Tag Archives: fomes peccati

Creation: “Goldilocks” Earth

We are told by astronomers that the Universe has countless Earth-like planets and, by implication, the possibility of intelligent life abounds.

Dr. Hugh Ross is an astronomer, physicist, Christian, and contrarian who holds a very different view.

According to Ross, our Earth is like the fairy tale Goldilocks: It is not too big nor too small, but somehow has just the right amounts of certain important minerals so as to support not just life, but intelligent life.

Too much water would mean an Earth of all oceans and no continents. Too much carbon would mean an atmosphere so thick as to make lungs inoperable and photosynthesis impossible. Too little phosphorous would mean no assembly of DNA and RNA molecules — the building blocks of life.

Can someone say “Intelligent Design”?

The frightening thing about this is: If our Earth is really unusual, perhaps unique, that means we human beings — we woefully flawed “tinder for sin” (fomes peccati, the Latin for the concupiscence of Original Sin) — are really alone in this infinitesimally vast Universe . . . .



Earth’s Unique Element Abundances

December 21, 2009

By Dr. Hugh Ross

Earth is not at all ordinary in its assortment of elements and compounds.

For the planet’s size and distance from its star, it possesses an anomalous (abnormal) amount of every measurable element and compound. Today, the list of such uniquely abundant or scarce substances includes water, carbon, sulfur, phosphorus, uranium, and thorium. Each of these anomalous amounts proves to be a vital requirement for advanced life and a significant piece of evidence that Earth was supernaturally designed for humanity’s benefit.

study performed by two MIT planetary scientists showed that Earth is actually lacking in both water and carbon. They produced the most detailed model to date of degassing during the accretion phase of planetary formation for planets ranging in mass from 1 to 30 times the mass of Earth.1 The team based their models on measurements of the bulk compositions in the most primitive meteorites found in the solar system. These ancient remnants of the solar system’s protoplanetary disk represent the material from which Earth formed. They contain up to 20 percent by mass of water.

Using the range of water and carbon found in such meteorites and modeling how much of that water and carbon would be retained in the formation process by Earths and super-Earths, the MIT scientists determined that degassing during the accretion process alone would result in water and carbon compounds making up to 20 percent and 5 percent of the mass of Earths and super-Earths, respectively. They found, too, that using even modest estimates of water and carbon in the meteorites resulted in Earths and super-Earths ending up with very deep oceans and very thick atmospheres.

The problem posed by deep oceans is that no conceivable amount of plate tectonic activity would ever produce continents. Without continents there would be no possibility for land life, and many important nutrient-recycling mechanisms would be absent. The problem posed by thick atmospheres loaded with carbon compounds is that such atmospheres would trap tremendous amounts of heat, would result in such high atmospheric pressures as to make lungs inoperable, and would block out so much stellar light as to impede photosynthesis.

While water and carbon are essential for life, too little or too much proves deadly, especially in the case of advanced life. Earth possesses the just-right amount of each. The MIT team’s study underscored Earth’s uniqueness. For a planet as large as it is and as far away as it is from its star, Earth is miraculously water- and carbon-poor. Water makes up just 0.02 percent of Earth’s mass; carbon just 0.003 percent.

Measurements on Mars reveal another way in which our life-friendly home is unusual among its planetary peers. Earth is sulfur poor, especially in the sulfur compounds most hazardous to life. Two planetary scientists, Fabrice Gaillard and Bruno Scaillet, determined that the Martian mantle contains at least three to four times as much sulfur as does Earth’s and that volcanic gas emissions during the late stages of Mars’ history are ten to a hundred times richer in sulfur and sulfur compounds than similar emissions on Earth.2

Mars’ atmosphere was tenuous (just one bar or less) during the late stages of its history. Such a thin atmosphere implies that the sulfuric volcanic gases Mars retains are dominated by heavier sulfur dioxide rather than by hydrogen sulfide. This sulfur dioxide can penetrate any existing persistent water layer on Mars, making such water much too acidic for the origin of life or for the maintenance of anything other than the most extreme acidophilic bacterial species.

Too much sulfur on a planet is deadly to life. But Gaillard and Scaillet do not address whether Earth or Mars is the exception among planets.

Sulfur ranks as the tenth most abundant element in the universe. Its abundance by weight is 500 parts per million. This compares with 1,100, 700, and 600 parts per million, respectively, for iron, silicon, and magnesium, which rank seventh, eighth, and ninth. Yet in Earth’s crust, sulfur ranks as only the seventeenth most abundant element. There, its abundance by weight is 0.04 percent. The abundance levels for iron, silicon, and magnesium are 4.10, 27.71, and 2.30 percent, respectively. Thus, relative to iron and magnesium, sulfur is fifty times less abundant in Earth’s crust than it is in the universe.

Phosphorus, an element crucial for the assembly of DNA and RNA molecules, and likewise critical for metabolic reactions in all organisms, is super-abundant in Earth’s crust. Relative to magnesium and iron, phosphorus is four times more abundant in Earth’s crust than it is in the universe or the Sun.

Relative to magnesium and iron, uranium and thorium, which provide most of the energy driving plate tectonics, and thereby making continents possible, are about 10,000 and 1,000 times more abundant in Earth’s crust, respectively, than in the universe or the Sun. They are both much more abundant in the planet’s interior (the necessary location for the energy driving plate tectonics) than in the crust.

