The psalmist wrote, "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him. For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet" (Psalm 8:2-6).
Most Christians believe that God created the stars and planets and all that is in them and that man is God's greatest and most magnificent creation. It was man whom God made in His image and gave dominion over the earth. It was for man alone that God sent His only Begotten Son to die in order to redeem him, and it is only man who has the ability to become sons and daughters of God through adoption and inherit all that God has (Romans 8:14,15; Galatians 4:6,7; Phil. 2:15). Because of this belief, nearly all Christians accept as fact that man holds a supremely unique and important place among all of God's creations.
On the other hand, there are those who say that man is nothing more than the result of natural biological laws that have caused us to evolve over millions of years from a one-cell living organism that suddenly came into existence as a result of some unknown fluke of nature. When seen from this perspective man is viewed as being no more important in the overall scheme of things than is a tree or an insect. In fact, scientists say that insects and reptiles have survived longer on earth than man has. With such a view it is easy to believe that nature considers us to be one of her more insignificant and puny creatures.
Those who subscribe to this way of thinking are known as naturalists and they believe that life has no purpose except that which we give it. Therefore, it is their belief that when we die that is the end of our existence. Rather than receiving a glorious reward after death for living a virtuous life here, they say all any of us have to look forward to is being placed in a cold and silent hole in the ground no matter how good or bad we have been.
Christians reject that view and instead believe that God created man with a definite purpose in mind, which ultimately is to spend all of eternity living with Him in a blissful world known as heaven. Because of that belief, Christians feel that nothing is more important to God than man. As some understand the first chapter of Genesis, it was for man that God created all things. His very first act of creation was to make an earth upon which He intended to create man, but only after first furnishing the earth with everything man needed. That not only included the beasts of the fields and the fruit of the ground to provide man with food and clothing, but even the stars themselves were placed in the sky on the fourth day of creation for the purpose of giving man light and providing him the means of telling times and seasons (Genesis 1:14).
However, the naturalists do no believe that the earth, the universe, or even life itself was purposefully designed by some kind of supreme Intelligence. Instead, they contend that everything came into existence as the result of natural laws, as matter and energy interacted with one another. For example, they say it is the natural laws of gravitation that accounts for the formation and movement of planets in our solar system rather than God deliberately designing it that way through some supernatural means. When they look at the human body, rather than seeing a finely crafted machine, with thousands of moving parts assembled in a precise and orderly manner, they see it as something that has been slowly developing and improving over millions of years through gene mutations as it has gradually adapted to its environment. And it is because of this viewpoint that naturalists scoff at the idea that there is some sort of intelligence that created all the designs we see in nature.
However, those scientists who do believe in God counter that such an explanation is more than simplistic in its approach because it tends to gloss over many facts that evolution cannot explain and ignores many other facts that actually refutes the idea of evolution. For example, it is a fact that there is fossil evidence to show that animals do change by mutation over time but they do so within species, not between species. To illustrate this, within the horse family there are many variations that can be accounted for due to gene mutations. However, even evolutionary scientists admit they have no evidence that shows a horse mutating into any other kind of non-horse animal such as a giraffe, tiger, or bear. In fact, the geologic record shows various species of life suddenly appearing fully formed with no conclusive evidence that indicates there was a gradual and evolutionary change from one species to another. But, rather than address this fact in a scientific manner, naturalists merely shrug it off by saying that someday they will find the evidence that fully supports their theories.
One of the thorny questions of evolution concerns the formation of water. Even though water has been found on most planets in our solar system, no other planet we know of, in or out of our solar system has anywhere near the amount of water - liquid, frozen, or gaseous - that is found on earth.
Scientists have sought to provide a natural explanation for where all the water came from that covers 70% of the earth's surface. According to the laws of nature as explained by scientists, this earth was created from the cooling of hot stellar gases which slowly solidified about six million years ago, creating a hard outer shell or crust around a hot molten ball of metal. Some scientists have proposed the theory that water formed from the cooling of these gases. Others say it came from silicon or carbonate based mineral rocks such a mica, limestone, and marble as they were heated to extreme temperatures and then squeezed by tremendous pressure. Others say it came from the interior of the earth through volcanic action. Still others say it came from asteroids and comets crashing into earth, since many of these objects contain large quantities of frozen water.
While all evolutionists agree that without the vast amount of water found on this planet, complex life as we know it could not exist, the fact remains that scientists don't really know where water came from in the first place as evidenced by the many different theories used to explain its abundant supply on earth. However, despite all of their plausible naturalistic theories, none of them account for how this particular planet produced so much water while all other planets in our solar system, which were formed according to the same natural laws of physics, have produced comparatively little water.
