Genesis Chapter 1: God – The “When” of Creation -God and the Earth Part 5

The Heavens and the Earth

 

 

Heaven

(1.) Definitions., The phrase “heaven and earth” is used to indicate the whole universe (Gen_1:1; Jer_23:24; Act_17:24). According to the Jewish notion there were three heavens,

2. There are three heavens mentioned in the Bible.

(a) The fist heaven or The firmament, as “fowls of the heaven” (Gen_2:19; Gen_7:3, Gen_7:23; Psa_8:8, etc.), “the eagles of heaven”

This heaven is described as the home of the birds and clouds – Daniel 4:12

(b) The second heaven or The starry heavens (Deu_17:3; Jer_8:2; Mat_24:29).

This heaven is described as the home of the sun, moon, and stars – Psalm 19:1

(c) The third heaven or The heaven of heavens (Deu_10:14; 1Ki_8:27; Psa_115:16; Psa_148:4; 2Co_12:2).

This heaven is described as the home of the angels or departed saints. – 2 Corinth 12:2

 

The usual Hebrew word for “heavens” is shamayim, a plural form meaning “heights,” “elevations” “Over there”

(Gen_1:1; Gen_2:1).

 

It simply states that God created “The down here and the up there”

 

Jer 23:24  Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.

 

Act 17:24  God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

 

The Solar system

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

 

The solar system comprises the Sun and the retinue of celestial objects gravitationally bound to it: nine planets and their 158 currently known moons, as well as asteroids, meteoroids, planetoids, comets, and interplanetary dust. Astronomers are debating the classification of a potential tenth planet and other trans-Neptunian objects.

The principal component of the solar system is the Sun (astronomical symbol ☉); a main sequence G2 star that contains 99.86% of the system’s known mass and dominates it gravitationally. Because of its large mass, the Sun has an interior density high enough to sustain nuclear fusion, releasing enormous amounts of energy, most of which is radiated into space in the form of electromagnetic radiation, including visible light. The Sun’s two largest orbiting bodies, Jupiter and Saturn, together account for more than 90% of the system’s remaining mass. (The Oort cloud too might hold a substantial percentage, but as yet its existence is unconfirmed). [1]

In broad terms, the charted regions of the solar system consist of the Sun, four rocky bodies close to it called the terrestrial planets, an inner belt of rocky asteroids, four gas giant planets, and an outer belt of small, icy bodies known as the Kuiper belt. One planet, Pluto, is also a member of the Kuiper belt. The major planets are, in order, Mercury (☿), Venus (♀), Earth (♁), Mars (♂), Jupiter (♃), Saturn (♄), Uranus (♅/), Neptune (♆), and Pluto (♇). Many planets have moons orbiting them, and the largest are encircled by planetary rings of dust and other particles. The planets (with the exception of Earth) are named after gods and goddesses from Greco-Roman mythology.

Most objects in orbit round the Sun lie within the same shallow plane, called the ecliptic plane, which is roughly parallel to the Sun’s equator. The major planets, with the exception of Pluto, lie very close to the plane, while comets and kuiper belt objects often lie at extreme angles to it. The majority of solar system objects also orbit in the same direction in which the Sun rotates. Although no major planet’s orbit is a true circle, all save Pluto have roughly circular orbits.

The Sun

The Sun is the solar system’s parent star, and far and away its chief component. It is classed as a moderately large yellow dwarf; however, this name is misleading, as on the scale of stars in our galaxy, the Sun is rather large and bright. The Sun is placed near the middle of the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, but stars larger and hotter than it are rare, whereas stars dimmer and cooler than it are very common. The vast majority of stars are red dwarfs, though their inherent dimness means they are under-represented in star catalogues, as we can observe only those few that are very near the Sun in space.

The Sun lies on the main sequence of the H-R diagram, which means, according to current theories of stellar evolution, that it is in the “prime of life” for a star, in that it has not yet exhausted its store of hydrogen for nuclear fusion, and been forced, as older red giants must, to fuse more inefficient elements such as helium and carbon. The Sun is growing increasingly bright as it ages. Early in its history, it was roughly 75 percent as bright as it is today. Calculations of the ratios of hydrogen and helium within the Sun suggest it is roughly halfway though its life cycle, and will eventually begin moving off the main sequence, becoming larger, brighter and redder, until, about five billion years from now, it too will become a red giant.

