Created: September 9, 2015
April-June 2017 - ReWrite

The Creation Narrative of Science and the Bible

Dr. David C. Bossard

Dr. David C. Bossard
Biographical Information

Preparation of a Haven For Life
Creation Day Two

The solar system had to have many specific physical features in order to be a host for living species. Here are the first requirements.

(1) The solar system is near the co-rotation radiusV.01 of the Milky Way galaxy. At this distance from the center of the Milky Way, the Solar System is protected from collisions with nearby stars. This placement avoids passing the solar system through the dense arms of the solar system for the billions of years needed to prepare the earth to host higher forms of life.

(2) The earth's orbit must remain in the habitable zone of the sun.
The habitable zone is defined as the distance from the sun that will have liquid water temperatures—the ambient surface temperature must be between freezing (0°C) and boiling (100°C), roughly between Venus and Mars, with Earth situated about midway within this zone.

In particular, the earth must remain within this zone throughout the entire time required to fit the earth to support advanced life. This time must be on the order of billions of years (for reasons that will be explained below), which is such a long time that there is no mathematical way to ensure or demonstrate such a high level of stability (See the following sharp point).

The Needed Stability of Earth's Orbit

The creation of life required that the Earth remain habitable for billions of years. Why this long time? One reason is that the production of fixed nitrogen using the nitrogenase molecule is a very slow process (see comments below), and a large supply of fixed nitrogen is required for all advanced life. Only sun-like hydrogen-burning stars have lives on the order of billions of years.V.04

The remarkable stability of the earth's orbit over billions of years cannot be explained by any mathematical demonstration. Newton himself, the first to describe the planetary orbits in exact mathematical form, wrote about his puzzlement in the Principia, his seminal work on gravity.

The problem that he saw is that the planets form a many-body system orbiting the sun, and the orbits of such a system, are chaotic; that is, very minor perturbations in the orbits can result in long-term instability. This phenomenon is sometimes called the Butterfly Effect. Newton concluded that God had to tweak the earth's orbit from time to time to keep it in a stable orbit.V.02

About 100 years after Newton, a French mathematician Laplace wrote a book, Celestial Mechanics, in which he claimed to prove that the earth's orbit was stable. There is a famous exchange with Napoleon in which he asserted that he "had no need for that hypothesis", meaning Newton's remark about God's tweaking. However Laplace was wrong, and there is no known way to prove the stability for Earth's orbit for billions of years, which in fact was needed to provide a place for advanced life (as will be seen below). At present, the limits of provable stability are on the order of 100 million years, too short by a factor of 10.

To put it another way, the long-term stability of Earth's orbit for billions of years depends critically on the precise value of the gravitational constant—far more than can be computed by today's science (six significant figures).

(3) Within the habitable zone shields
are needed to protect life on the surface of the earth. The habitable zone places the earth too close to the sun. As a result the earth is subject to sterilzing hard alpha (charged) and gamma (uncharged) rays and coronal mass ejections from the sun as well as from outer space. The only solution is to place shields around the earth to protect it from this bombardment.

These shields are the specific subject of CNB, Day Two:

6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

The "firmament" in Day Two is a shield or fence between inner space and outer space. It is a protection of the Earth from the rest of the universe, so that the project of life can proceed. Proverbs 8:27 describes it as "he drew a circle" (ESV) or "he set a compass" (KJV) on the face of the deep – literally "encircling" or "encompassing"; i.e. placing a fence: the same Hebrew word chuwg can be a noun or verb.

No life could exist without an effective protection from outer space: a shield is an absolute necessity.  In Hebrew, this shield is called the raqia, a word derived from an ancient meaning of "expanse" or "covering"—i.e. a shield. The word does not include the concept of solidity. That is an ancient addition that was inserted when the Hebrew was translated into the Greek Septuagint by the most advanced scientists of the ancient world. The best science of the day recognized the need for a separation of inner and outer space. They figured this must mean a something solid. So the translation of the Hebrew raqia into the Greek stereoma, and the Latin firmamentum seemed to these early scholars as simply expressing the obvious fact that the raqia had to be a concrete, solid entity to shield the earth.

