Accidental Occurrences

No discussion of the moon should conclude without mentioning that its very existence is the result of a series of “accidental occurrences.”  It was recently shown by Professor A. G. W. Cameron of Harvard University that the moon resulted from “the impact on the Earth of a planetary body a little larger than Mars.”(1) Computer simulations have established how our moon was formed from remnants of the collision between a planetary body and the earth.  Our moon is thus unique, having been formed by a process quite different from that responsible for the formation of the other moons of the solar system.

It should be emphasized that the detailed computer calculations of Professor Cameron and his colleagues have demonstrated that the moon would not have resulted from a collision between planetary bodies unless certain stringent conditions were met.  Our moon was formed from a planetary collision because the colliding body just happened to have the required mass, just happened to have the required relative velocity and angle of collision, and just happened to have the required composition for its core and mantle.  If these constraints on the motion and composition of the colliding body had not been satisfied, then the collision would have been shattering and no moon would have formed.

We reiterate that the moon is not merely an attractive ornament that decorates the night sky.  The moon has played a crucial role in producing and maintaining the present mild climate on the earth.  The weather we now enjoy is completely different from the extremely harsh climate that prevailed during the preceding ice age.  The mild climate of the past few thousand years has permitted the flourishing of human society.  Indeed, the condition of man’s existence has been decisively altered by the many profound cultural changes that have occurred since the end of the ice age.  Impressive accomplishments have been recorded in every sphere of human endeavor.  Major technological advances have transformed man from a modest inhabitant of the earth to the triumphant conqueror of the moon—all within the short span of a few thousand years.  This unprecedented blossoming of human activity, leading to man’s accelerated cultural development, has been made possible by the recent dramatic improvement in the weather worldwide.  And the weather we experience today is directly related to the influence of the moon on the earth.

(1) “Science and the Citizen,” Scientific American, vol. 254, June 1986, pp. 67-68.

excerpt from: “In the Beginning: Biblical Creation and Science,” by Professor Nathan Aviezer

Posted in: Jewish Beliefs & Philosophy