What About that Rock from Mars?


a seminar on creation

presented by Dr. Rueben Ruebenhiemer B.A.


February 8, 1998 ~ Pickering Standard Church


The segmented  central  structure is believed to have been alive about 3.6 billion years ago.  It is approximately 1/100th the width of a human hair.


For your consideration:


A - On December 27, 1984, Roberta Score, a member of a National Science Foundation meteorite-hunting team, spotted a potato-size rock in the Allan Hills ice field of Antarctica.  From the outset, the rock appeared unusual.  “The colors looked different, the rock looked very green.  It stood out in my mind that it was kind of weird,” she recalls.  Little did Score know, or anyone else for the next decade, just how different – and important – this rock was….A team of scientists announced to the world…that nestled deep inside this rock were the first clues that life might have existed somewhere else in the universe besides Earth…. If life originated on two neighboring planets in the same solar system, it’s difficult to escape the conclusion that life is ubiquitous throughout the cosmos.


(“Was There Life on Mars?”  Astronomy, November 1996)


B - ALH84001 [the rock] arrived on Earth 13,000 years ago….Prior to landing in the Antarctic ice field, this meteorite was in space for about 16 million years, based on cosmic ray exposure data.


(“Search for Past Life on Mars: Possible Relic Biogenic Activity in Martian Meteorite ALH84001.”  Science - Mars Articles - Science home page - Volume 273, Number 5277, Issue of 16 August 1996, (c)1996 by The American Association for the Advancement of Science.)


C - Many people ask how scientists know the meteorite originated on Mars. Most Martian meteorites are 1.3 billion years old or less, much younger than typical igneous meteorites from asteroids which are 4.5 billion years old.  They also have higher contents of volatiles than igneous meteorites. The conclusive evidence that this meteorite originated on Mars comes from the measurement of gases trapped in its interior. The trapped gases match those that Viking measured in the Martian atmosphere.


(“The Discovery ~ Astromaterials ~ Mars Exploration.”  NASA - Internet)




A – Evidence that the rock, known as ALN84001, originated from Mars appears to be conclusive.


B – Evidence that ALH84001 contains signs of life are currently being debated with the burden of proof laying with those who believe that the rock contains signs of life, whether through wishful thinking or honest evaluation of data.


C – In the words of theologian Ian Barbour at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota: “I don't see it as a big obstacle to religious thought.  To be sure it's a further displacement of humanity from a unique status, but we've been facing that for a long time ..."


Christian Observations:


A – Although it is believed at this time to be fairly well proven that ALH84001 originated on Mars and that it does indeed contain signs of life, this does not require that these signs of life also originated on Mars.  It is not unreasonable to support the view that these signs were carried to Mars from Earth.  Many mechanisms exist (i.e.: volcanoes, meteorite ejecta, solar wind removing particles in Earth’s upper atmosphere) that are quite capable of hurling portions of Earth into Solar orbit to eventually land on one of the other planetary bodies of our Solar System.


B – Even if it is proven that the signs of life originated on Mars it is not required that life therefore exists elsewhere in the universe any more than two adjacent houses being occupied requires that any other houses in a city be occupied.  The discovery of non-intelligent life on extraterrestrial bodies in no way removes man from his position as the bearer of the image of God and yet lends no support to the evolutionary cause.  The bible is consistent in its placement of man in the philosophical center of the universe.  It is for man that Earth and the universe around it were created (Genesis 1).  It was man that brought corruption both upon himself (Genesis 3:14-19) and upon the universe in which he lived (Romans 8:21-22).  It was on Earth that the Son of God became man to redeem mankind (John 3:16).  It will be upon the inhabitants of Earth who have rejected God that the ultimate wrath of God will be poured at the end of time (throughout the Bible).


C – The existence of apparent signs of life within ALH84001 does not require that the theory of evolution is true.  The fact that ALH84001 came from Mars does not merit it a greater significance when compared to a rock from Earth.  Were extraterrestrial intelligent beings found to exist and communicate with us their views and beliefs concerning their origin would have no greater importance than our own simply because of their distance from us.


D – Whatever final truth is determined through the evaluation of ALH84001 the fact remains that it is a created thing in its own way giving glory to God (Psalm 19:1-2).  It can in no way deny the truth of the universe which God created for us.  Any antagonism between the facts revealed to us by ALH84001 and the word of God is the result of finite human thought and his endless possibility of misunderstanding of the reality which God created around him.




Genesis 1:1-2:3 ~ In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day. Then God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters." Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.  Then God said, "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth"; and it was so.  And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day. Then God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day. Then God said, "Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens." So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." So the evening and the morning were the fifth day. Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind"; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." And God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food"; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.


Genesis 3:14-19 ~ So the LORD God said to the serpent: "Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel." To the woman He said: "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you." Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: "Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return."


Psalm 19:1-2 ~ The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge.


John 3:16 ~ For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.


Romans 8:21-22 ~ Because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.