Man—Made for the Earth
OUR own experience tells us that we need the earth. It provides all our material needs, such as food, water and clothing. And who does not enjoy the earth’s beauty, its majestic mountains, quiet forests and pounding ocean surfs?
Chemical study of man’s body reveals that all its elements can be found in the soil around us. This is in harmony with the Bible’s statement that man was made “out of dust from the ground.” (Gen. 2:7) Interestingly, the Bible tells us that the first man was called Adam, a name that can be translated “earthling man.” God charged man with caring for the earth. In fact, Psalm 115:15, 16 shows that the earth was “given” to man as his home.
But today man is experimenting with space exploration. Could it be that man might fit just as well into life on some other planet? If he is truly made for the earth, should this not be evident in even more ways than in his need for air, water and food?
For instance, on the planet Jupiter a ‘day’ lasts just about ten hours. But Jupiter’s ‘year’ is equal to about twelve earth years. With a little experience might not man adapt well to such time features? Is he really made for earth’s time schedules? The testimony of current scientific opinion on the matter is of interest.
Professor John D. Palmer of New York University says: “It is quite obvious that the ability to measure off periods of about 24 hours is an innate property of protoplasm,” which is found in all living things on this earth, including man. Biology professor Frank A. Brown of Northwestern University says: “24-hour clock-timed rhythmic systems exist in man.”
Such daily ‘clocks,’ sometimes called ‘biological clocks,’ are more correctly referred to as “circadian rhythms” (from the Latin circa, meaning “about,” and dies, meaning “day,” or “about a day”) since most of the rhythms are not exactly twenty-four hours.
TWENTY-FOUR-HOUR RHYTHMS IN MAN
The most obvious of such rhythms in man is said to be the sleep-wakefulness cycle. Out of each twenty-four hours, most humans spend about eight hours sleeping and sixteen hours in activity. Have you ever tried to alter that cycle, perhaps skipping a night’s sleep? You cannot do that for very long, can you? Your body will not allow it.
Experimental attempts to alter the twenty-four-hour sleep-wakefulness cycle have proved unsuccessful. Thus sleep expert Nathaniel Kleitman says: “Efforts to establish a 12-hour rhythm in man have uniformly failed. . . . No more successful were attempts to develop a 48-hour rhythm in our laboratory.” Man’s sleeping habits indicate he was made for a twenty-four-hour cycle.
Body temperature, too, we are told, follows such a twenty-four-hour rhythm. The average temperature in a healthy man is 98.6° F. But this varies every day, about two degrees; consistently body temperature is lower in the morning hours and higher in the afternoon.
Most of the chemicals released into the body follow, it is believed, a twenty-four-hour schedule. For instance, consider what one 1968 textbook says about the hormones released by the adrenal and pituitary glands:
“There is a burst of pituitary ACTH activity at about 3 A.M., reaching a peak around 6 A.M. This is followed shortly by a brisk rise in the plasma level of cortisol and its derivatives. It is as if the batteries were filled during sleep, ready to ‘go’ in the morning when the subject awakens. Throughout the day there is a gradual fall so that by midnight, the lowest cortisol levels are reached. There is approximately a two-fold difference between the peak in the early morning hours and the trough [low point] late at night.”
Suppose, however, that a person sleeps during the day and is active at night? Do such conditions affect the twenty-four-hour rhythm of these glands? This source continues:
“The rhythm of adrenal activity is independent of sleep as shown in night workers, who maintain their original rhythm; it is not related to vision directly, since blind persons are found to have the same diurnal [daily] variations as normal subjects.”—Textbook of Endocrinology, edited by R. H. Williams, M.D.
A regular circadian rhythm is thought to have been demonstrated in many other parts and processes of the human body. According to doctors at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, even a “denervated donor heart maintains a similar circadian rhythm.”—Science, August 14, 1970.
Since so many rhythms appear to correspond closely with the length of earth’s day, twenty-four hours, it is understandable that some scientists would suggest a ‘cosmic’ connection between the two. Thus Professor Brown says that the ‘clock’ in earth’s living creatures is set by natural geophysical cycles. While this view is not widely embraced, few experts are ready to exclude entirely its possible validity. Well, could these rhythms be altered in outer space?
Not according to the book The Physiological Clock (1967 edition) by Professor Erwin Bünning, which observes: “Investigations into the problems of space travel have shown that humans can likewise make only limited adjustment to an environment which deviates considerably from the 24-hour periodicity.” Professor Bünning concludes that all the evidence demonstrates the truthfulness of the statement made back in the eighteenth century by German physician C. W. Hufeland: “The period of twenty-four hours . . . is, as it were, the unity of our natural chronology.”
