This article is from
Creation 44(4):54–55, October 2022

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Earth’s design for life

A systems engineering masterpiece


© Pop Nukoonrat | Dreamstime.comEngineering-masteroiece

Systems engineering has been recognized for over 60 years as essential to the proper development of complex and complicated man-made systems. It has been applied to a wide range of technological projects involving design, development, construction and maintenance. Examples are automobiles, urban infrastructure, environmental controls, aircraft, spacecraft, software, hardware, and ships. Systems engineering is the discipline that integrates complicated systems, ensures operability, balance and integration, and defines systems success.

Systems engineers are often the technical leaders for vast and complex projects. They develop the concept, architecture, and intricate design of the system. They also evaluate and manage complexity and stability. Systems engineers determine how to assess whether a system is functioning as designed. They are also in control of the myriad of other facets of system creation.

Systems engineering concepts and practices are used in nearly all complex projects. The success of newly-launched systems can invariably be traced to innovative and effective systems engineering.

Our engineered system

One example of a complex system that clearly displays the hallmarks of skilled systems engineering is that of planet Earth and its external support systems (the sun, our galaxy, our moon, etc.). It is beautifully designed, optimally positioned within the solar system, and intricately balanced to enable and sustain life.

System Earth has all the tailor-made features researchers have determined are necessary for a planet to be capable of supporting living things. Scientists have long identified more than 250 optimized design requirements a planet must have for this. These include a robust and customized atmosphere, appropriate quantities of water in its various phased states (ice, liquid, and vapour), an ideal range of surface temperatures, and a period of rotation on its axis that is finely tuned.1

The fact that System Earth has these (and more!) design elements essential for life suggests it is a systems engineering marvel, one that shows all the hallmarks of incredible intelligence. For instance, the range of colour a star emits depends on its mass. In the case of our sun, this was carefully engineered to ensure the colour of its light is in the right range. If it were shifted more toward the red or more toward the blue, the photosynthetic reaction, needed to allow plants to grow and produce food as well as lifegiving oxygen, would be less efficient.

Also, if the sun were more massive, the high-energy radiation would increase to overwhelm the defensive shield in place (Earth’s magnetosphere2). This would be directly harmful to life, and would in addition strip away our atmosphere.

On the other hand, stars of very low mass are very unstable, and often emit flares that would strip the atmosphere of any planet close enough to be habitable. For a star of its particular size, the sun is actually exceptionally stable.3

For any star like our sun, there is only a limited range of distances from it within which an orbiting planet could potentially be habitable. If the sun were significantly less massive, that range would become too narrow. Also, any planet within the closeness required would suffer ‘tidal locking’ (from the force of gravity between it and the sun), meaning that one side of it would be ‘locked’ into continually facing the sun. This would mean boiling temperatures on one side of the planet, and freezing temperatures on the other.

The earth’s distance from the sun also appears precisely measured for a stable water cycle. If the earth were too far away, most water would freeze. If the earth were too close, most water would boil. Furthermore, the earth’s rotation period, axial tilt, magnetic field, crust thickness, and the amounts and proportions of atmospheric oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide all show signs of conforming to the appropriate specifications, set in advance. So too does the system that ensures that, high in the atmosphere, the balance between ozone’s formation and its destruction ends up with the amount needed to protect life on the surface from destructive ultraviolet rays.4

Surpassing capabilities

According to industry, the qualities of a good (human) systems engineer include patience and perseverance, an analytical intellect, strong organizational skills, being detail-oriented, having the ability to see the big picture, being knowledgeable over many disciplines, having excellent communication capacity, and the ability to lead. So it’s no surprise that our divine Systems Engineer, who reveals Himself as all-knowing and all-powerful, clearly surpasses all these human capabilities.

System Earth, despite groaning under the effects of the Fall (Genesis 3) was obviously created perfect for its purpose. It was made to be a home for humanity, along with our biological ‘support system’, the plants and animals. A perfect Earth reflects a perfect Creator, Jesus Christ, God the Son, the second Person of the Godhead. He designed and maintains Earth specifically for life, in order for His purposes to be fulfilled:

“All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3).


With God in the design seat, as Earth’s composition reflects, we have nothing to fear if our faith is in Him. If we are in Christ, we possess hope. We can be assured that our existence is not some cosmic coincidence; it was purposed and planned by our divine Creator.

Posted on homepage: 18 March 2024

References and notes

  1. Barrow, J. and Tipler, F., The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, Oxford University Press, 1988. Return to text.
  2. Corrado, J., The magnetosphere: An invisible shield that makes life on Earth possible, Creation 44(2):46–48, 2022; creation.com/magnetosphere. Return to text.
  3. Sarfati, J., The sun, our special star, Creation 22(1):27–31, 1999; creation.com/sun. Return to text.
  4. For a detailed outline, see Gonzalez, G. and Richards, J., The Privileged Planet, Regency Publishing, 2004. Return to text.

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