The Amazing Planet Earth
One of the most memorable images of our planet earth is a picture taken 240,000 miles away from Apollo 11, close to the surface of the moon. This photo was taken just before the lunar module successfully landed on the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969. The planet earth looked like an immense blue marble suspended in space while the lifeless, creviced, and potted lunar surface predominated the bottom of the picture. As the lunar module was getting ready to land on the moon, the moon’s horizon had a slight curvature that was easy to recognize. The earth’s image in the background appears to be gradually rising, as if someone is pulling it up with an invisible string ever so slowly. It was seen when the lunar module touched the surface of the moon during the two astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin’s, short stay on the moon. The impressive sight of these two gigantic spheres being part of the cosmic background is one of the most historical moments of humanity.
It was an epic event with a worldwide television audience some estimated to include nearly one billion people. All focused in to witness a journey where man for the first time in recorded history would put his feet on another large sphere in space — the moon. It was a moment for all to remember that Neil Armstrong appropriately described as, “…one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” When Armstrong was asked how he came up with this famous and memorable statement, his thoughts focused on the unified colossal effort to make the first lunar walk possible.
This event can easily be noted as one of the greatest achievements in the 20th century. It was an epic event with a worldwide television audience some estimated to include nearly one billion people. All focused in to witness a journey where man for the first time in recorded history would put his feet on another large sphere in space — the moon. It was a moment for all to remember that Neil Armstrong appropriately described as, “…one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” When Armstrong was asked how he came up with this famous and memorable statement, his thoughts focused on the unified colossal effort to make the first lunar walk possible. This event can easily be noted as one of the greatest achievements in the 20th century.
It took 400,000 people working behind the scenes to accomplish this goal. Armstrong never lost sight of this fact. He kept a humble perspective amongst all the fanfare and accolades awarded him as the first man who walked on the moon. He understood that this effort would be a “gigantic leap for mankind.” In his speeches, he very often acknowledged the many people behind the scenes. Not many are aware that Buzz Aldrin took communion on the moon during a five-hour rest period and radio silence after the Lunar Module landed. Both Armstrong and Aldrin were to relax before their historic walk on the lunar surface.
It would be the first time liquid was poured into a cup and food was consumed on the moon in the form of bread and wine, which are the elements used for communion. Aldrin gave honor and praise to the all-powerful God on the surface of the moon using the verse, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Aldrin prepared for this moment and chose this verse to show his faith in Christ. Abiding, being grafted and united with the One who made us, loves us, and keeps us for all eternity is perfectly fitting for this magnificent moment in the history of humanity.
As Neil Armstrong walked on the lunar surface, he was amazed by how it reflected light from the sun. Different from his home planet, the curvature of the moon was more pronounced according to Armstrong. Ed Bradley (1941- 2006) from 60 Minutes interviewed the illusive Neil Armstrong on November 6, 2005, and posed the question, “The pictures that came back looked quite remarkable; what did that look like to you?” Armstrong, for many years, stood in the background and did not like to be singled out as the “spaceman.” He thoughtfully replied, “It is a brilliant surface in that sunlight, the horizon seems so much closer to you because the curvature is more pronounced than here on earth.” Armstrong continues, “It is an interesting place to be, and I recommend it.”
Years would pass by, and some conspiracy theorists challenged these men who put their lives on the line and called them liars. In spite of the 400,000 workers, and so many thousands of others, who were firsthand witnesses of the numerous space missions, there are still many who believe that it was all a hoax. Even with all the recent evidence that the Hubble Telescope brought to us of the heavenly bodies, the satellite images from space including the existing space station and all the NASA missions to the moon and mars, they stubbornly deny that man ever went into space which is mind-boggling.
This year, we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of this remarkable journey of Apollo 11. Michael Collins, the Commander of the space ship Columbia, Neil Armstrong who piloted the lunar module to a well-maneuvered, safe landing, and Buzz Aldrin were the first humans to walk on the moon. They left their mark in our history books as the first astronauts out of a total of twelve who walked on the moon.