The Sun is a population I star, meaning that it is fairly new in galactic terms, having been born in the later stages of the universe’s evolution. As such, it contains far more elements heavier than hydrogen and helium (“metals” in astronomical parlance) than older population II stars such as those found in globular clusters. Since elements heavier than hydrogen and helium were formed in the cores of ancient and exploding stars, the first generation of stars had to die before the universe could become enriched with them. For this reason, the very oldest stars contain very little “metal”, while stars born later have more. This high “metallicity” is thought to have been crucial in the Sun’s developing a planetary system, since planets form from accretion of metals. [3]

 

The heliospheric current sheet

The Sun radiates a continuous stream of charged particles, a plasma known as solar wind, ejecting it outwards at speeds of over 2 million kilometres per hour, creating a very tenuous “atmosphere” (the heliosphere), that permiates the solar system for at least 100 AU. This environment is known as the interplanetary medium. Small quantities of cosmic dust (some of it arguably interstellar in origin) are also present in the interplanetary medium and are responsible for the phenomenon of zodiacal light. The influence of the Sun’s rotating magnetic field on the interplanetary medium creates the largest structure in the solar system, the heliospheric current sheet. [4]

Earth’s magnetic field protects its atmosphere from interacting with the solar wind; however, Venus and Mars do not have magnetic fields, and the solar wind causes their atmospheres to gradually bleed away into space.

The Inner planets

The four inner or terrestrial planets are characterised by their dense, rocky composition, lack of primary atmospheres, and few or no moons or ring systems. They are composed largely of minerals with high melting points such as silicates to form the planets’ solid crusts and semi-liquid mantles, and metallic dust grains such as iron, which forms their cores. All have impact craters and many possess tectonic surface features, such as rift valleys and volcanoes. The term inner planet should not be confused with inferior planet, which designates those planets which are closer to the Sun than the Earth is (i.e. Mercury and Venus).

The four inner planets are:

Mercury

Mercury (0.4 AU), the closest planet to the Sun, is also the smallest and most atypical of the inner planets, having no atmosphere and, to date, no observed geological activity save that produced by impacts. Its relatively large iron core and thin mantle have not yet been adequately explained, though hypotheses include that its outer layers were stripped off by a giant impact, or that it was prevented from fully accreting by the Sun’s gravity. The upcoming MESSENGER probe should aid in resolving this issue.The Romans named the planet after the fleet-footed messenger god Mercury, probably for its fast apparent motion in the twilight sky

 

Venus

0.7 AU), the first truly terrestrial planet, is of comparable mass to the Earth, and, like Earth, possesses a thick silicate mantle around an iron core, as well as a substantial atmosphere and evidence of one-time internal geological activity, such as volcanoes. However, It is much drier than Earth and its atmosphere is 90 times as dense and composed overwhelmingly of carbon dioxide with traces of sulfuric acid. Unlike Earth, Venus’s crust is not divided into tectonic plates but instead comprises a single, very thick rind. Distribution of impact craters suggests that Venus’s surface features are all of the same, relatively young age, suggesting that they are periodically erased by sudden, massive volcanism. However, recent computer remodelling suggests the resurfacing could have been as gradual as 2 billion years. [5] The planet is named after Venus, the Roman goddess of love, and most of its surface features are named after famous and mythological women.

 

Earth and Moon

The largest and densest of the inner planets, Earth (1 AU) is also the only one to demonstrate unequivocal evidence of ongoing geological activity. Its liquid hydrosphere, unique among the terrestrials, is probably the reason why Earth is also the only planet where multi-plate tectonics has been observed, since water acts as a lubricant for subduction. [6] Its atmosphere is radically different from the other terrestrials, having been altered by the presence of life to contain 21 percent free oxygen. Its satellite, the Moon, is sometimes considered a terrestrial planet in a co-orbit with its partner, since its orbit around the Sun never actually loops back on itself when observed from above. [7] The Moon possesses many of the features in common with other terrestrial planets, though it lacks an iron core.

Mars

(1.5 AU), smaller than the Earth or Venus, possesses a tenuous atmosphere of carbon dioxide. Its surface, peppered with vast volcanoes and rift valleys such as Valles Marineris, shows that it was once geologically active and recent evidence[8] suggests this may have been true until very recently. Mars possesses two tiny moons (Deimos and Phobos) thought to be captured asteroids. It is named after Mars, the Roman god of war. Mars is also known as “The Red Planet” due to its reddish nighttime appearance when seen from Earth. The prefix areo-, from the Greek god of war, Ares, refers to Mars in the same way geo- refers to Earth — for example, areology versus geology.

