Have you ever heard the term ‘habitable planet’?  It means that all of the conditions necessary for life on that planet are just right.

With all of our telescopes and satellite probes, the only habitable planet that we know of is our own Earth.

But what makes the Earth habitable?

To begin with, the Earth is ideally placed in the Milky Way galaxy which helps protect us from harmful radiation.  If the Earth was in the center of the galaxy or in the midst of one of the globular clusters or towards the outside of the galaxy, radiation would be a real problem and life as we know it could not exist.

Next, the Earth is just the right distance from the Sun in what is called the ‘Habitable Zone.’  If it were any closer, it would be too hot for life and any further away it would be too cold for life.

The Earth’s tilt helps regulate the temperature across most of the globe.  If the tilt were increased significantly, summers would be too hot and winters too cold.  If the tilt were decreased, the equator would be too hot and the poles too cold.

The Earth’s mass determines the strength of its gravity.  Unlike Mercury, our Earth is big enough to hold onto life-sustaining gases like oxygen and carbon dioxide but not so big that it becomes a toxic, gaseous giant, like Jupiter.

Life requires liquid water.  Our planet sits just the right distance from the Sun for water to flow as a liquid.  In fact, three quarters of the Earth’s surface is covered in liquid water.  No other planet is known to have this essential ingredient of life.  If the Earth were much closer to the Sun, the water in all of the ponds, lakes, seas and oceans would evaporate away and we would be a dry planet.  If the Earth were much farther from the Sun, all of the water would freeze and the Earth would be a frozen wasteland.

The Earth has just the right chemicals for life.  About 99% of the universe is made of hydrogen and helium.  But the Earth is different.  It’s made of heavier elements such as carbon and calcium, which can form compounds essential for life such as proteins, and sugars.

The Earth has a large moon which keeps the oceans from stagnating.  As the moon orbits around the Earth, its gravity pulls on the oceans causing them to rise higher towards the moon and drops lower away from it.  The Sun also pulls on the Earth’s oceans creating a second tide.  When the Sun and moon are on the same side of the Earth, they both pull in the same direction causing the highest tides of all.  A combination of both Sun and moon tides work like giant mixing paddles helping to keep the oceans stirred up.

The Earth has a magnetic field which shields us from harmful radiation.  Our Sun generates radiation that is carried on solar winds toward the Earth.  The magnetic field helps to deflect a large amount of that radiation away from the surface of the Earth. Some of this radiation deflection can be seen in the northern regions at night.  We refer to it as the Northern Lights.

Click here to see: Northern Lights Over Norway

The Earth appears to be an engineering marvel, crafted for life, the stage for unfolding God’s glorious plan to dwell with man.  You may ask why is the Earth such a special habitable place?  The prophet Isaiah said it best when he said:

God himself that formed the earth and made it; he has established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited. Isaiah 45:18

Additional Resources

Ten Boys Who Changed the World

George Muller was a thief when he was younger and spent time in jail for his crimes. Brother Andrew grew up in Holland during the second World War and played tricks on German soldiers. Nicky Cruz grew up in a family where spirit worship was a regular occurrence. He became a very angry young man, out to cause trouble.
John Newton was captured at a young age and forced to join Her Majesty’s Navy, leaving his friends and family behind. What happened to these young boys and how did God make them into men who changed their world? Read how George Muller was finally trusted with millions of pounds. Discover how Brother Andrew grew up to be a smuggler of Bibles. Read how Nicky Cruz was rescued from self-destruction and eventually went on to begin one of the largest youth organisations reaching out to hurt and confused young people throughout the world.

David Livingstone (Missionary in Africa)
Nicky Cruz (Evangelist)
Brother Andrew (Smuggler for God in Communist Countries)
George Muller (Founder of Children’s Homes)
William Carey (Missionary in India)
John Newton (Minister and reformer)
Adoniram Judson (Missionary in Burma)
Billy Graham (Evangelist)
Luis Palau (Evangelist)
Eric Liddell (Athlete and Missionary in China)

Ages: 8-12

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