Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system – over ten times the size of Earth in diameter. Like the sun, it is an enormous ball of hydrogen and helium gas with smaller amounts of other elements held together by its own gravity. Although hydrogen and helium are the two lightest elements, Jupiter has so much of them that its mass is greater than the rest of the planets combined, and yet is only 0.1% the mass of the sun. The pressure of the gases increases as we dive deeper into Jupiter, and at some point, they are forced into a liquid state. But Jupiter has no solid surface.
“At most terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.” So begins the H.G Wells classic science fiction novel War of the Worlds in which technologically advanced Martians invade the Earth. More than any other planet, Mars has captured the imagination of science fiction enthusiasts. Why is this?
“The Earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it” (Psalm 24:1). It’s not the largest planet, nor the brightest. It is one planet among billions, perhaps even billions of billions. But the Earth is uniquely designed for life (Isaiah 45:18). This makes it quite different from any other known world. And while it may not be the center of the physical universe, the Earth is certainly central to God’s plan of redemption.
The second planet from the sun is another example of the Lord’s creativity and resists secular origins scenarios. Venus appears as a bright and stunningly beautiful star in Earth’s sky. For this reason, it was named for the Roman goddess of love and beauty. Being nearly the size of Earth, and the closest planet to Earth, Venus has been the subject of many stories – especially in science fiction. The second book of C.S. Lewis’s excellent space trilogy takes place on Venus. In reality, Venus turns out to be far more interesting than any science fiction writer could have imagined.