On the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, the moon as evidence for God
Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, and I, like many of you, watched numerous documentaries celebrating this extraordinary achievement. But have you ever stopped to consider that the existence of the moon is even more extraordinary than merely our landing on it? In fact, the moon provides very strong evidence for the existence of God. This evidence takes FOUR forms.
1. SOLAR ECLIPSES
Solar eclipses are an amazing phenomena. They occur when the sun, moon and earth are aligned so that the moon seems to pass in front of the sun and perfectly covers the sun, from our perspective on earth. This is only possible because the moon is 400 times smaller than the sun, but is also 400 times closer to earth than the sun. This is a mindbogglingly incredible coincidence which means that the moon appears to be EXACTLY the same size as the sun. The result is that during a solar eclipse, the moon EXACTLY covers the sun (to within half a degree) but DOESN’T cover the sun’s chromosphere and corona. This has enabled scientists to make some hugely important discoveries, including the composition of the sun and its atmosphere. The most important discovery that solar eclipses have afforded has been our ability to witness the light from distance stars being bent around the sun due to its immense gravity. This has enabled physicists to confirm several aspects of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, including the complex interplay of gravity, light and time.
More than any other cosmological event, solar eclipses have enabled us to advance our understanding of the universe. Yet solar eclipses are only possible because of this extraordinary “coincidence” of the moon’s size and position relative to the sun. Do you have any idea how astronomically small the chances are that our planet would have a moon with comparative size and distance ratios, in relation to the sun, that are EXACTLY THE SAME – 400 time smaller, yet 400 times further away??? The chances are infinitesimally small – so small, in fact, as to be completely implausible. This incredible “coincidence” has astounded scientists and philosophers for thousands of years. There is no other place in the known universe where it is possible to observe a total solar eclipse!
In 2015, John Horgan (who is not a Christian) wrote an article in “American Scientific”, entitled “Can Faith and Science Co-exist?”. In it, he wrote of the improbability of the earth and moon coming into existence via random processes, saying:
“The more scientists investigate our universe, the more improbable our existence seems. If you define a miracle as an infinitely improbable event, then our existence, you might say, is a miracle. Scientists try in vain to hand-wave our improbability away … My own mystical intuitions keep me from ruling out the possibility of supernatural creation.”
As a Christian, I believe that God placed our moon in precisely this position to enable us to explore the nature of the universe. It is his invitation to discover and learn more about his amazing creation.
2. THE MOON’S RECESSION
The moon is receding from the earth at the rate of 4 cm per year. This is because friction caused by the movement of the earth’s tides is gradually slowing the earth’s rotation, resulting in the earth losing its angular momentum. The Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum dictates that the earth’s loss of angular momentum must be gained by the moon. Thus, the moon is gradually being “pushed” away from the earth at the rate of 4 cm per year. It is currently 384,404 kms distant. Those are the facts. Now consider the following:
Evolutionists say that the moon is 4.5 billion years old and the earth’s oceans (which are causing the changes in angular momentum) are at least 3.8 billion years old. But if the moon has been receding from the earth for at least 3.8 billion years, it would now be 15.2 million kilometres from earth! Even allowing for the fact that the moon’s recession rate would diminish with distance, and that it could have been initially as close as 18,400 km to the earth (known as the Roche limit), it would still be millions of kilometres further from the earth than it is today, if the earth and the moon are really that old. This would mean, of course, that solar eclipses would not be possible.
Some evolutionists circumvent this problem by suggesting that the moon has only recently begun receding in the last few thousand years. In other words, they propose that the moon remained in stable orbit for billions of years but then mysteriously began receding only a few thousand years ago. What is their evidence for this? NONE! It is complete conjecture, arising from their imaginations – a desperate attempt to protect their view of an ancient age of the solar system in the light of strong contrary evidence.
On the other hand, the current distance of the moon from the earth is perfectly in accord with an age of our solar system of less than 10,000 years, and with its special creation by a God who wanted us to discover the amazing properties of our universe.
3. THE SIZE OF THE MOON
Our moon is even more astonishing when you consider that it is extremely oversized for the relatively small size of our planet. Our moon is 27% of the size of the earth – which is a HUGE ratio. A planet of our relatively small size should have a much smaller moon. In fact, of the 4,016 exoplanets (planets in other solar systems) that have been discovered to this point, none of them have a moon even half as big as ours (in terms of the ratio of the moon to the parent planet). A science website, space.com, states “Earth’s stabilising moon may be unique within the universe.”
The above reference to our moon as “stabilising” is an important point. Due to its large size and its large gravitational impact, the moon plays several crucial roles for our planet. Firstly, it stabilises our orbital axis. Without the influence of our very large moon, scientists calculate that the earth’s tilt could swing widely – by as much as 85 degrees – making life as we know it impossible. Secondly, the large size of our moon exerts a strong force on the earth’s tectonic plates, keeping them moving and stretching, which is a significant factor in making life on earth possible by contributing to the carbon cycle and stabilising surface temperatures. Thirdly, the moon’s large size also obviously creates strong tidal currents in our oceans, helping to circulate the earth’s water, which is crucial to life.
None of this would be possible if we had a “normal” sized moon.
4. THE FORMATION OF THE MOON
The relatively large size of our moon also poses a big problem for evolutionists in trying to explain how a relatively small planet such as ours could have such a large moon. Over the years a number of theories have been proposed, but they all have serious holes.
(i) Fission Theory: This was invented by George Darwin (son of Charles Darwin). He proposed that the earth was originally spinning so fast, that a chunk broke off. No one accepts this theory today, as it defies several laws of physics.
(ii) Capture Theory: The moon was wandering through the solar system and was captured by earth’s gravity. Most physicists discard this as so unlikely as to be impossible. Such a rogue moon would be much more likely to either collide with earth or to be “sling-shotted” out into space.
(iii) Condensation Theory: The moon gradually coalesced out of a dust cloud orbiting the earth. However, such a cloud could not be dense enough to form a moon, and it doesn’t account for the moon’s low iron content.
(iv) Impact Theory: This is the theory that is currently in favour – the idea that a large body impacted the earth and blasted off a big chunk, which formed itself into our moon. However, calculations show that to blast off that much material, the object colliding with earth would have to be twice as massive as Mars, which would have effectively destroyed our planet.
The bottom line is that cosmologists cannot offer a plausible explanation as to how a small planet like earth could have such a large moon. Yet such a large moon plays a vital role in the formation and ongoing maintenance of life on our planet.
So, next time you look up at the moon, remember how special it really is, and give thanks to the creator who placed it there.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the stars proclaim the work of his hands.” (Psalm 19:1)
FOR MORE INFORMATION: See my newly released book, “No More Monkey Business: Evolution in Crisis”. This is available as an eBook or paperback from book distributors worldwide. For Australian buyers, the cheapest place to buy it is via my website: SmartFaith.net.
Kevin Simington (B.Th. Dip. Min.) is a theologian, apologist and social commentator. He spent 31 years in Christian ministry as a church pastor and a Christian educator. He is the author of Finding God When He Seems to be Hiding; No More Monkey Business: Evolution in Crisis; and Making Sense of the Bible. He is now a full time author and speaker. Visit https://smartfaith.net/.
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