It’s worthwhile to look at our planet with an eye towards contemplating its beauty, and learning to admire its Creator, as well as… learning humility. Our guide to recognizing the wealth of the Earth is Austin Sailsbury, the author of the book The Universe: the Splendor, Greatness, and Beauty of God’s Creation.
The Earth – seen from space – is the clearest and most beautiful of the eight planets of the Solar System that orbit around the sun. The astronaut Neil Armstrong grasped this well shortly after the landing of the Apollo 11 mission on the moon in 1969: “It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.”
The Great Blue
The Earth is different from all the other heavenly bodies that we know in the universe. People, flora and fauna coexist here in extraordinarily variable geographic and cultural contexts and, at least so far, there is no proof of the existence of similar conditions for life anywhere else.
“The probability that the organic structure of living organisms and the incredibly precise harmonization of their reactions were generated accidentally is zero” (Ilia Prigogine, Belgian chemist, Nobel Prize winner)
Planet Earth is located about 150 million kilometers (93 million miles) from the sun – the perfect position to receive just the right amount of heat and light needed to sustain plant and animal life. Along with a unique temperature, some of the Earth’s other qualities are that it has an abundance of liquid, gaseous, and solid water. The combination of all this, together with a perfect atmospheric balance, makes planet Earth the ideal place for life to thrive. Earth is, without question, a miracle – even in the light of our ever-growing scientific understanding of the expanding universe. Imagine yourself in a spacecraft looking back on Earth from outer space. What you notice at first is the great blue of the oceans that cover more than 70% of the planet’s surface. Most of the living things on Earth – both plant and animal – exist within the saltwater of the oceans. All these living things are interconnected with local and global climate patterns, wind systems, human food production, oxygen creation, animal migration, and countless other natural systems. Truly, the Earth’s most impressive geographic attribute – our oceans – are a mysterious universe in themselves.