Ceres and the Asteroid Belt: Remains of an Exploded Planet


By Clint Bishard

Jesus Created Ministries


            Elsewhere, we introduced the concept of a catastrophe occurring in the past within our solar system.  A catastrophe, or catastrophes, in the past would explain why we have the clear evidence for design within our solar system, yet it shows some signs of corruption with some minimal areas of disorder.  Additionally, a past catastrophe in the solar system would explain why God’s perfectly created home for His creatures has in the past and present experienced harmful impacts from space.  One of the past catastrophes in our solar system appears to be the explosion of a planet.  We will now look at the evidence in support of this hypothesis.

            Interestingly, the concept that a planet exploded in the past is not new.  In fact, this was a common belief among astronomers during the 1800s and early 1900s, and the past planet was given the name Phaeton[1].  What brought the scientific community to this viewpoint was the mathematical formula already discussed that predicted the orbital distances of the planets before they were found.  Additionally, the discovery of Ceres in 1801 (which filled in the only missing orbital position predicted by the formula) was followed by the discovery of many more such smaller objects at similar orbital distances as Ceres (between Mars and Jupiter).  As more fragments continued to be found at this orbit location, they were named asteroids and the idea that they were the remains of a once larger intact planet between Mars and Jupiter was a simple deduction from the evidence.

            So what changed?  Well, nothing has changed concerning the evidence, but instead, the belief system of most within the scientific community has changed from one of believing in a universe perfectly and supernaturally created by God to a belief system that everything evolved from chaos through naturalistic processes.  As a result of this change in belief system, the reigning naturalistic hypothesis for the development of the solar system became the nebular hypothesis.  This view teaches that the entire solar system was once a single cloud of dust and gas molecules that collapsed to form our sun and planets.  As a result of the new belief system, most scientists now view the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter as some of that original dust that failed to accumulate into a planet.

            However, as a scientist who rejects the naturalistic nebular hypothesis due to my Biblical beliefs that there is a God who perfectly and supernaturally created the solar system (Gen 1:14-19), I will now make the case that the explosion of a planet sometime in the past between Mars and Jupiter better fits the evidence we currently observe.  The main points of evidence are as follows:

  • Ceres, now classified as a “dwarf planet,” comprises about a third of the estimated mass of the asteroids in the solar system.[2]  Additionally, 90% of all asteroids are in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, near the orbit of Ceres.[3]  The fact that the orbit of Ceres, being the largest of the objects in the asteroid belt, matches the 5th planet position as predicted from the mathematical formula appears to be more than coincidental. Conservation of momentum would tell us that one would expect to see the largest intact piece of an exploded planet to be closer to the original orbit than the smaller fragments. And this observation fits the exploded planet hypothesis.
  • The nebular hypothesis predicts that the asteroids would have developed via the accretion of small dust particles into the different sized “planetesimals” now making up the asteroid belt.  However, the asteroids do not represent these collected dust “planetesimals,” but instead are fused solid bodies similar to the composition of the earth.  Interestingly, the composition of the asteroid belt has actually been studied from meteor “falls” here on earth.  “When the trajectories of falls are traced, the majority indicate an origin within the asteroid belt…A small number of ‘found’ meteorites show similarity to moon rocks, and a few others have gaseous inclusions similar in compositions to the atmosphere of Mars, so it has been suggested that these might have been blasted off those celestial bodies during the giant impacts that scarred their surfaces.  However, the vast majority appear to come from the direction of the asteroid belt and they match the asteroids in composition”[4]  “Of those that survive and reach the ground, about 95 percent of recorded ‘falls’ (those that are seen and then recovered, as opposed to those that are simply ‘found’) are of the ‘stony’ kind – similar in composition to earth rocks.  About 4 percent of falls are of the ‘iron’ type – similar in composition to the earth’s iron/nickel core.  Because they tend to be larger, the ‘irons’ make up about two-thirds of the total mass of recorded falls.  About 1 percent of falls are a stony-iron mixture.”[5]  Therefore, “Asteroids and meteorites look very much like the rubble of a disrupted planet.  The ‘stony’ types correspond with the outer mantle crust of an earth-like planet, while the ‘iron’ type exactly parallels the inner core region of the earth.”[6]  The composition of the asteroids being these different types of solid rigid bodies better fits the exploded planet view than the accretion of small dust particles over a long period of time.
  • The nebular hypothesis with its millions/billions of years of accretion would predict that the meteor/asteroid craters visible on the planets and moons in the solar system would be uniform given the random nature of these impacts.  “Astronomers call this even spacing of craters ‘symmetrical cratering.’  Astronomers have not observed symmetrical cratering anywhere.  In fact, every moon and planet with craters has more craters in one hemisphere than the other.  This shows that the nebular hypothesis is false.  The earth, for example, has more craters in the Old World than the New World.  This situation is called ‘asymmetrical cratering,’ and is exactly what we would expect if a massive one-time planetary explosion had thrown debris through the solar system to hit whatever was in its path.”[7]
  • The two small moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos, do not match that of something formed via collected “planetesimals” as expected by the nebular hypothesis, but instead they appear to be captured asteroids.  “Space probes have photographed both Phobos and some asteroids at very close range, confirming that they look quite similar.”[8]
  • The objection that it would take too much energy to explode a planet is no problem for an infinite God who has judged our universe in the past.


In conclusion from this evidence, I (as well as many other leading creationists) view Ceres not as a planet; but it, as well as the asteroids, as part of the remnants of a past planet that blew up.  I believe this planet was part of God’s original perfect design as indicated by Ceres and most of the asteroids being located at the orbit location as predicted by the mathematical formula for the position of the planets.

Since we are dealing with historical events, we cannot prove that a planet blew up in the past by the scientific method (no observable and repeatable experiments here), so Phaeton will have to remain a hypothesis.  I only wish the scientific community would realize the same thing about the hypothesis of evolution and quit discussing it as a fact or even a theory.  However, we can take note that a lot of evidence exists in support of this Phaeton hypothesis.  Additionally, we can see that the evidence in our solar system fits with a perfectly created solar system, which now appears to have been corrupted in the past.  The Biblical Christian can take comfort that the evidence in our solar system is consistent with the Bible’s history.







[3] Carole Stott, New Astronomer (New York, NY: PK Publishing, Inc., 1999), p. 78.

[4] Alex Williams and John Hartnett, Ph. D., Dismantling of the Big Bang: God’s Universe Rediscovered (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2005) p. 157.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid, p. 158.

[7] Dr. Jonathan Henry, The Astronomy Book (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 1999), p.63.

[8] Ibid.

Jesus Created Ministries (JCM) - Page last updated January 29, 2007