 

Outer planets

The four outer planets, or gas giants, (sometimes called Jovian planets) are so large they collectively make up 99 percent of the mass known to orbit the Sun. Jupiter and Saturn are true giants, at 318 and 95 Earth masses, respectively, and composed largely of hydrogen and helium. Uranus and Neptune are both substantially smaller, being only 14 and 17 Earth masses, respectively. Their atmospheres contain a smaller percentage of hydrogen and helium, and a higher percentage of “ices”, such as water, ammonia and methane. For this reason some astronomers suggested that they belong in their own category, “Uranian planets,” or “ice giants.” The term outer planet should not be confused with superior planet, which designates those planets which lie outside Earth’s orbit (thus consisting of the outer planets plus Mars).

Jupiter

 at 318 Earth masses, is 2.5 times the mass of all the other planets put together. Its composition of largely hydrogen and helium is not very different from that of the Sun. Jupiter’s atmosphere possesses a number of semi-permanent features, such as cloud bands and the great red spot. Three of its 63 satellites, Ganymede, Io and Europa, share elements in common with the terrestrial planets, such as volcanism and internal heating. Jupiter has a faint, smoky ring. Jupiter’s intense gravitational pull attracts many comets, and may have played a role in lowering the number of impacts Earth has experienced in its history.[12] Jupiter has been known since ancient times and is visible to the naked eye in the night sky. The Romans named the planet after the Roman god Jupiter (also called Jove).

Saturn

famous for its extensive ring system, has many qualities in common with Jupiter, including its atmospheric composition, though it is far less massive, being only 95 Earth masses. Two of its 49 moons, Titan and Enceladus, show signs of geological activity, though they are largely made of ice. Titan is the only satellite in the solar system with a substantial atmosphere.It was named after the Roman god Saturn. Its symbol is a stylized representation of the god’s sickle

Uranus

 at 14 Earth masses, is the smallest of the outer planets. Uniquely among the planets, it orbits the Sun on its side; its axial tilt lies at over ninety degrees to the ecliptic. Its core is remarkably cold, radiating almost no heat into space. This has led some to speculate that, unlike the similar Neptune, Uranus is undifferentiated and has no core. The lack of internal heat means that Uranus’s surface features are relatively bland, with little in the way of cloud bands. Uranus has 27 moons, five of which are relatively large, though none show any evidence of geological activity. Its ring system is dark and insubstantial, and composed of sparse fragments larger than 50 m in diameter. It is named after Uranus, the Greek god of the sky and progenitor of the other gods

Neptune

 Neptune is slightly larger than Uranus, at 17 Earth masses, and radiates far more internal heat. Its peculiar ring system is composed of a number of dense “arcs” of material separated by gaps. Neptune’s largest moon, Triton, is geologically active, with geysers of liquid nitrogen. The heat at Neptune’s core drive some of the fastest winds in the solar system. Neptune possesses marked surface features and cloud bands, though they appear far more changeable than those of Jupiter. The planet is named after the Roman god of the sea.

Pluto

the solar system’s smallest planet, is considered to be part of the Kuiper Belt population. In fact more and more astronomers are beginning to believe Pluto should no longer be classified as a planet, but only a Kuiper Belt object because of the fact the there have been objects found larger then Pluto, orbiting further then Pluto. If this is the case then either Pluto should be downgraded from its planet status, or all of these objects need to be classified as planets, such as Sedna- some would argue. If Pluto were placed near the Sun, it would develop a tail, like comets do. Although accepted by the public as a planet since its discovery in 1930, debates about Pluto’s identity within the scientific community are still unresolved. Pluto has a large moon (the largest in the solar system relative to its own size), called Charon, as well as two much smaller moons called Nix and Hydra. Like the Earth/Moon, Pluto and Charon are often considered a double planet. The name retained for the planet is that of the Roman god Pluto, and it is also intended to evoke the initials of the astronomer Percival Lowell, who predicted that a planet would be found beyond Neptune. The name was first suggested by Venetia Phair (née Burney), at the time an eleven-year-old girl from Oxford, England.[2] Over the breakfast table one morning her grandfather, who worked at Oxford University’s Bodleian Library, was reading about the discovery of the new planet in the Times newspaper. He asked his granddaughter to suggest a good name for it. Venetia, who was quite interested in Greek and Roman myths and legends, suggested the name of the Roman god of the underworld.

If these other galaxies are not for our benefit, why did God create them? Why did God create such a large universe? Is there some special purpose for such a large universe or did the blueprint for a quality “Grade A” universe come in only one size?

Before we discovered that the universe was so huge, it was easy for us to think that we were probably alone in the universe. It was easy to think that the few thousand small dots in the sky were only there to provide us light at night. However, when we now see that over 99.999999…% of the universe was not created for “our benefit,” we have to wonder why God made it so large. With a universe this size, it becomes easier to believe that maybe God has other special creations out there. Maybe God has hundreds or even trillions of planets inhabited with life.