CIRCUMNAVIGATING THE GLOBE
Why was Armstrong impressed with the curvature of the moon? The moon curvature can easily be seen as compared to that of the earth because the width (diameter) of the moon is one quarter the size of the planet. Because the earth is much bigger than the moon, its curvature is hardly noticeable. The horizon is the furthest point we can see, which disappears about 3 miles away from a six-foot person. Of course, the higher you are, the greater the chance you will be able to see the curvature. This is because the earth is basically spherical.
The roundness of the earth is easily observable in the ocean where the horizon disappears before the observer’s eyes. This phenomenon occurs in any direction. When one moves north, south, east, or west, there seems to be endless horizon, demonstrating that the earth is round. The earth was always considered a sphere even before Columbus navigated the Americas in the 1490’s. This knowledge is traced back to over two thousand years ago from the early Greek philosophers. They concluded that the world was round by their observations made on land.
As Greeks observed ships seen on the horizon, they could easily see the top of sails slowly disappear from all directions. When they saw these same ships return, their sails would again gradually appear. They also observed the lunar eclipses from different places on the earth. When the moon, earth, and sun line up on their respective orbits, the earth’s shadow is seen clearly on the face of the moon. If one believes that the earth flattens in any way, then everyone on earth would have the opportunity to witness the lunar eclipse. However, only half the earth can see it at a time, therefore dismissing the idea that the earth is flat.
As time went on, oceans were used by many others to travel around the earth. Explorers’ navigation skills centered on the curvature of the planet. They accurately used the movement of the heavenly bodies, which included the stars, the moon, and the sun to reach their destinations. Early explorers navigated oceans without fear of falling off the earth. There was an ever-present concern that the vast oceans would present challenges to having enough supplies and food to complete their journey. They even estimated correctly that the earth’s circumference was 25,000 miles. It was as early as 240 B.C. that the Greek astronomer Eratosthenes produced a reliable measurement of the size of the earth.
The first voyage to circumnavigate the earth was led by the famous Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan (1480–1521). He would navigate the boundless oceans in search of riches in the form of spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper. At that time, Magellan set out from Spain in 1519 and courageously traveled west to find a new route for fame and fortune. The Europeans went east to retrieve these spices from what they termed the Spice Islands, which today is correctly named the Maluku Islands in northeast Indonesia. Unfortunately, Magellan never made it back home and only a remnant of his original crew (18 of 270 shipmates) actually made it home safely. Not only did they have rough waters as a result of terrible storms, but they also had to fend off foreign enemies. Magellan’s historical route demonstrates that our planet could be circumnavigated via the path of the seas. He made important discoveries that would affirm that the earth was indeed a round sphere. He would begin his journey west from Spain and his crew would return from the east, completing a circuit. He could only accomplish this feat if the earth were round. While doing this, he discovered a new route called the Strait of Magellan which still exists today. This route is the natural passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. It is located south of Chile, the southern point of South America with many small islands. He named the Pacific Ocean, calling it in Portuguese, “Mar Pacifico,” which means “peaceful sea.” His exhibition navigated for 98 days across the Pacific Ocean to the Spice Islands. This was the first time in history that a European navigated across the Pacific Ocean. Of all the accolades, Ferdinand Magellan will always be proclaimed as the first to circumnavigate the earth by the sea.
It would take another 400 years plus for man to navigate the earth in the air. Wiley Post, an American navigator, would be the first to fly solo around the world. It was April 12th, 1961, during the space race, that the Soviet Union took the lead over the U.S. during the space race after putting the first satellite in space. They then went a step further, leaving the U.S. behind when they sent the first man to orbit the spherical shaped planet, Yuri Gagarin.
These explorers of space, sea, and air give us human witness confirmation of the irrefutable and indisputable proof that the planet earth is a sphere hanging in the heavens.
CREATED TO BE A SPHERE
When you observe objects both in space and on earth, you can’t help but see a familiar spherical shape. That came about not by mistake but by design. The God who planned and put everything in motion gave us the universal laws of the universe. The planets orbiting the Sun as well as many of the various large objects that revolve around them are spheres. Even the Sun has a spherical design.
