Order in the Orbits: Our Mathematically Minded Creator


By Clint Bishard

Jesus Created Ministries


The planets in our solar system do not match that of a chance random process of cosmic evolution as predicted by the nebular hypothesis, but instead appear to be following a formulated pattern.  This pattern is found in that the average distance from the sun to each planet is closely matched with that of an exponential mathematical formula.

The formula for this planet/distance relationship is as follows: D = (A + 4)/10, where A = 0 for Mercury, and A = (3x2n)/2, where n = 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 for Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto and the Kuiper Belt objects.  The units attached to this distance formula are in astronomical units, or AUs for short.  One AU is roughly equal to the average distance from the sun to the earth, or about 93 million miles.  To save you the math, the average distances from the sun to the planets as computed from this formula are 0.4, 0.7, 1.0, 1.6, 2.8, 5.2, 10.0, 19.6, and 38.8 AUs respectively for Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto.  This matches very closely (all within 5%) with the actual measured values for these same planets as follows: 0.39, 0.72, 1.00, 1.52, 2.77, 5.20, 9.53, 19.19, and 39.5 AUs.

This ordered planet/distance relationship was well known in the past and is known as the Titius-Bode Law.  It was first proposed in 1766 and gained widespread acceptance in the astronomical community when William Herschel (a well know Christian creationist) discovered Uranus in 1781.  With Uranus shown to fit the 8th position, Bode called for a search for the only missing planet in the formula, the fifth planet out from the sun.  This search resulted in the discovery of Ceres in 1801 at the predicted position. [1]  With the then known eight planets identified at the predicted positions, many clearly acknowledged the evidence for design in our solar system.

Note: Ceres was initially considered a planet in 1801; then, an asteroid in the 1840s; then, recently almost a planet again; and now, officially, one of the three “dwarf planets” as defined by the IAU in August of 2006.  In fact, next to Pluto, Ceres was the most difficult planet for the IAU committee to deal with.[2]

However, this clear order to our solar system was quickly swept under the rug with the finding of Neptune in 1846, and that it did not follow the predicted pattern.  As one modern writer puts it “Neptune broke the ‘law.’  So, yes, it’s just a coincidence that most of the planets fall within the Titius-Bode law distances.”[3]

But as a creationist who believes the solar system was created instantly (or near instantly) on day 4 of the creation week, I would expect to find ordered design in God’s creation.  Therefore, I am resistant to throw away the Titius-Bode Law as a strange coincidence given the many objects in our solar system it does describe (as noted above).  Additionally, this “coincidence” is something that the scientific community continues to try and explain naturally with no solution.  “In fact, so many ideas have been advanced that Icarus, a leading journal of planetary science, no longer accepts papers that allege to explain the series.”[4]  Furthermore, the extra-solar planets (planets around other stars) in the universe discovered to date do not appear to follow this same type of predictable pattern.  Therefore, the spacing of the planets in our solar system appears to be yet another picture of God’s mathematically minded design of the solar system to those who are looking through a Biblical worldview. 

To finish with a comment concerning Neptune, a Biblical creationist not only expects to see design in the universe, but also evidence of catastrophe.  Therefore, the anomaly of Neptune, as well as several other unanswered questions concerning the design in the solar system (such as the asteroid belt), could be the result of a catastrophe in the solar system that occurred in the past.  See Catastrophe in the Heavens for more details on this subject.


[2] The Inside Story of Pluto’s Demotion, Owen Gingerich, Sky & Telescope, Nov. 2006, pg. 36.

[3] Ask Astro: Is it a coincidence that most of the planets fall within the Titius-Bode law’s boundaries? Astronomy, October 2006, p. 70.

[4] Ibid.

Jesus Created Ministries (JCM) - Page last updated January 13, 2007