Man, indeed, belongs in an environment based on a twenty-four-hour schedule.
OTHER CLOCKS IN MAN
Circadian rhythms are not the only ‘clocks’ found in man. Other investigators are reporting evidences of a cycle based on one earthly year. An article in the April 1971 Scientific American says about one study: “Over the 15 years of the study this subject has shown a definite annual rhythm.”
What about the moon? The Bible shows that by the moon, as by the sun, man was to mark time; there are Biblical references to the lunar month of 29.5 days. (1 Ki. 6:37) Modern factual evidence does indicate that the moon influences many forms of animal life, such as oysters. It also largely controls earth’s tides.
This led a writer in Science Digest to ask: “If [the moon] can exert some direct pull on living [animal] tissues as well as the seas, why should it not have some influence on humans?” There are apparently some interesting correspondencies between the lunar cycle and mankind.
Two are discussed by Professor Palmer:
“Even elementary textbooks promulgate that the menstrual cycle averages 28 days . . . Close re-examination of the data collected by earlier workers . . . has now shown that the true average period of the human menstrual cycle is 29.5 days—the exact length of the synodic-lunar month. It was also found that the average gestation period—the time elapsed between the day of conception and delivery—was exactly nine lunar months (266 days).”—Natural History, April 1970.
Awareness of such a seeming connection led the above-quoted Science Digest writer to ask: ‘Is it just coincidence?’
Is it possible, as some have suggested, that, just as there are apparent twenty-four-hour rhythms, “there are inherent protoplasmic rhythms which have the same periodicity as the lunar cycle”?
Another way to appreciate that the earth is man’s home is to consider what happens when he leaves it and goes into space.
MAN AWAY FROM HIS HOME
Away from the earth, his home, man is in an unnatural environment. Outer space itself is highly lethal; just a moment’s unprotected exposure to it will kill a man. Even with special equipment in outer space there are omnipresent dangers that man does not have in his native atmosphere.
Prominent among these is weightlessness. Because of its weakening effect on the circulatory system a man could be killed on his return to normal earth gravity. So special methods have to be devised to control blood flow while men are in space. Not necessary on earth, these measures are not entirely successful in space ventures.
For instance, in 1970, when two Russian cosmonauts returned to earth after a record flight in Soyuz 9, described as a ‘complete success,’ one report says that they experienced difficulty in readjusting to earth’s gravity. Not only was there the customary loss of weight and muscle tone during the flight, but for about ten days afterward “they also were troubled with a degree of instability in their cardiovascular systems and with difficulty in sleeping.” Hindrance in perceiving colors due to faulty eye coordination was also blamed on the extended absence of gravity.
These things are not ordinarily problems for healthy men at their earthly home. But, even more importantly, do men really want to stay away from the earth? Consider those who have been in outer space. They have made some telling statements that directly and indirectly indicate that earth is really man’s home.
When the United States space team in the Apollo 8 capsule circled within 69 miles of the moon’s surface they described it as “a vast, lonely, forbidding type expanse of nothing,” and not “a very inviting place to live or work.” The three-man crew read from the Bible book of Genesis, stressing what it says about the earth as being ‘good.’
Two Russian cosmonauts in 1970 are said to have “experienced a craving for ‘earth food.”’ And, in June last year, just hours before his death with two other cosmonauts at the time of their return to earth in Soyuz 11, veteran spaceman V. N. Volkov broadcast his observations of the earth: “You look down there and you get homesick. You want some sunshine, fresh air and to wander in the woods.” He, too, knew that earth is man’s home.
Yes, man is, in every last detail, of the earth. And the earth is in every way ideally suited for him. Scientific findings support that fact. The Bible has said it for thousands of years. Can you not therefore trust what it says about God’s purpose soon to make this earth a paradise, free from all wickedness?—Matt. 6:9, 10; Luke 23:43; Rev. 21:4, 5.
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The sleeping habits of humans indicate that man was made for a twenty-four-hour cycle
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The moon has much influence on the physical earth and its creatures. Is it a mere coincidence that there are correspondencies between the lunar cycle and the reproductive functions of a woman’s body?
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Away from his earthly home, man encounters ever-present dangers; the effect of weightlessness on the circulatory system, for example, can kill a man on his return to earth’s gravity