos was created for God's glory, and the opening line of the 19th Psalm encapsulates this perfectly. Humans are the jewel in the crown, sure, but we are by no means the be-all-and-end-all. There is another Psalm, 147, which assures us that God knows each "star" (and the Hebrew word simply means "bright object in the sky" so this presumably extends to planets, asteroids, meteors and other significant debris as well) individually.

Of course, there's also no good theological reason why God couldn't have created inanimate life on other planets. Intelligent life elsewhere is, naturally, ruled-out. But there are countless potential reasons for the rest of the cosmos outside our Solar System.

And remember, the vast majority of the cosmos consists of the intergalactic void; the vast majority of all galaxies is interstellar voids; and stellar systems are almost all taken-up by interplanetary voids! So most of the cosmos is empty of matter anyway. What a waste of space eh? Yet I'm quite sure that the distribution of all matter is an intricate arrangement of portions which we've only just begun to detect to date. Our Father has a way of keeping on surprising us. :)

Keaton Halley responds

Thanks for these thoughts. I would just add that although I wouldn't completely rule out 'simple' life on other planets, I would be surprised if such were the case given that God's creative activity during creation week is so focused on the earth, setting up the biosphere as a place for mankind to have dominion, while He creates all the stars on a single day and mentions a different purpose for them. Much of the hype surrounding speculation about even microbial life out in space is derived from evolutionary assumptions. See the sidebar in Did God create life on other planets?

Mody N., Egypt, 17 January 2014

Would you please be fair enough to mention that the Quran declared that there are living creatures other than the earthlings ....

This explains the wisdom of God in creating so many planets taking in consideration that carbon life form is NOT the only one possible as the Quran mentioned the Plasma life forms .

Is it possible that being really fair would result in publishing this facts .

Keaton Halley responds

I wish you had cited the passage(s) you are referring to. I have read the Qur'an but I don't remember any reference to "plasma life forms." In any case, we do not believe the Qur'an is inspired by God because it contradicts the true Word of God at many points, like the biblical teaching on the Trinity. Also see The Koran vs. Genesis.

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