Earth: The first frontier - And still we don't know all there is to know
What do you think of when you read the words: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void;"
Does reading that make you think you're starting to read the Bible? You're right. That is where that text comes from. But what does that description mean when it talks about the earth? What does it mean to be without form, and void? or "formless and empty"?
Questions, questions, questions
As you read that passage of scripture it sort of seems that God already had our planet out here in space. But it also sounds like it really wasn't ready for us. It wasn't quite the way it is today. When we think of our planet without form, it's kind of hard to imagine just what this blob must have looked like. Was it a mass of molten lava? Was it a gaseous planet like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune? Or was it a rocky planet like Mercury, Venus, and Mars?
We weren't there. So we can't know. But there are some things we can know. We know that just like God formed Adam from clay He also took this shapeless mass we call planet Earth and began forming it into something that life could exist on.
What we do Know
Scientists can view objects off in space that are many light years away. But they haven't been able to go more than a few miles into our own earth to see what lies down inside of it. The deepest hole drilled in the U.S. was a gas well in Oklahoma that was drilled down to 31,441 feet deep. In the Kola Peninsula of Russia a well was drilled to a depth of 40,230 feet deep. That's just over seven and a half miles deep. Considering the diameter of the earth is 7,926 miles at the equator that hole doesn't seem very deep at all. It would take another 3,955 miles to get to the center of the earth. So we've just scratched the surface.
Just think- Wouldn't it be neat if you could explore outer space? Now, consider for a moment how exciting it would be to explore inner space. Wouldn't it be thrilling if there were some kind of vehicle that you could get on and ride down to the middle of the earth in? Unfortunately, there isn't unless you consider the vehicle of your imagination.
Layers and temperatures
When God created the Earth He created it with several layers. First there's the crust, then the upper mantle, then the mantle, and finally the inner core. The outside of the earth is sort of like the shell of an egg. It's very thin compared to the rest of the egg. It is made of dirt, sedimentary rock, metamorphic rock, and igneous rock.
If you were to go inside the crust of the earth you would come to the upper mantle. This section of the earth is composed of solid rock. It separates the crust from the mantle. Things start getting hot in this section of the earth. The temperature there is 900 degrees Celsius - 3000 degrees Celsius. So it's a good thing we're just using our imagination to make this trip. When you get past the mantle you come to the outer core, which is melted metal. There the temperature is 3000-4000 degrees Celsius. When you get to the inner core in the center of the earth it is composed of very hot iron and nickel that is 3000- 6000 degrees Celsius and yet solid. This massive inner core is quite large. In fact it is just slightly larger than the moon.
The earth is composed of many elements. The following list shows the most plentiful elements in the earth and the percentage of them that makes up the earth:
When you consider God's creation, the earth, it is wonderful to think of all the things God did to help our planet be a place where life can exist. In the first place God has earth positioned at 93.2 million miles from the sun. The temperature of Venus, the next planet closer to the sun is over 800 degrees Fahrenheit. Mars, the next planet beyond earth has an average temperature of minus eighty-one degrees fahrenheit. God placed earth at just the right distance out in space to allow plants and animals to live.
The earth takes 24 hours to rotate. If it rotated much faster we would have unbelievable hurricanes. If the earth took considerably longer to rotate, then parts of the earth would be too cold to live on and other parts would be too hot. Venus, for example takes 243 earth days to spin around once. That's one reason that the temperatures there get so hot. If our daylight hours lasted 121 earth days we'd be getting pretty hot too.
What a wonderful job God did in making our earth and positioning it right where it is. He made it just right for us. (Read Isaiah 45:18)
Our Patchwork Planet, Helen Roney Sattler, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, New York , 1995.
Earth, A True Book, Larry Dane Brimner, Children's Press, Grolier Publishing , New York , 1998.
Earth, The Galaxy, Steven L. Kipp,Bridgestone Books, Capstone Press, 1998.
Earth Alive, Sandra Markle, Lothrob, Lee & Shepard Books, New York , 1990.
The Magic School Bus- Inside The Earth, Joanna Cole, Scholastic Incorporated, New York , 1987.
The Earth-Our "Just Right" Planet, Bert Thompson, Discovery Scriptures & Science for Kids, Discovery, Apologetics Press, Montgomery, AL, www.discoverymagazine.com/articles/d1997/d9711e.htm