Planetary Modelling

I’ve been fascinated by the possibilities offered by different types of worlds ever since I was young. Two of my favourite novels in my early teens were Orbitsville and Ringworld. The first a story that used the discovery of a giant sphere orbitting a star at earth orbit, the second a giant ring, also at earth orbit.

Both novels imagined that an advanced race had effectively mashed up all the planetary resources in a star system and turned them into a more efficient living space.

And often I would turn to my bible and find that planetary modelling was a concept at least some 4,000 years old…

The bible opens with not just planetary, but universe modelling. I used to enjoy playing with lego, but this was a whole different level of creative play! The detail however, either is deliberately confusing, or we’ve lost the meaning. For example, there are several theories about the meaning of Genesis 1 verses 6 and 7. Here’s the passage if you’re not familiar:

“And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 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.” KJV

For a long time I’ve believed the theory this is referring to a water barrier circling the original version of our planet – Earth 1.0. Whether that water barrier was free flowing water, ice or ice crystals or even water vapour, I don’t know – but water in some form that protected our planet from harmful solar radiation while allowing sufficient light energy through that most of the earth had a tropical climate. This theory seems more likely to me simply because the rest of the data we have supports it – if there was less harmful solar radiation, perhaps people would naturally live longer lives as described later in Genesis. If the whole earth had a tropical climate, it would explain why we find evidence supporting that around the globe.

Another theory is that the firmament was the earth’s crust and that large quantities of water were below the crust. I’ve never been all that keen on this theory, but personal preference just isn’t enough to bury it. Perhaps both of these theories are true to a certain extent. Some major planetary remodelling is recorded in Genesis 7, certainly, if even half of the water recorded in the flood was from underground and that exploded upwards, it would explain a substantial part of the geological record.

I would love to be able to run some simulations, to find out how we ended up with Earth 2.0 and what the first model actually looked like. Some day, maybe I’ll have time and the resources to do it. Until then, here are a couple of links that I found interesting on the subject:

Computer Modeling of a Vapor Canopy

Does science prove Noah’s flood?

Obedience and Reverence

There is a scene [SPOILERS] at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark where the lost Ark of the Covenant is opened. Everyone who looks into it dies in – if I remember correctly – a fairly grotesque manner. Only Indiana Jones has the sense to warn his companion to close their eyes, they both look away and are saved.

A fictional story based on history. As I’ve been reading the first book of Samuel recently, I came across this passage again:

“But God struck down some of the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh, putting seventy of them to death because they looked into the ark of the Lord.” from 1 Samuel 6 NIV

I can imagine many people today reading this for the first time and questioning how a loving God could slaughter seventy “innocent” people, just for looking in a box…

Well, what if the box contained plutonium? What if every person who even touched that radioactive substance contracted cancer and died? Whose fault would it be that those people died? The people who disobeyed a simple command to keep clear of the box, or the God who lovingly warned them to stay away?

Every person in Israel knew what the Ark was – the very throne of God on Earth. They knew they were to stay away, that the punishment for touching the Ark was death, that only the priests had permission to approach the Ark and even they were to be very careful when they did so. There’s a useful summary of the laws surrounding the Ark on Rational Christianity

It seems clear to me that God has given us certain commands for our own protection, but hasn’t always given us reasons why those commands exist. The God who created the universe and designed every living creature on our planet has to be more intelligent and have far more knowledge than we are yet able to comprehend. Quite often, even the most intelligent among us are nothing more than simple infants who have been told: don’t play with fire. We can either choose to be obedient to this command, or we can face the consequences of disobedience.

Yet I don’t think simple obedience is enough when dealing with God. Our curiosity, our doubts, our questions may get the better of us if all we rely on is obedience. I also think we need to develop reverence. The root of reverence appears to be “stand in awe of”

You were created by God. Every cell in your body was designed by him. You are a miracle of creation. One day you will stand before God and will be judged for your actions on this Earth. If you have followed his commands, if you have shown love to the poor and helpless, if you are sealed with God’s Holy Spirit, you will be welcomed into a second life on a renewed Earth where “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain”. Or you will be cast outside into darkness…

Your creator has the power to offer you life or death. I think he deserves our respect, our obedience, our reverence.