God’s Great Bubble of Protection
Have you ever thought how amazing it is that the Earth seems to be perfectly situated as a habitat for man? Man needs water to survive, and the Earth has a hydrology system that cleans and purifies water on a regular and consistent basis. Man also needs food, and in every part of the Earth plants grow that provide a stable and consistent food source for man. The same ecosystem provides materials that mankind uses to build shelter against the Earth’s natural elements of wind, rain, cold, and heat. Man breathes oxygen, and once again we have just the right balance due to the consumption of carbon dioxide and production of oxygen by plants. Indeed, the Earth is well suited for the existence of man, as Paul writes in Acts 17:25-26, “he gives to all life, and breath, and all things; and has made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the Earth, and has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.” Scientists refer to this phenomenon as the Anthropic Principle, and find more and more evidence each year of a unique providence for mankind. Let’s look at some of these layers and see the manifold protections they offer.
One such area of providence occurs within the layers of protection that surround the Earth. The Earth’s atmosphere acts as a shield against all sorts of things that might harm humans. It filters out deadly radiation, while at the same time allowing life-giving sunlight to pass through. It burns up thousands of small meteorites that would otherwise bombard us on a regular basis. It regulates Earth’s temperature by preventing rapid heat loss or gain. It dissipates and decomposes harmful gases and particulates that might interfere with normal breathing. It also circulates air from warmer to cooler climates, maintaining a relatively moderate temperature on the surface of the Earth.
The Earth also has an electromagnetic shield known as the magnetosphere. This shield is generated as the liquid part of the Earth’s core revolves around the solid part of the core, thereby forming a giant electromagnetic generator. This shield is 10-20 times the size of the Earth, and is constantly surrounding us. The magnetosphere provides tremendous protection from the forces of the Sun as they are hurled toward Earth at (literally) astronomic speeds. When the solar wind collides with Earth’s magnetosphere, a shock wave is formed. This wave diverts magnetized plasma that, if not diverted, would bathe the Earth in radioactive particles that would be harmful almost all life on the planet. But the magnetosphere does more than just protect Earth against shock waves. Two additional layers of the magnetosphere, known as the Van Allen Belts, provide additional protection from those particles that get through the magnetosphere. The Van Allen Belts act as a sort of particle vacuum cleaner, sucking up these stray particles into its magnetic field, thus providing the Earth with additional protection from harmful rays.
Most recently, however, scientists have discovered another bubble of protection. This bubble is known as the heliosphere. This is the bubble that is created by the Sun’s solar wind. It extends around the solar system. (It is about four times the size of the orbit of the planet Neptune.) The heliosphere also has an edge (known as the heliosheath) where the solar wind stops. The heliosheath is important to mankind because it protects the Earth from galactic cosmic rays. These rays are produced by supernovas and black holes, and travel near the speed of light. They are dangerous because they can alter man’s DNA. As the first line of defense, the heliosheath deflects such particles from even entering our solar system at all.
The heliosheath, the magnetosphere, and our atmosphere are all bubbles of protection from the many harmful forces that exist within our Universe. Without these layers of protection, mankind could not exist. Do such layers of protection exhibit intelligence and design that is beyond that for which mere material substance can account? Indeed they do! We can conclude that such protection is evidence of an intelligent Designer, and that such providence demonstrates a care and concern for mankind that is beyond that which is purely materialistic in nature. Praise God for His wonderful bubbles of protection!