For decades there have been projects like SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, predicated on the assumption that the universe is so vast surely ours is not the only planet that can sustain sentient life. Surely there must be others; surely we are not alone.
But findings in a study recently released by astronomers suggest, “The number of planets in the universe that could sustain alien life is much smaller than had been thought.”
These findings are addressed in an article titled, “Maybe we are alone after all: Planets that could sustain alien life much rarer than thought,” that originally appeared on USA Today.
The study’s co-author and biogeochemist with the University of California-Riverside Timothy Lyons said, “Our results indicate that complex ecosystems like ours cannot exist in most regions of the habitable zone as traditionally defined.” The habitable zone is defined as a place “where liquid water could exist on a planet’s surface.”
While many planets have liquid water they also have toxic atmospheres making it impossible for the “rich ecosystems like we find on Earth today” to exist.
Lead author of the study, NASA’s Edward Schwieterman said, “To sustain liquid water at the outer edge of the conventional habitable zone, a planet would need tens of thousands of times more carbon dioxide than Earth has today, that’s far beyond the levels known to be toxic to human and animal life on Earth… As far as we know, Earth is the only planet in the universe that can sustain human life.”
These findings lend credence to the anthropic principle which is the idea that life, especially complex life forms like humans, is sustained by observable constants in natural phenomena that if they were even slightly altered human life as we know it could not exist.
It appears the universe was tailor-made for man’s existence, and that implies an Intelligent Designer, a Creator God. The universe, “the heavens and the earth” in biblical language, is an observable effect for which the only sufficient cause is an omniscient, omnipotent Creator. Observable science unerringly points in this direction.
The psalmist says of our Creator, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me,” Psalm 139:7-10.
I read about a man who once asked God “if there was life in outer space?” He said God replied, “I’m out here.” Simple and direct, it sounds like something God would say and what the psalmist wrote about.
In simple eloquence the psalmist’s word-picture declares the omnipresence of God. While some may deny His existence, and ignore His presence, the truth is we have never been alone.