Scientists Discover God's Universe Produces Life Universally

Rabbi Allen S. Maller

During Medieval times most Christian theologians accepted the Ptolemaic earth centered Greek view of the universe as an absolute universal truth. Some Christians still think that humans must be at the literal center of God's creation. Thus they believe that the rarity of life in our universe proves that God must have created life on this planet. The Bible and the Qur'an however teach that the Living God created the whole universe to be conducive to the universal evolution of life. The Zabur of David says, “Your kingdom is a kingdom of all worlds; and Your dominion is for all generations.” (Zabur-Psalms 145:13); and the Qur'an says, “We have not sent you but as a blessing for all the worlds.” (Al-Anbiya 107). Muslim commentators say this refers to the 18.000 worlds created by Allah. Our world is one of them. (Mir'at-e-Kainat, vol.1, p.77) Two recent studies support this Biblical and Qur'anic view.

One study in the journal Nature reported by ScienceDaily (Oct. 26, 2011) found that organic compounds of unexpected complexity exist throughout the Universe. Thus. complex organic compounds are not the sole domain of life, but can be made naturally by stars. This means that life is not a random fluke; the universe itself is formed to create life. Organic substances commonly found throughout the Universe contain a mixture of ring-like and chain-like components. The compounds are so complex that their chemical structures resemble those of coal and petroleum. Since coal and oil are remnants of ancient life, this type of organic matter was thought to arise only from living organisms. The team's discovery suggests that complex organic compounds can be synthesized in space even when no life forms have yet evolved. Thank God.

The researchers investigated an unsolved phenomenon: a set of infrared emissions detected in stars, interstellar space, and galaxies. These spectral signatures are known as "Unidentified Infrared Emission features." For over two decades, the most commonly accepted theory on the origin of these signatures has been that they come from simple organic molecules made of carbon and hydrogen atoms. New observations showed that the astronomical spectra have features that cannot be explained by simple molecules. Instead, the team proposes that the substances generating these infrared emissions have chemical structures that are much more complex. By analyzing spectra of star dust formed in exploding stars called novae, they show that stars are making these complex organic compounds on extremely short time scales of weeks.

Not only are stars producing this complex organic matter, they are also ejecting it into the general interstellar space, the region between stars. The work supports an earlier idea that old stars are molecular factories capable of manufacturing organic compounds. "Our work has shown that stars have no problem making complex organic compounds under near-vacuum conditions," said researcher Kwok. "Theoretically, this is impossible, but observationally we can see it happening." (Thank God) Most interestingly, this organic star dust is similar in structure to complex organic compounds found in meteorites. Since meteorites are remnants of the early Solar System, the findings raise the possibility that stars enriched the early Solar System with organic compounds. The early Earth was subjected to severe bombardments by comets and asteroids, which would have carried organic star dust to planet earth.

Another study published in the Nov. 20, 2011 edition of Astrophysical Journal found that methanol formation is the major chemical pathway to complex organic molecules in interstellar space, If scientists can identify regions where conditions are right for rich methanol production, they will be better able to understand where and how the complex organic molecules needed to create life are formed. Using powerful telescopes on Earth, scientists have observed large concentrations of simple molecules such as carbon monoxide in the clouds that give birth to new stars. In order to make more complex organic molecules, hydrogen needs to enter the chemical process. The best way for this chemistry to occur is on the surfaces of tiny dust grains in space. In the right conditions, carbon monoxide on the surface of interstellar dust can react at low temperatures with hydrogen to create methanol (CH3OH).

Methanol then serves as an important steppingstone to formation of the much more complex organic molecules required to create life. Scientists discovered that methanol is most abundant around a very small number of newly formed stars. Not all young stars reach such potential for organic chemistry. In fact, the range in methanol concentration varies from negligible amounts in some regions of the interstellar space to approximately 30% of the ices around a handful of newly formed stars. They also discovered methanol for the first time in low concentrations (1 to 2 percent) in the cold clouds that will eventually give birth to new stars.

If life only forms on planets with stars that have high concentrations of methanol, life would be very rare in our universe. But when scientists compared their results with methanol concentrations in comets in our own solar system they found that methanol concentrations at the birth of our solar system were actually closer to the average of what they saw elsewhere in interstellar space. Methanol concentrations in our solar system were fairly low, at only a few percent. (Comets are time capsules that preserve the early history of our solar system because they contain material that hasn't changed since the solar system was formed.) "This means that our solar system wasn't particularly lucky and didn't have the large amounts of methanol that we see around some other stars in the galaxy," one researcher said. I say that random luck has nothing to do with it. More and more evidence is accumulating that nature has been formed to create life: Thank God. “The heavens declare the glory of God. The universe proclaims God's handiwork.” (Zabur of David-Psalms 19:2)

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