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The Earth Forever
How Was the Earth Formed?
Some scientists claim that about five billion years ago our earth was formed from a massive accumulation of material bombarded by meteorites and comets. This bombardment, it is claimed, resulted in heating our planet to super-hot, which has been cooling off ever since. It is further claimed that gases released from volcanic activity and other processes formed the atmosphere, which was modified by a variety of life forms. However, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, 1999 CD, “the question of whether the Earth began hot or cold is not definitely settled, although majority opinion favors a cold origin with intense early heating through radioactivity and the separation of the metallic core.”
How was the earth formed? No one knows. Nor does the Bible explain it. From the reading of Genesis, we may gather that it was not done all at once. Nor can we believe the earth was created in 6 literal days when we read that “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens” (Gen. 2:4). This “day” consists of generations! So we know immediately that it is not a 24-hour day. If we apply prophetic time (one day as a thousand years), we still are not near to a solution because geological signs place the earth’s date many millions of years ago.
What is the answer? For now it must suffice to simply say that the Lord God created it. “You alone are the Lord. You made the skies and the heavens and all the stars. You made the earth and the seas and everything in them. You preserve and give life to everything, and all the angels of heaven worship you” (Neh. 9:6 NLT). Isaiah also speaks of this when he said, “The Lord created the heavens. He is the God who formed the earth and made it. He did not want it to be empty, but he wanted life on the earth. This is what the Lord says: ‘I am the Lord. There is no other God’ ” (Isa. 45:18 NCV). (For a discussion of Genesis, see our booklet “God’s Spiritual Creation.”)
The “thin” crust of the earth is only 5/1,000 of its diameter. In the ocean it may be less than 8/10,000. Yet this thin crust supports all life on our planet. Temperatures around the earth can range from -127° F (Vostok in the Antarctica) to +136° F (Libya in Africa). Water continually oozes out of the upper few hundred feet of this thin crust (about 19 mi. thick) creating streams, lakes and sustaining the seas and oceans as it evaporates and returns in the form of rain and ice in a never-ending cycle.
Only a few feet into this thin crust the temperature is relatively moderate, a necessity for the survival of some desert creatures, or those that inhabit the frigid cold Arctic or Antarctic regions. But as you go down it does not remain moderate for long. Less than 19 miles below the surface (the mantle area), the temperature is a searing 1800° F. Though the mantle is solid, it is flexible and can be shaped (like plastic). This differs from the crust which, being relatively cold, is brittle and can be easily fractured (as by earthquakes).
As we proceed through the mantle the temperature continues to rise until at the earth’s core it is calculated to be over 6000° F. By studying the recordings of seismic waves from earthquakes, some scientists theorized that the core is liquid. This theory was confirmed with the use of scientific instruments. Another clue was what they understand about the earth’s magnetism.
Inside the earth’s core is the inner core, which is believed to be over 7000° F. It is thought that this inner core is of iron, which may be solid due to the weight of the surrounding material.
While the insides of the earth are continually moving, molten material from deep inside the earth can slowly rise and collect under the earth’s cool brittle crust. If the crust gives way, a volcano comes to life. Over 500 million people live in parts of the world that are prone to volcanic eruptions. Some may have no idea that red hot lava is building pressure under their feet, getting ready to break through the surface. An example is the area of Michoacan, a state in Mexico, where there had never been any evidence of volcanic activity before. People began to feel tremors, up to 300 per day. Suddenly there was a loud crack, like thunder, and steam and gases began to spew up into the air, “right there in a flat field,” explained one resident. A column of ash rose into the air almost 20,000 feet and spread almost 200 miles away. The lava began to flow 2 days later, and did not stop for 9 years. The citizens of the village near the volcano regularly swept their roofs to keep the weight of the ash from caving them in. In less than 12 months the crater had grown 1100 feet high and had killed every plant within 5 miles. While no human lives were lost, they were finally forced to give up their homes after 15 months due to the ever-creeping hot lava.
Erupting volcanoes can change day into darkness as ash and gases fill the air and block the sun. They can cause temporary climate changes for thousands of miles. If warnings are not taken seriously, the flowing molten lava can claim many lives while the hot ash, perhaps as hot as 1800° F roars down the sides of the volcano at 60 mph, perhaps claiming far more lives. If there happens to be a large glacier, on the side of the volcano, the destructive potential of the volcano is even greater. Suddenly melted from the heat, water combines with the ash and comes pouring down on a village or town, taking many lives. Even when there is no ice, torrential rains can be devastating as they swoop up the ash and result in tremendous mudslides.
Land masses can move up or down over time. We read about large land masses that were once submerged under the sea, yet wonder how it could have been possible. Right in the middle of Texas, hundreds of miles from the ocean, it is difficult for campers to drive tent pegs because of underlying stone, sediment from the sea floor from millions of years ago. I have personally seen fossil remains of fish and other sea life there.
The earth’s crust is divided into plates. Large continents can move great distances as if floating on water. It is claimed that Italy, for example, traveled many miles and then slammed into the mainland. As a result, one of the largest mountain ranges in the world, the great Alps, was formed. At the present time, in the area of California, a large plate is moving slowly eastward, evidenced by relatively frequent earthquakes. The “big one” (earthquake) is expected any time within the next 30 years.