If there are other life forms out there, what are they like? What are their levels of intelligence and complexity? Do they have a “soul?” Does God take a personal interest in them like He does with us? If they have sinned, has God provided a special redemption for them like He has for us? Will their “redeemed” spend eternity in the same Heaven with us? Will their “lost” go to our Hell? Will their redeemed have the special privilege of being the “Bride of Christ” along with us?

Obviously, the answers to these questions are beyond our reach. Technology is too limited to verify the existence (or non-existence) of life and the Bible doesn’t even address this subject. Therefore, as I present my view on this subject, keep in mind it is only my opinion and is not Biblical dogma.  Do I believe there is extraterrestrial life on other planets? No. You may be surprised with this answer considering what I have already said. I believe that our tiny insignificant planet is the only planet in this humongous universe that has life. As incredulous and arrogant as this may sound, I believe that God built this humongous universe just for the human creation package.

There are a couple minor reasons why I believe this, but the main reason is the limited time frame God has placed on the universe. It appears that the universe has only been in existence for about 6,000 years and will probably be destroyed in one or two thousand years. This means that the universe will probably not reach the age of 8,000 years. (See footnote #2 below for an explanation on how these figures were derived.)

If the universe has a maximum life of less than 8,000 years, then all of the worlds that it contains will also have a maximum life of less than 8,000 years. As the footnote below shows, God will bring our society to its final culmination just before He ends the universe. Likewise, if there are other worlds out there, God will have to bring their societies to a final culmination before He ends the universe. If you are only talking about a couple planets with life, I can see (statistically) how this might be probable.  Remember, a main argument some Christians have used to support the existence of extraterrestrial life is the “apparent” lack of need for these other galaxies. It is reasoned that if these galaxies have zero impact on us (or on each other) they must have been created to support other creation projects. Therefore, if supporting extraterrestrial life were the only reason for their existence, we would then have to assume that all of these galaxies have planets with life. If all of these galaxies don’t have life, we are back to our original question of, “Why did God create all of these unneeded galaxies?”

Assuming that there is only one planet with life per galaxy, there would be over 100 billion planets with life. If, however, every star in each galaxy has a planet with life, you will have to multiply the above number by at least another 100 billion. It seems very improbable (statistically) that all of these other societies will have their final culmination at the exact same time as us. Our God could do that, of course, but it seems highly unlikely.

If the purpose of this large universe was not to accommodate other life forms, why then did God create it so large? I see four main reasons why God made this universe as large as He did. First, it seems that almost everything God does is a first-class major production. I think God likes creating spectacular and awesome things and He enjoys looking at the finished product.

Second, I think God wanted to give our world a surrounding that has no visible end, a surrounding that seems complete. God could have created our world the same way Hollywood creates a city street for a movie:  Fake fronts on all of the buildings. When you walk down a Hollywood street, you see a city that looks complete. However, when you take a closer look and peek behind the doors and windows, you find that the buildings are not real. I think God wanted to create a surrounding for us that could withstand as much scrutiny as we could give.

Obviously, up until the past couple hundred years, the depth of our scrutiny had not been very deep. However, all of this has changed. We now have technology that allows us to “peek behind the doors and windows” of our surroundings. For example, we used to think that atoms were the smallest building block elements. (Of course, this was after we discovered that “fire, water, wind, and dirt” were not the basic building block elements.)

As technology increased, we discovered that atoms were made up of neutrons, protons, and electrons. Later, we discovered that these small particles were made up of smaller particles called quarks. I personally don’t think we will ever find the smallest building block particles. Likewise, I don’t think we will ever find the final limits of outer space. I believe God knew that we would eventually break out of the shell of our immediate surroundings and He wanted something out there that we could see and explore.

What would have happened if God made our surrounding boundaries much smaller? I’ll try to give you an example. Let’s say that God created a brand new world and populated it with a colony of 1,000 people. These people were placed in the middle of a territory that looked like one of our deserts. As far as they could see in all directions, there was nothing but sand, cactus, rocky hills, etc. Since the only water supply was in the middle of this desert, this primitive community could not travel more than 20 miles in any direction.

A thousand years later the community is still centered around the water supply. The faces have changed and their population has fluctuated, but the community is still tied to their water supply. Then, one day someone discovered that glass can be made by super-heating the desert sand. Before long, large water jugs were made and people began to travel and explore. As people reached distances of 100 miles, they discovered something unusual. They find that the “endless” desert suddenly stops. About 100 miles in all directions from the watering hole they find a gigantic wall surrounding the desert. Since this wall was blue in color, it blended in well with the background. Even the rocky hills suddenly stopped with no back sides to them. Since this wall seemed infinitely tall and indestructible, exploration stopped at this point.

