I just had to let you know how much I enjoyed Dr. Lisle’s article “Exoplanets—Unpredictable Patterns.” When I read that one exoplanet was orbiting its star backwards, my reaction even surprised me. First, I laughed out loud. Then, my heart filled with wonder and gratitude for a Creator with such an awesome sense of humor.
DEBI U., FLORIDA
A Matter of Composition
Could Dr. Lisle elaborate on the conclusion that 51 Pegasi b is a gas planet (“Exoplanets—Unpredictable Patterns”)? It is understandable how the mass of the planet can be estimated and the orbiting period. It is also understandable how stellar evolution cannot explain the presence of a gas giant so close to its “sun,” but it is unclear how the planet is determined to be a large gas planet.
MICHAEL N., CALIFORNIA
Author’s Response: The notion that 51 Pegasi b is a gas giant (as opposed to a massive rocky world) is not known for certain but is a very reasonable inference based on other extrasolar planets whose size can be measured by the transit method. Some extrasolar planets cross directly in front of their star, blocking some of the star’s light. The more light they block, the bigger the planet. So the size can be determined as well as the mass.
In virtually all cases, if the planet is more massive than Jupiter, it is also larger in size. So it would seem that essentially all “hot Jupiters” are, in fact, gas giants. Although 51 Pegasi b is not a transiting planet, we presume—in the absence of any contrary evidence—that it also follows the pattern.
Finding the Perfect Gift
I just wanted to say a big thank you for your wonderful magazine. My dad is 79 years old, and it is hard to find a gift for him that he will truly enjoy and put to good use. Your magazine is the answer to that problem.
SUSAN S., IOWA
Surviving the Pressure
Concerning Dr. Snelling’s article “Fossilized Footprints—A Dinosaur Dilemma,” I do not understand why the weight of the overlying layers would not squish the footprints flat while it was squeezing out the water from the dolomite.
BONNIE Z., VIRGINIA
Author’s Response: The footprints were made in dolomite and then buried by more dolomite. Since these sediments are of the same constituency and density and the dolomite deposited on top of the footprints layer also filled in the footprint impressions, the weight of the overlying dolomite layers would not “squish” the footprints flat.
The key is that the dolomite sediment being deposited on top of the footprints first filled in the footprint impressions. Because it is the same dolomite material as that in which the footprints were made, the whole dolomite sequence of layers would have maintained its integrity as the weight squeezed out the water from between the dolomite grains. The dolomite grains around and in the footprint impressions also maintained the shape and integrity of the footprints.
The brief exposure to the air while the level of the floodwaters briefly dropped would have started to set the natural dolomite cement, especially at the drying surface in which the footprints were made. This initial drying of the dolomite around the footprint impressions would have helped preserve them when the overlying dolomite layers were deposited.
Who Are the Liars?
In “Does the Gospel Depend on a Young Earth?” Mr. Ham asks whether one can believe in an old earth and old universe and still be a Christian. He answers affirmatively and points out that the list in Revelation 21:8 does not include “old earthers.”
Fair enough—but that same list in Revelation 21:8 does include “all liars.” And this leads to my point: would not a person that actively teaches and promotes a patently erroneous interpretation of Genesis be a liar?
According to both the Old and New Testaments, we are not to add to or diminish from God’s Word (Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:18, 19; Galatians 1:8). When Christ says, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say,” is this not addressed to those who teach error?
JESSE C., WASHINGTON
Editor’s Response: According to most commentaries, passages like the ones in Revelation 21:8 describe people who continue in certain sins (that is, people whose lives are marked by a lifestyle of sin). In 1 John 1, for instance, the apostle John makes an important distinction between those who walk in sin (verse 6) and those who commit single acts of sin (verse 10). We all tell lies and commit other sins, even as believers. But those who are “liars,” in the sense that the devil is always a liar by his nature, will not be in heaven (John 8:44).
The article does not pass judgment on any specific individual. It merely claims that mistaken views are not enough to exclude someone from heaven. If a person intentionally accepts a lie and knowingly promotes that lie, that indicates he is no child of God (Hebrews 12:8).