But even with the most modern equipment, it is impossible for scientists to predict when an earthquake will occur. Contrast this with the power of the God of heaven, who can make an earthquake occur at a precise moment and place. For example, when the Israelites were wandering in the desert and Korah, Dathan, and Abiram rebelled against Moses and Aaron, the Lord used an earthquake to swallow up the rebels and “with their households, and all the men of Korah, and all their goods” (Num. 16:1-34).
Another earthquake has been predicted to occur at a particular moment in time and it will serve a particular purpose. It will happen when Christ returns, and “His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south…. You will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him!” (Zech. 14:4-5 NASB).
A Speeding Earth
While the interior of the earth is continually moving, the earth as a unit is also moving, but not so slowly. The earth makes one complete rotation on its axis every 24 hours, at a speed of 1100 miles per hour, giving us our days and nights. At the same time it is revolving around the sun at 67,000 miles per hour. At the same time the solar system is moving in the Milky Way Galaxy at a speed of 559,000 miles per hour, and the Milky Way Galaxy itself is moving in the local group of galaxies.
How does all this motion occur simultaneously, and each keep the right distance from the other, and the balance of life on earth continue? Who can deny that the vast creation came into being by intelligent Design beyond our fathoming?
What keeps us from being hurled off into space with all this motion? It is another law designed by our Creator, the law of gravity, pulling continually to hold us on the earth.
A very thin layer, about 7 miles thick, contains 90 percent of all the life sustaining gases and is the source of our weather. At the surface, the atmosphere consists of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, the other 1% being a mix of many other gases in small amounts. Gravity holds these gases close to the earth’s surface. (Did this perfect combination that supports life come about by chance?)
The atmosphere is classified by scientists as having different layers. As a rocket blasts into outer space it first travels through the Troposphere at the earth’s surface, then through the stratosphere, where the temperature drops below freezing. As the craft proceeds through the Mesosphere, the temperature plummets to more that 100 degrees below zero. The craft is now 55 miles above the surface of the earth. Then things begin to be a little more comfortable as the temperature begins to climb. But it isn’t comfortable for long. In the Thermosphere, which extends up to 435 miles, the vehicle must pass through a searing 3,600 degrees. The next layer, the Exosphere, has less air and is constantly losing molecules to outer space.
God’s space travelers (His angels) can come and go through the atmosphere without harm from cold or heat, or without suffocation for lack of oxygen. Isn’t it within the realm of reason that earthborns will someday have the same privilege, when they are made like the angels? (Luke 20: 35-36).
Outside the range of the earth’s atmosphere there are more dangers—from meteors, debris, and comets.
Every day, rocks the size of softballs strike our atmosphere. Every few years, debris the size of houses comes thundering toward us.
It is said that we live in a cosmic shooting gallery, we’re being hit with everything from the size of a pea to the size of a house. Fortunately, most burn up before reaching the earth. But some don’t. One such is the Meteor Crater in a plateau of north Arizona, where a meteor hit about 50,000 years ago. While the meteor was only 1/2 mile across, it made a crater 3/4 of a mile in diameter. The mass of iron was estimated to weigh 1/2 million tons and it removed 200 million tons of rock on impact. It is estimated that the meteor sped across the landscape at 25,000 mph, creating winds of 1,000 mph which destroyed all life within a hundred square miles. Such an impact could easily destroy an entire city. More than 150 impact sites have been located on earth, many more than 100 times larger.
The Earth is Not Doomed!
Will the earth someday perish from some cataclysmic blast from outer space? or from some other catastrophic event or pollution? Some even think it is inevitable that a nuclear holocaust will destroy all life on our planet. What should we think about these negative forecasts? Should we be alarmed?
Those who make these claims have been challenged by One of higher authority, the Lord Himself. What does He have to say?
It was promised long ago, “the meek shall inherit the earth” (Ps. 37:11). This promise could not be true if the earth will someday be destroyed. It was Christ who taught us to pray, regarding the Kingdom of God, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” ( Matt. 6:10 NASB). The statement in Ecclesiastes is positive: “One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever” (Eccl. 1:4).
Did the God of heaven create the earth in vain? Not according to Isaiah. Speaking for God he wrote, “For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else” (Isa. 45:18). Could it be that God, knowing there would be those declaring an end to the earth, caused these words to be penned? He did not create it in vain. And these words are backed by the Almighty Himself, “I am the Lord; and there is none else,” as if to say, who are you to declare otherwise? “God, the Lord, created the heavens and stretched them out. He created the earth and everything in it. He gives breath and life to everyone in all the world” (Isa. 42:5 NLT).
“Before the mountains were created, before you made the earth and the world, you are God, without beginning or end.” (Ps. 90:2 NLT). What do we know, humans of few years, as compared to a Creator without beginning or end, a God who has had mercy “from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them” (Ps. 103:17-18)? If His mercy is from everlasting to everlasting, it seems that there have been many other worlds long before this earth ever came into existence. Surely He can sustain our little planet we call home.
Yes, our foundation is sure; this earth will stand forever. Yes, our foundation is sure—neither will we be moved if we have built on the solid Rock, and that Rock is Christ.