But there is a far greater problem that evolutionists face. In some way that no one knows how, life suddenly came forth from dead material. Scientists have put forth many theories to explain how this might have happened and they have been trying for decades to replicate this event in a laboratory, yet for all of their own highly developed sense of intelligence, they have not been able to do what they say happened naturally in nature without the aid of any intelligence, nor do they have any evidence in nature of it ever having been done. But without this explanation the theory of natural evolution has no foundation to it.
But that's not the only obstacle evolutionists face. The most simple of all living organism is composed of just one-cell, but it is not just a plain blob of cytoplasma. Instead, it contains many different parts that must all work together in order for the organism to live. If even one part of this system is missing it could not exist. How all of these working parts were able to slowly evolve and come together in order to create even the most simple of all living creatures out of dead material or even suddenly came into existence through some natural event in nature is something that naturalists have no satisfactory answer for.
Plants are able to convert sunlight into energy and food through a process known as photosynthesis. As humans we too have recently learned how to convert sunlight to electrical energy through the use of solar panels. However, in plants what we find is that they have millions of tiny solar panels that are able to do this much more efficiently than we can. While no scientist would look at a human-made solar panel and say that it came into existence without the aid of any intelligence yet they strongly maintain that highly sophisticated solar panels in plants happened as the result of natural laws without any intelligent intervention.
On a larger scale, the human body is a marvel of mechanical engineering, with thousands of complex organs interacting with one another in a way that no human-made machine has been able to duplicate. While naturalists say our body has evolved to this point over millions of years, one of the most astonishing discoveries about the human body has raised serious questions about this theory.
Every living cell contains DNA, which is a tiny string of molecules located in each of the 10-50 trillion cells of our body. This sub-microscopic strand contains the code that tells the body exactly how to assemble itself and how to function once it has been assembled. If you will, it is the handbook of instructions that makes the body work. Without DNA the cells would not know what to do.
When a one-cell female egg is impregnated with a male sperm, something magical happens. I say "magical" because scientists don't know exactly why an egg begins to come "alive" when the sperm enters it. All we know is that it's at the point of conception that this one cell suddenly begins to replicate itself by dividing in two. Without being impregnated this cell division never takes place. Why that is, is something scientists can't fully explain.
As these cells split in two, they make exact copies of themselves. However, before long, new cells split off that are no longer the same as the original but have become transformed into different kinds of cells. The reason for this change is because the DNA is instructing each cell how and when to make these changes and it does this according to a very precise and set pattern.
But the process of developing life is much more complex than that. In order to grow and be healthy our bodies need protein. While there are many different kinds of proteins, they are all made from a combination of 20 different kinds of amino acids. Where do these amino acids come from? One place is from our bodies which are capable of making fourteen of them. Then our bodies put together these amino acids in various combinations to produce the various kinds of protein that it needs. But this requires the body to assemble various molecules in a very precise manner to not only make the various amino acids but then to assemble those acids in various combinations to make different kinds of proteins. How does the body know how to do all of this? The instructions are found in our DNA.
But an instructional handbook is useless without some way for it to be read. And the same is true of our body's DNA. There is a mechanism in each cell that is capable of opening up the DNA helix, reading the instructions contained in it, and then conveying those instructions to the various parts of the cell. Although we have learned how this process works we still don't know exactly why it works. To say that this process happens simply because a bunch of chemicals have been thrown together and are mindlessly interacting with one another is like saying that a fully assembled and functioning Boeing 747 airplane was created from an explosion in a scrap metal junkyard.
But what is most baffling to scientists is what causes this information to form in the DNA strand in the first place. There is nothing in nature to explain how this information became encrypted inside of our DNA. More than that, information is a product of intelligence. Almost all forms of animal life have some level of intelligence and therefore have the ability to convey information to one another. And the greater the level of intelligence an animal has the greater the complexity of information that animal can convey. On the other hand, although plants are living organisms, they don't appear to have any real intelligence, therefore, they cannot convey information to others.
While DNA is technically not a living organism, it nonetheless contains a high level of very sophisticated, complex information that each living cell is able to read, interpret, and act upon. To say that the information within each DNA strand just created itself through natural evolution is like saying that a highly technical 1,000 page instructional manual, complete with a hardcover and binding, came into existence from an explosion in a printing factory.
