You’ve had your Thanksgiving Dinner. Maybe you used the day to give thanks for things great and small. Maybe not.
But here’s a new take.
I’ve been reading a book* that has astounding things we take for granted, where a person can only catch their breath, where gratitude is the only response.
The moon stabilizes the tilt of the Earth’s axis. It gives us our seasons. It means surface temperatures do not go in wild swings.
Earth’s tilt varies only about a degree and a half.
The moon’s size is unique compared to any other body in our solar system. Mercury and Venus have no moons. Mars has only two tiny moons, perhaps asteroids. Their tilts are extensive and chaotic.
Our moon is 60% responsible for our tides. These wash nutrients from our continents into the sea. Here, organisms are fed and live in a salt concentration that is perfect for supporting life.
Did you know some scientists now believe “plate tectonics (to be) the central requirement for life on a planet?” (192) No other bodies in our solar system have this. And oceans are required to lubricate and make plate movements easier.
In part, they serve as a “kind of thermostat to keep the greenhouse gases in balance and our surface temperature under control.” (193)
Our magnetic field is crucial for shielding us from low-level cosmic rays. Solar wind particles would “directly interact with the upper atmosphere, stripping it away. Water would be lost more quickly.” (194)
“Ores and their placement close to the Earth’s surface are the results of much more than simple geologic change.” (195)
Even the eclipse is unique - viewed better on Earth than from any other planet in our solar system. Our place gives us a unique perch from which to see more of the wonders of space.
All these are just a sampling. Perhaps I’ll someday write more on this subject.
Suffice it to say that this place we call Earth is a wonder for forces and conditions all called together, that makes it so exceptional.
Maybe there are other outposts in our universe that have these.
But, based on recent discoveries, many scientists are
becoming more dubious.
Just the fact of Jupiter shields us from many incoming asteroids. The surface of our moon would be too small to do this effectively.
So the next time you go to the refrigerator for a sandwich, maybe stop to think about even the wonder of gravity. Too much and we couldn’t move, or it would be too exhausting. Too little and we float off into space.
The truth is our world is a panoply of the miraculous that surrounds us. The very fact we exist is incredible. But, like ants to an anthill, maybe sometimes we are too close to see it.
Astronomy is a good reminder.
We travel in a circular orbit as does the sun. Whoever thinks that, if it were an elliptical orbit, we’d be drawn ever closer to the center of our galaxy. Here black holes would wait to consume us?
Take a moment. Stop to look out your window. Look and think about all the conditions that must be just right. All the systems in play. All in perfect balance and symmetry and order.
There is so much to be thankful for - both on a micro and macro scale.
Thanks to a book I am reading: The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel. I’d highly recommend it.
John Bragstad is the author of two books, available on Amazon.