The table below summarizes Earth’s anomalous abundances of elements. Every one of our planet’s exceptional abundance characteristics discovered so far has proven to be essential for the support of life and of advanced life in particular. The evidence for the supernatural, super-intelligent design of Earth is mounting.

Earth’s Anomalous Abundances 
carbon 500 times less
water 250 times less
sulfur 50 times less
phosphorus 4 times more
uranium 10,000 times more
thorium 1,000 times more

Cardinal mom & dad feed babies

Are you stressed out?

Spend a few minutes watching a pair of Northern Cardinal parents diligently feed their babies with bugs — and clean out their kids’ poop — and your stress level will plummet. :D

Funny how these birds work hard to catch bugs to feed their young, whereas so many American human parents just feed off the public trough.  :(

No wonder St. Bonaventure called animals creatures without sin. In contrast, we humans are born, stained — Fomes peccati (tinder for sin) — inclined toward evil (concupiscence).

michelangelo-the-fall1Michelangelo’s “The Fall,” from the Sistine Chapel.

“Good and evil have not changed since yesteryear, nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among men. It is a man’s part to discern them as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.” –J. R. R. Tolkien


The Woman Conceived Without Sin

“A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and … gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne.” -Revelation 12:1-2, 5

Mary clothed with the sun

Yesterday, December 9, the universal Church celebrated the feast day of the Immaculate Conception. Since Mary is the patron saint of the United States of America, yesterday was also the feast day of our country!

Protestants, my brothers and sisters in Christ, are allergic to Mary, insisting on their mistaken notion that Catholics “worship” Mary when in fact we don’t. But Catholics do honor, revere and love Mary for she is the Mother of Jesus the Christ, as she rightly should be. Imagine how we hurt Him when we dismiss and disregard His mother. He respects her so much that, even though it wasn’t yet time for Him to begin His public ministry, He performed His first miracle changing water into the finest wine because His mother asked Him to.

As the mother of God, Mary must have been a very special and remarkable woman. Scripture tells us she was a virgin (see also “The Christmas Miracle: Scientific Evidence of the Virgin Birth”) and that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Still, it took the Church more than 1,800 years to definitively determine another of her special and wholly remarkable attributes.

On December 8, 1854, in the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December, 1854, Pope Pius IX pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary “in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin.”

In other words, Mary was conceived without sin — thus, the Immaculate Conception.

But you don’t have to take Pius IX’s word on this. We can deduce this ourselves, with the help of science.

Are you ready to put your thinking caps on and take a trip in logic, reason, and science with me?

Here we go . . . .

1. Scripture tells us that, as a result of our first parents’ disobedience of God’s explicit command because they wanted to be “as gods,” Adam and Eve’s offspring — all human beings — are born with the Original Sin. We are each born with concupiscence — an inclination toward evil, which renders us “tinder for sin” (fomes peccati).

2. Translated into the language of modern science, “born with the Original Sin” can only mean this concupiscence is biologically INHERITED. That in turn means it is transmitted from parents to child through all the generations via some genetic code or DNA.

3. Jesus, being God Himself (Son of the Father and the Second Person of the Trinity), by definition is without sin and without the Original Sin, for He is all good.

4. But the Second Person of the Trinity so loves us that He chose to become incarnate as a human being, to be born of a human mother, and to suffer and die for our redemption and salvation.

5. Since a baby is formed in the mother’s womb out of her very blood and tissue, the human mother of the incarnate God must be free of the primeval stain of Original Sin that is the genetic inheritance of every human. That means Mary could not have transmitted the concupiscence DNA to Jesus, which implies she herself did not have the Original Sin genetic marker, which is another way of saying she was conceived without sin.

Now we come to the Science part of our exercise in reasoning….

6. In 1979, researchers at Stanford University made a shocking discovery: They found a pregnant mother’s blood containing cells with Y sex chromosomes. Since women only have X chromosomes, they concluded that the cells must have entered into her body from the male baby she carried within her. That discovery began a new field in science — the study of fetal cell microchimerism.

As recounted by science writer Jena Pinctott in her October 2011 book, Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies?: The Surprising Science of Pregnancy, “During pregnancy, cells sneak across the placenta in both directions. The fetus’s cells enter his mother, and the mother’s cells enter the fetus.” How amazing is that?

More amazing still is that one kind of fetal cells that enter into the mother’s body is the baby’s stem cells, which can “morph” into other types of cells through a process called differentiation. The baby’s fetal stem cells can actually become the mother’s own cells that make up her liver, heart, or brain. More than that, there is evidence that fetal cells may offer the mother increased resistance to certain diseases. (Read more about this in my post of Jan. 15, 2012, “Baby in womb protects mom from disease.”)

There you have it: During her pregnancy, across the placenta Mary’s cells entered into baby Jesus and baby Jesus’ cells entered into Mary, and baby Jesus’ stem cells became the cells of Mary’s liver, heart, and brain.

God and woman became one.

That is why I honor, revere, and love very much our Blessed Mother Mary with all my heart.

“Then the dragon became angry with the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring, those who keep God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus.” -Revelation 12:17


A Different Nativity Scene

Jesus chose to be born to poor parents instead of kings, in a humble manger instead of a palace, and surrounded by humble barn animals instead of obsequious servants.

St. Bonaventure (1221-1274) called animals “creatures without sin,” unlike we humans born with original sin or concupiscence that renders us “tinder for sin (fomes peccati).” I have no doubt, therefore, that Christ finds this nativity scene endearing. 

H/t beloved fellow May.