Yet another sign of intelligence is the ability to create objects that have a mathematical proportion to it that gives it symmetry and style. As scientists study nature, from the smallest atom to the incomprehensible vastness of the universe, they consistently keep finding evidence of mathematical proportions in every aspect of creation that amazes even some our most intellectually brilliant mathematicians. If we look at an atom we see it is a microscopic solar system where planets, known as electrons, orbit a central body known as the nucleus. The revolutions of these electrons is so precise that they can keep time better than any watch that intelligent man has been able to construct.
If all of this is true, then how can naturalists discount the evidence they see of intelligence behind all that happens in nature? The answer is simple. They define nature in such a way as to deliberately exclude the possibility that nature itself was intelligently designed. According to their definition, everything in nature happens according to the natural laws of physics. When they see something that seems to defy these natural laws, they simply say they have not yet learned all there is to know about nature.
However, by using their own definition, we would then have to say that every man-made object is also created by natural means because it came into existence according to natural laws. For example, an airplane doesn't fly through the sky because of some mysterious, magical, or supernatural force acting upon it. It is only able to do so because it strictly adheres to natural law. Therefore, when we see a fully assembled and perfectly function airplane traveling through the sky we would have to say that is the way "nature" designed it based on the reasoning that it is operating according to the laws of nature.
Perhaps we can use a better illustration to understand how naturalists exclude intelligence in nature.
When we send probes into space to far away planets such as Jupiter, Saturn, and beyond, as we did with Voyager 2, Galileo, and Casssini, we use a technique called Gravitational Slingshot Assist which uses the gravity of Venus to increase the speed of our probe so it can reach the outer planets of our solar system. The way this works is that we first send the probe to Venus, then let it get caught in its gravitational field. As it gets pulled closer to the planet, its speed increases. But, rather than going into orbit around Venus, the craft is slung off into space as it comes around the other side of the planet. In this way, the craft has now gained enough speed to take it to the outer reaches of our solar system.
Although this maneuver is done using the laws of physics that doesn't mean there is no intelligence needed to have the spacecraft get to where we want it to go. In fact, just the opposite is true. There is a tremendous amount of careful planning that is designed into the launch of each of these probes. We must make certain that the space craft arrives at Venus at the right time, at the right angle, and at the right speed. If any of these precise conditions are not met the craft could either go right past Venus, get stuck in a permanent orbit around the planet, or crash onto the planet's surface. We must also make sure that the probe leaves Venus at the right time, at the correct angle, and with the right amount of speed so it will arrive at its destination at the precise time needed to intersect with the planet we wish to study.
However, if someone on another world was watching our probe traveling through space they wouldn't see any intelligence behind its movements. Neither would they see our radio signals to the probe that would command it to alter its speed and direction. Therefore, it would be easy for them to logically conclude that our probe was just a chuck of metal floating about in space that just happened to arrive at a particular planet on its own according to the laws of chance. Even if they captured the instrument and examined its many different parts and discovered how they all interact with one another, if they use the same definition of nature that evolutionists use, they would conclude that it assembled itself in space through some natural process that they don't yet fully understand.
This is exactly how most naturalists view events in nature. When they see nature doing extraordinary things or the precision by which all living things operate, they explain it by saying that's just the way nature is.
On the other hand, when Christians see the intricate designs of nature and the flawless way in which it executes its movements, even down to the minutest detail, they see the evidence of an intelligent mind that is far beyond anything man posses. Furthermore, they believe that the God of the Bible is that intelligence. And because of that, they have come to believe that man is the center of God's attention because that is what the Bible seems to teach. While we may not physically be at the center of the universe where everything literally revolves around us, yet there are many Christians today who firmly believe that we earthly humans are the reason why God created all things. Therefore, in that sense, everything does revolve around us. And if that is true, then it is easy for many people to assume that human life cannot exist anywhere else except on this planet.
There are several reasons for this assumption. The first is that the Bible doesn't mention that God created any other people but us. Since many Christians believe that the Bible is God's complete word, if He had created other beings in His image on other planets they feel the Bible would certainly have mentioned this. Also, since the Bible seems to infer that this earth was the first thing God created, that it was created just for man, and that even the stars were placed in the sky specifically for our needs, that seems to indicate to some that there can only be one inhabited planet.
Yet another reason why Christians feel this way is because God sent His Son to this earth to die for our sins. If there are people living on other planets who have also sinned then how would God redeem them unless He sent His Son there to die again? To most Christians, that doesn't seem reasonable nor does it sound scriptural. Therefore they conclude that God has no need to create any other earths. Besides, with over 5 billion people living on the earth today, and many billions more that have lived here since the earth was created, and untold billions more that will yet live on earth, it would seem there are more than enough people on this one planet to satisfy even the creative needs of God.
