Many evolutionists have long hoped to find evidence of life in space. They reason that if life evolved on Earth, then it could have evolved elsewhere.1
If, as the argument goes, there are countless planets throughout the universe that have formed via natural processes, there must be other Earth-like planets. Many think that finding such a planet outside our solar system would be almost like finding evidence of life in space.
Scientists have searched for years for planets orbiting other stars. These are called extrasolar planets, or ‘exoplanets’. Astronomers first obtained evidence suggesting extrasolar planets around 1995 while studying the sun-sized star 51-Pegasi.2 Today there are research teams around the world searching for extrasolar planets with greatly refined research techniques. There are now over 450 objects catalogued in exoplanet lists.3,4
Creationists need to answer two main questions regarding exoplanets. 1) Do they exist? and 2) How did they form? The first question has to do with experimental evidence, but the second has to do with origins science. Scripture does not tell us whether other stars have planets, so we must apply the best observational science we can to answer the question.
On the other hand, Scripture is clear that God supernaturally created the earth and the universe in four consecutive, normal-length days and that the universe is relatively young.5 Thus, if the observational evidence for exoplanets is sound, which I believe it is (see box), creationists will differ with secular scientists about how and when they formed, not whether they exist.
The Origin of Exoplanets
As scientists came to the conclusion that extrasolar planets exist, they faced challenges in explaining their origin. From a creation point of view, it is most likely that God created exoplanets on Day 4 of Creation Week, along with the luminaries, and He could have created them with any characteristics He wished. Our own solar system is special because of Earth—our system and our planet are designed to be a safe and stable environment for life. Isaiah 45:18 acknowledges this, “He did not create it [Earth] to be empty; he formed it to be inhabited.”….
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