This discovery, of course, would not alter their belief in God. It would not change their life significantly. Life would carry on as usual up to that 100 mile boundary. I do believe, however, that this discovery would be rather confusing and disconcerting. I think they would wonder why God chose to put the boundaries where He did. They would wonder why God put the “end of the world” so easily within their grasp. Somehow their world would probably seem incomplete.

The third reason that I think God created our universe so large was for the sake of those in eternity (both the angels and believers in Heaven). God is obviously mightier, more complex, and more magnificent than the universe He created. This immense universe provides others a tangible glimpse of His greatness and power. It displays His wisdom, majesty, and creativity. Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God.”

The fourth reason I think God created our universe so large was to give those of us on Earth a glimpse of His power and majesty. I think He wanted to demonstrate that He truly is Lord of lords and King of kings. If the universe consisted of only our planet, we would think God was great, but His true greatness would still be hidden from us. Now, that we have a glimpse of the magnitude of the universe, we have a better appreciation of God’s true greatness. We learn more about God as we learn more about His creation. Yet, with all we have seen, I still don’t think we even come close to understanding God’s true magnitude.

As I said before, we were unaware of the immense size of the universe until this last century. Therefore, some people say that this gigantic universe was not created to show us (those here on Earth) His glory. I have two responses to this. First, God’s revelation of Himself is progressive. Mankind has learned more about God as the centuries have unfolded. Moses knew more about God than Abraham. King David knew more than Moses and the Apostle Paul knew more than King David. Therefore, I don’t find it surprising that we know more about God than our predecessors.

My second response is I think God continually reveals more about Himself to keep us humble. As we (mankind) make educational and scientific advances, we begin to get delusions of grandeur. Our “great” technological advances tend to make us proud, arrogant, and overconfident. As we begin to harness incredible powers through technology, we begin to think we can control almost anything. I think God continually reveals more about Himself (through His creation) to help us keep our “great” advances in proper perspective.

Although I do not believe there are other life forms in our universe, I do believe God is currently working on other creation projects. Our God is a creative God and I believe He always has and always will be creating things. I don’t believe, however, that they are part of our realm or dimension. It is quite possible that God is currently working on dozens of other creation projects in other realms.

Obviously, we have no idea how many other realms or dimensions God has created. We shouldn’t be surprised that an Almighty God (a being who has no beginning nor end) would be restricted by our simple four dimensions (height, width, depth, and time). The Bible briefly mentions some of these other realms. For example, we know Heaven and Hell are not part of our realm because they won’t be destroyed when our universe is destroyed.

Heaven and Hell are eternal in nature, whereas our universe is in a continual state of deterioration. When you buy a new car it doesn’t take too many years for entropy (2nd Law of Thermodynamics) to turn it into rust. Even if God doesn’t destroy our universe in a couple thousand years, it would eventually come to an end on its own. Our universe is like a big clock that has been wound up; it will eventually unwind itself.

Angels and demons are creatures of multiple realms. Not only can these beings operate fully in our realm, they can also operate invisibly behind the scenes. Our laws of physics do not bind them and they can traverse back and forth between our realm and Heaven.

Our souls are another example of multiple realms. Although our current bodies are made of flesh and blood (“carbon-based life forms”) our true identity is spiritual in nature. When our body dies, our soul will leave its earthly vessel and continue living. Our souls are not made up of the materials from this dimension. That is why a person’s body could be completely vaporized by a nuclear bomb and his soul will depart totally unscathed.

Am I convinced that we are alone in this universe? No, of course not. I may be completely wrong in my speculations on this subject. It wouldn’t bother me, however, if I am wrong about this. It wouldn’t shake my faith or theology if we do find life out there. As I mentioned before, these are my opinions, not Biblical dogma.

As I contemplate the immense size of our universe, I usually do not wonder about extraterrestrial life. Rather, I spend my time pondering the age-old question of why would such an awesome God care so much for mortal man? Why would God Almighty seek our friendship?

 From Biblehelp.Org Copyright © 1987 -2005 Michael Bronson

 

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About Clint Rodgers

I am a father of 2 wonderful children and the husband of a beautiful woman who has taught me more about compassion for goofballs than I could have ever learned. I have know Jesus for many years but about 5 years ago I truly met Him and now I do my best to follow Him as I walk in this world
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