However, just like evolutionists, Christians have their own set of troubling questions that challenges their theory about God and man. One of them is: If man is the center of God's attention, then why did He create such a large universe?
To help understand the magnitude of this question, we first need to put things in perspective. The earth is approximately 10 million times larger than the average person. To get a feel for how small we are in relationship to the earth, an ant is about an inch long while the average man is about 72 inches high. When we look down at the ground and see an ant, that would be like someone looking down on us from 432 feet in the air. If we stood on a six foot high platform we could still look down and see ants moving around on the ground, but if we were to go 864 feet in the air we could not see humans moving around on the earth. Therefore, in relationship to the size of the earth, we are smaller than ants.
If our sun were the size of a basketball, the earth would be the size of a pinhead and man would be the size of one human cell. But our sun is not the largest star in the universe or even in our Milky Way galaxy. If Antares, which is the fifteenth largest star in our galaxy, were placed in the center of our solar system it would encompass all the space out to Mars. By comparison, if Antares were the size of a basketball, our sun would be the size of a pinhead and earth would be smaller than one human cell.
Our sun resides in the Milky Way galaxy which is one billion times larger than our solar system and contains approximately 250 billion stars. To get a sense of the difference between our solar system and the Milky Way galaxy, if we were traveling at the speed of light, it would take us 7 hours and 50 minutes to go from our sun to the edge of our solar system. By comparison, traveling at the speed of light it would take 100,000 years for us to travel from one end of our galaxy to the other.
However, our galaxy is only a medium size one. There are others that contain as many as 400 billion stars. And, to date, scientists have estimated there are more than 130 billion galaxies in the known universe and more are continually being discovered.
The question Christians must ask themselves is, why did God create all of this if He supposedly made everything in the universe for the sake of those living on this world? The Bible says that God made the sun and moon to provide light to the earth and to help us tell time, but He didn't need to make a galaxy of stars to do that. So why did He make billions of galaxies, most of which we can't even see without the aid of a highly sophisticated telescope orbiting in space? And even then, distant galaxies appear to us as only tiny circles of light.
We know there are nine planets circling our Sun, half of which we can't see without the aid of special equipment but why did God make them if everything He did was for our sake? Scientists explain that the gas giants, Saturn and Jupiter, protect our planet from being hit by asteroids. And the reason why they are able to do this is because their strong gravitational fields help divert many of these asteroids away from the earth. But why did God create free roaming asteroids in the first place if just one of them could wipe out all life on this planet if it should hit us?
In addition to that, scientists have observed millions of new stars being created while at the same time witnessing millions of other that are either dying or that have already died. What does all of that have to do with man's existence on the earth? Even more puzzling is that scientists are coming to the conclusion that there is something called dark matter that is more abundant in space than is visible matter. Also, scientists have discovered that the universe is expanding at a phenomenal rate of speed. Why would God be doing all of this if everything He created was for the sake of man?
As we have already seen, whatever God does is done in a complex but orderly fashion, with precision on both a grand and microscopic scale, which strongly suggests there is a deliberate and wise purpose to all of His creations. As we look at nature we find that nothing God does is unimportant or unneeded. It all fits together in a highly synchronized and harmonious manner. Then why would God create such a vast, limitless, complex universe with an infinite variety of things in it if His primary reason for creating all of this in the beginning was for man's sake? Are we really all that important to Him or is He perhaps busy creating bigger and more magnificent creations than the ant-sized creature we call man?
Unfortunately, Christianity as a whole has no answer to these questions because most of them rely only on what is found in the Bible for their understanding of God's ways. Like the evolutionists, they narrow their definition of God's word to the point that it excludes anything not found in the Bible. And, since the Bible doesn't provide answers to these sorts of questions, their knowledge of what God is doing is limited.
However, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes that the Bible is not the only source of revelation from God. And it is from these other revelations that we learn that God's takes the chaos found in the universe and organizes the elements through natural means to bring forth worlds without number, many of which are inhabited. From these revelations we further learn that this earth was not God's first creative work nor will it be His last because His works are endless, meaning there will be no end to them. Therefore, He will continue creating earths for all eternity because it is His glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of men whereby they can be crowned with glory and honor.
When we look at the heavens and consider the moon and the stars we see God at work in all of His majesty. And when we come to understand the wise purpose behind what God is doing we not only better appreciate why He is so mindful of man but we also come to better understand why, the more we study nature, the more we see so much intelligent design.