However the Hebrews made no such presumption of solidity—as is evident in the fact that later in the same creation account, Genesis 1:20 says that fowl fly above the earth in the open firmament, using the same word raqia.V.03

A shield is absolutely necessary to protect inner space, but this shield is not solid; in fact multiple shields exist, each essential to the existence of advanced life on earth: Examples: a magnetic shield to deflect high-energy charged rays and solar mass ejections of plasma (see the box below)

In the case of any "habitable zone" surrounding a star, these shields against high energy particles (charged and neutral) are needed because this zone is necessarily too close to the star: all life exposed to these rays would be killed without the shield. This need for a shield is why animal life began in water, before the shields were fully built: the water itself provides an effective shield a Life on land and in the air had to wait until the ozone shield was in place some 100 million years later (around 400 Million years ago).

Note that the ozone shield is neither solid nor visible, so early man, however "scientific" could not know about it.

Shields between inner and outer space (Day Two)

A number of shields are needed to protect inner-space life from outer space. The most important are:

• The Magnetosphere surrounding the earth which deflects charged rays (hard alpha (+) and beta (-) rays) from outer space, and also the periodic (charged) coronal mass ejections of  plasma from the sun's surface which may flood over the earth during solar storms that occur  in the direction of earth.

Magnetosphere shield surrounding Earth

• The ozone shield also protects the earth from hard (uncharged) gamma rays that come from the nuclear fusion within the sun and from outer space. This shield was effective around 400 million years ago, which marked the first movement of life from the oceans to land and the air.

• The massive outer planets also deflect many large space objects that might otherwise cause catastrophic collisions with the earth. A recent example is the 1994 Shoemaker-Levy comet which Jupiter swept up.


[*fn]V.01 Co-rotation Radius.
See Rich Deem, The Incredible Design of the Earth and Our Solar System for a number of remarkable features about the Sun and Earth, including placement of the solar system near the co-rotation radius of the Milky Way galaxy. "The Sun and our Solar System have been located in a stable orbit within our galaxy for the last 4.5 billion years. This orbit lies far from the center of our galaxy and between the spiral arms. The stability of our position is possible because the sun is one of the rare stars that lies within the 'galactic co-rotation radius.' Typically, the stars in our galaxy orbit the center of the galaxy at a rate that differs from the rate of the trailing spiral arms. Thus, most stars located between spiral arms do not remain there for long, but would eventually pass through a spiral arm, in which star density and likelihood of collision is much higher. The Solar System is removed from these more densely occupied areas which can lead to disruption of planetary orbits... The 4+ billion year longevity of life on earth (the time needed to prepare the planet for human occupation) would not have been possible at most other locations in our galaxy." See also Preben Grosbol, et al, Spiral Structure in the Milky Way: Confronting Observations and Theory(2010) on the co-rotation radius "just outside the Sun".

[*fn]V.02 Many-body problem. 
The difficulty is the so-called "Many-body problem". Systems of more than two objects (such as the sun and multiple orbiting planets) are inherently unstable, because minor influences can cause unpredictable long-term effects, popularly called the Butterfly Effect. Even the round-off error in the known physical parameters (gravitational force, etc.) can result in unknown behavior in the long run. The present known accuracy of the gravitational constant is known to about six significant figures, which can ensure stability only for about 100 million years. Wikipedia notes "The gravitational constant is a physical constant that is difficult to measure with high accuracy. This is because the gravitational force is extremely weak compared with other fundamental forces."

Isaac Newton noted this stability problem and concluded that God had to "tweak" the orbits from time to time. (See Note 25 of CNS). A century later the mathematician LaPlace claimed to prove the stability of the earth's orbit, in his famous (and erroneous) remark "I have no need for that hypothesis," referring to the necessity for God's stabilizing the earth's orbit. However LaPlace was in error, as is acknowledged by later mathematicians. Modern computations cannot predict stability of the earth's orbit beyond about 100 million years, much less than the required billions of years.

[*fn]V.03 The so-called Hebrew Cosmology is a modern invention which purports to describe a cosmological construct something like the Egyptian depictions which survive on ancient monuments. There is no such ancient monument to support such a supposed "Hebrew cosmology." Indeed it is unlikely that such a cosmology would have been formulated. The ancient Hebrews were peculiarly uninterested in such myths.

[*fn]V.04 The following chart from
B2FH shows that only Hydrogen-burning stars have lives on the order of billions of years.

Timescale for star burning (From B2FH)

V.05 [*fn]V.05 Note for V.05

V.06 [*fn]V.06 Note for V.06

V.07 [*fn]V.07 Note for V.07

V.08 [*fn]V.08 Note for V.08

V.09 [*fn]V.09 Note for V.09

V.10 [*fn]V.10 Note for V.10

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