The answer to this question is illustrated in the shape of drops of oil and water that we can observe here on earth. The teardrop of water dripping from a faucet demonstrates the principle of how water molecules stick together. At the bottom of the water droplet there is a spherical curvature similar to that of the earth. The reason lies in that there are equal forces interacting on the bottom while on the top of the water droplet, forces are unequal. They are unequal because molecules on top resist separation from each other. That is the extraordinary property of water. It has a particular type of bonding called Hydrogen Bonding, which is so vital in living functions.
In an oil droplet, this unique type of bonding doesn’t exist. The molecules in oil droplets do not attract each other strongly like water molecules do. Oil droplet molecules are weak but equal throughout, producing the spherical shape. When balanced forces are interacting on a visible object in space, you observe a circle in three dimensions, which is a spherical shape. The earth’s roundness is because of the equal forces pulling it together as we witness with observable large heavenly bodies such as the moons, planets, and stars. Because the earth rotates on its axis at 1,000 miles per hour, it causes the rounded shape to become an ellipsoid because of the outside acceleration. We don’t feel this motion because it is constant.
The planet earth is unique because it has liquid water and plenty of it. Its surface is covered with 71% oceans. The rounded surface of the earth causes unequal heating, which produces changes in weather patterns. It provides a mechanism for water in the form of clouds, rain, and snow to be transported to all parts of the earth. The deserts are exceptions, but we know water is a vital resource for all living organisms, including man. There are polar regions where the Sun is the furthest distance away and is consequently the coldest part of the world, whereas the tropical areas of the earth are warmest. The air is another gift of our Creator filled with the majority of gases that are ideal for life. It surrounds the planet with its physical properties that interact with the curvature of the earth to give distinctive features of climatic zones. These are unique features of the earth that assist in keeping water distributed throughout our planet.
Added to the above features of the curved surfaces of the earth, we see that it rotates on its axis with a 23.5-degree tilt. These components affect the dynamic movement not only of water but also of the wind that produces storms, hurricanes, and typhoons. The 23.5-degree angle provides seasons that we recognize with different temperature effects and weather conditions depending on where you are on the globe. We are also aware that the rotation of the earth produces the Coriolis Effect. As the world rotates in space, it causes its curved motion of freely moving objects like liquids and gases on the surface of the earth. All objects that move freely over the surface of the planet, including the atmospheric circulation, ocean currents, and tides are influenced by the Coriolis Effect. It does not affect wind or current speed but direction. The effect is witnessed as hurricanes and massive storm systems are observed by the wind direction change depending on the hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere, the winds move counter-clockwise and in the Southern Hemisphere, clockwise. The Coriolis Effect can also be noticed in the current flow of the ocean basis. The curvature of the earth plays a significant role along with the Coriolis Effect in determining the direction of these winds.
In conclusion, the role of meteorological science and basic physical laws are violated when one considers anything other than a round earth. It also encroaches on God’s universal design as we observe objects here on earth and throughout the entire Cosmos.
CREATED AND RESTORED
The sphere represents a sense of equilibrium, a balance of forces that are stable. These heavenly bodies give us that sense of equilibrium for the most part, with the exception of few supernovae that are remnants of an exploding star. We are on God’s timeline on earth, and the universe is restless waiting for the appointed time when it will destroy itself by God’s command. The old will pass away through God’s eternal judgment. He will offset the equilibrium observed today as it says in 2 Peter 3:10, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” (KJV)
The heavens and the earth will one day be restored anew with God in our presence so that we will be blameless because of His sacrifice at Calvary. There will be no more suffering as we enjoy our Lord on the heavenly throne as it continues in 2 Peter 3:13, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (KJV)
The circle or sphere has no end. There are no corners or edges to define an end. This represents endlessness as we think of our Creator who holds all things together. In a similar way, the circle is used as a symbol in marriage in the form of a ring — love without end. We know that God loves without end and our final resting place will be with Him where there is total equilibrium with all forces in balance to give Him true honor. When we exchange rings in marriage with Christ, the Bridegroom of the Church, He will love us with eternal life that never ends. We are to love Him as it states in Matthew 22:37, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (KJV)
If one subscribes to the belief that the earth is flat you are forced to deny the creative design our Creator and Savior put before us to declare His glory to the fullest. This phenomenon is part of God’s creation as we observe it today. We are reminded in Colossians 1:16-17 that all things visible and invisible were created and are held together by Christ:
For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (NKJV)