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Thanksgiving 2022 – Miracles

Happy Thanksgiving

Dear Friends,

“Miracles, in the sense of phenomena we cannot explain, surround us on every hand,” George Bernard Shaw once observed; “life itself is the miracle of miracles.” While that sentiment might have once been left to the realm of poets and philosophers, it is today increasingly the conviction of accomplished scientists, astrophysicists, and mathematicians.

Consider the proposition that life as we know it may exist on other planets in other solar systems, in other galaxies, and even in other universes. Billions of dollars have been spent on orbiting telescopes to look for it, such as the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990 and the James Webb Space Telescope in 2022. Best-selling author Eric Metaxas, in his remarkable book, Miracles, said that in the 1960s cosmologist Carl Sagan believed there were only two fundamental prerequisites for life to exist on distant planets. In the intervening years, a significant change has occurred in the scientific community regarding the probability of life on other planets. “The number of variables necessary for life on a planet has exploded,” Metaxas explains, “while the number of possible planets that could conceivably support life has withered. The number shrank all the way down to ‘zero’ years ago, and as the number of variables necessary to support life have continued to grow, the number of planets that could support life have shrunk further and further below zero.” He thus concludes, “Our existence is a statistical and scientific virtual impossibility.”

The author goes on to list fascinating prerequisites necessary for life to exist on Earth, many we may never have considered. Take, for example, the exact size of the Earth itself. If our planet were smaller, say the size of our moon, then water vapor could not stay on its surface; it would float heavenward, never to return. Say goodbye to the splash pad in your backyard, parasailing in Cancun during spring break, and the need for reporters to stand in blue rain jackets tilting against the wind during a Florida hurricane.

Or as Metaxas notes, consider the rotation of the Earth. It turns on its axis every 24 hours. If it turned any slower, the temperature swings between night and day would become exceedingly perilous. Yet if it turned any faster, winds could reach up to 1,000 miles per hour.

What about our moon? It is the perfect shape, size, density, and distance from Earth to produce the stable environment that is important for life to thrive. If it were not, the difference in the rotational axis of the Earth would eventually make life impossible.

Thanks to the stream of data transmitted by one of NASA’s crowning achievements, the Hubble telescope, for decades we have gazed in awe at majestic galaxies the shapes of seahorses or stared in near disbelief at the blinding light of billions of stars now visible to us. Launched into low-earth orbit in 1990, the Hubble has sent back thousands of images no human eye had ever seen. (Check out our 2010 Thanksgiving Letter, which featured the Hubble telescope image entitled “Mystic Mountain”.

Now, its next generation replacement, the Webb Space Telescope, has launched using infra-red imaging technology. Proponents of the Webb promise us we will be able to see places “once too old, too distant or too faint” to be captured by the Hubble. Some even claim we will be able to see the first stars and first galaxies in our universe.

However successful the Webb telescope may prove to be, it’s doubtful it will be able to offer any explanation for the amazing order and precision of our universe. The big bang theory, first coined in 1953 by Sir Fred Hoyle, submits that our entire universe exploded from a single point of origin matter no bigger in diameter than the period at the end of this sentence. In the article Creation Cosmology Confirmed! Dr. Jason Lisle states preliminary data and images from the James Webb Space Telescope challenge secular ideas of galaxy formation and the big bang but confirm biblical creation.

Metaxas says, there are four forces necessary to create and sustain life – gravity, the electromagnetic force, the weak nuclear force and the strong nuclear force – and they combine to hold atoms and molecules together. Yet scientists now believe they were formed in perfect relationship to one another within 1 millionth of a second following the big bang explosion. The chances of that happening are so small as to defy calculation. Rather, as theoretical physicist Paul Davies has said, “The impression of design is overwhelming.” Another example of this fine tuning concerns the ratio of the strong nuclear force to the electromagnetic force. Davies calculated if that ratio had deviated by 0.00000000000000001, the universe would not exist. However, the ratio just happens to be exactly and precisely what it needs to be, and here we are!

The order and design of our amazing planet is proof of George Bernard Shaw’s observation that life itself is the miracle of miracles.

This Thanksgiving, we give thanks for a universe, a galaxy and a world that is inescapably the result of Grand Design. “For by Him (Jesus) all things were created both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible… all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16-17)

We hope you enjoy our selection of Astronomers’ first breathtaking Webb Space Telescope image of the Orion Nebula, September 12, 2022.


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