How many of you saw Iron Man 2 last weekend? If you did, you’re not alone. With over $128 million in ticket sales, the second film in the Iron Man trilogy now ranks as the fifth highest-grossing film debut of all time.

In this sequel, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is being slowly poisoned by the palladium in his suit of armor. While most moviegoers might leave the popcorn-littered theatre wondering what superpower they’d want or how they’d use it, others (like those who work with, or are themselves, scientists) might appreciate the talk about palladium and other chemical elements.

Palladium plays a helpful role in medicine, dentistry, water treatment, even arc reactors, among other things. But, just like that giant tub of extra-buttery popcorn, too much of this metal can be hazardous to your health. On the other hand too little of such metals, including iron, can also be dangerous. (A fact I’m all too aware of, having dealt with anemia most of my life.)

Life is dependent not just on the existence of elements, but on the just-right amount of them. And according to RTB astronomer Hugh Ross, Earth’s crust does, in fact, contain the “‘just-right’ quantities of all the elements necessary for the existence and sustenance of advanced land life.”

For example, though molybdenum can be harmful, it plays a “crucial and unique role in ‘nitrogen fixation’” (the process by which nitrogen is converted to ammonia). Without nitrogen fixation, land life cannot exist. And this fixation process cannot exist unless the just-right amount of molybdenum is present.

Hydrogen is another essential substance. In his article “Lightest Element, Heaviest Load,” RTB guest writer Dr. Christopher Wells (University of Notre Dame) notes,

Without hydrogen we wouldn’t have clear blue ocean waters or gasoline for our cars or steel or plastic to make cars.

We also wouldn’t have stars. And, of course, without stars there’s no us.

Not to be overlooked are uranium and thorium, both of which play vital roles in our planet’s plate tectonics and volcanic activity. Sure earthquakes and volcanic eruptions don’t sound very appealing, right? (Especially in light of the recent devastation caused in Haiti and Iceland.) Yet a highly stable level of seismic and volcanic activity is necessary for the development and sustainment of continents and oceans.

What’s most amazing here is that the just-right-for-life quantities of these elements are unique to planet Earth. So how do other planets stack up against ours? They don’t come close. When compared to other planets of similar size and distance from their stars, Earth’s ensemble of elements and compounds is radically different.

For example, we have 23,000 times more thorium and 2,400 times less nitrogen than other comparable planets.

Ross explains,

Today, the list of such uniquely abundant or scarce substances includes water, carbon, sulfur, phosphorous, 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.

And as the evidence continues to grow that Earth’s elemental abundances are unique, so too does our confidence that the Creator meant for us to be here.

–Sandra

Resources: See the latest issue of New Reasons to Believe for Hugh Ross’ article “Elemental Evidence for Earth’s Divine Design” and a table of Earth’s Anomalous Abundances.

It’s giveaway time! The first 10 comments to this post will receive a free copy of Hugh Ross’ May 2009 audio message titled “Why the Universe Is the Way It Is,” based on the book by the same title. Happy commenting!

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