CreationWiki’s Bad Argument Against ‘Any Other Earths’

CreationWiki believes that the Bible teaches that there aren’t “any other Earths.” At least, that’s the argument presented in their Extraterrestrial Life article:

Consider this well-known verse, which Astronaut Jim Lovell, one of the first three men to orbit the moon, read aloud on that occasion:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1 (KJV)

Note carefully: the earth. Not an earth, and not one earth among many, but the earth.

The Gospels, especially the one according to John, refer repeatedly to “the world,” in the context of both its beginning and its ending. Again, it refers to the world, not a world, nor to more than one world.

Shortly thereafter, article later repeats its argument for “THE world.”

The Revelation also makes references to the world, both in the sense of the cosmos (the natural world) and to the oikoumenes (the inhabited world, the world of men).The world–and more than that, the whole world, the entire world. The word translated world here is oikoumenes, which originally stood for all the known world over which the Roman Empire held sway but which now stands for everywhere that humans live. As if to press the point, John here adds the feminine form of the word holos, whence the English word “whole.” He also quotes Jesus Christ as referring to “dwellers on the earth.” Again, the earth, not an earth or even this earth, or any other article or pronoun, demonstrative, personal, or otherwise, that might suggest that any earth other than or in addition to our familiar earth exists, much less is inhabited.

It pains me to see such poor hermeneutics applied to the Bible. Even as Wiki articles go, it’s really bad. I stumbled upon it during my research for Strangers and AliensI realize that Wiki pages can be edited by just about anyone, but in this case this particular page was last edited 2 years ago by Temlakos (aka Terry Hurlbutt), one of the admins. In other words, this is the Gospel truth according to CreationWiki, which is a project of the Northwest Creation Network. 

One hard and fast rule of sound Biblical hermeneutics is to remember that a text without a context is a pretext for error. The book of Revelation is primarily concerned with events on our Earth. It never prohibits the existence of other earths. Alien worlds simply aren’t germaine to  what Revelation is trying yo relate, namely: the future of planet Earth. These passages are descriptive not prescriptive. The context of the passages is speaking to our earth, but that that doesn’t preclude the existence of other earths; even the CreationWiki article admits (in a footnote) that “Any planet would be ‘earth’ to those that lived on it, just as any given people would be ‘the people’ to its members.” It’s a matter of perspective.

The moon is illustrative of the problem with CreationWiki’s argument. The Bible always refers to the the moon, not a moon or even our moon, or any other article or pronoun, demonstrative, personal, or otherwise, that might suggest that any moon other than or in addition to our familiar moon exists. Yet many of the planets in our own Solar system have moons. We conclude therefore that even though the Bible mentions no other moons, the Bible is not falsified by the fallacy of accentbeing employed by CreationWiki.

A fallacy of accent occurs arises when the meaning of a sentence is changed by placing an unusual prosodic stress on a particular word. CreationWiki basically places an unusual emphasis on the article “the.”

More broadly, CreationWiki is quoting out-of-context, assigning meaning to the text by a particular accent that was never indicated or intended.

The CreationWiki article also suffers from a fallacy of definition  (i.e., Definitions that fail to have merit because they are overly broad, use obscure or ambiguous language, or contain circular reasoning). In other words, the never define what is meant by “the earth” in question.

If they simply mean “this place,” they’re simply begging the question.

We note that Earth is a planet. If we were consistent in our application of this fallacy of accent, we would suggest that they mean that “the earth” is equivalent to saying “the planet.” The Bible mentions no other planets; in fact, planets are never mentioned. At all. Just like aliens. Any passages which name celestial bodies we now know are planets refer to them as stars. Do planets besides the Earth not exist? Are they just misleading lights in the sky compounded by deceptive images from NASA?

I’m sure the folks at CreationWiki believe other planets actually exist. Rather than argue that “the earth” is equivalent to “the planet” to preserve their fallacy of accent, I’m sure they equate an earth with a planet capable of supporting life. Our search for other Earths among exoplanets must seem blasphemous, futile or really scary to these guys. They must rely on an argument from present ignorance to back their claim to the exclusivity of life on Earth.

During the press conference in February 2017 announcing the discovery of seven Earth-sized exoplanets in the Trappist-1 system, Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, warned that, “This discovery gives us a hint that finding a second Earth is not just a matter of if, but when,” Rest assured, if an Earth 2 is ever discovered, the logical fallacies of those claiming that the Bible forbids the existence of new Earths never had any merit to begin with.

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