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Looking for God in all the Wrong Places
In Defense of the Faith
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Wendy Wippel

The creation account in Genesis is a mere 1007 words. (A good bit less than my average column.) The details are scarce, really, but then it isn’t meant to be a 'how-to' manual. (Cause even if we knew 'how-to', we couldn’t, right?)  The methodology is vague, but the motivation?  Crystal clear.

Even a cursory reading of the first couple of chapters reveals God’s heart:

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. ….  3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light…  11 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.

14 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; …

24 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…26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion …over all  the earth …

29 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."

7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. 8 The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed." (Genesis 1-2:8)

The ultimate objective of the whole process is kind of inescapable.  God made the sun and moon to give light, to separate the times and seasons.  He made plants for food and animals to rule over.   But who was going to discern the separated times and seasons?  Who would eat the plants?  Who would exercise that dominion over what God created? 

Man.

God finished the process by forming man out of the dust of the ground, and then He put him in the place He formed.  In context, the placed formed specifically for him, the progenitor of the human race.

Namely, Earth.

For whatever reason, however, in our lifetimes mankind seems intent on disproving his divine origins.   In fact, the fervor to find life on other planets has virtually consumed the modern world, inspiring an emotional intensity difficult to rationally explain.  We're frantic to confirm that intelligent life on other planets exists.

According to the move "Contact", one of hundreds of modern movies which have explored what man's first contact with said extraterrestrials might look like,  "If it's just us, it's just an awful waste of space."

"Ancient Aliens", a omnipresent show on the History (using the term loosely, obviously), Channel attributes every event in human history to alien contact.  Tibetan monks, through an occult practice called remote viewing, received a prophetic vision that mankind will soon be plunged into a nuclear war, and that aliens would come to save the planet from destruction. 

A somewhat common theme in movies as well.   And this despite the fact that we've been searching the heavens for alien transmissions for most of my lifetime.  And we haven't found any evidence of other sentient life at all.

But they have to be there, say the experts.  Just do the math.  We now have better ways to explore our universe, and in the Milky Way Galaxy alone there are at least at least 10 billion planets.  And if there are ten billion other planets, just in our galaxy, one of them has to shelter life.  Makes sense.

But there are some critical parameters.

First, the planet has to have a carbon dioxide atmosphere, because a COatmosphere forms the clouds that can create water.  And water is necessary to produce the primordial soup in which the requisite chemicals can slosh around until they bump into one another enough to accidentally form DNA.  (I'm quoting science here.)

But even the water isn't enough.  There's one more non-negotiable.  Astronomers call it the "Goldilocks Zone".  If the planet is too close to its parent star, the water will boil off as steam.  If it’s too far away, the water will be, well, not water, but ice.   The distance between the planet and its star has to be "just right", or life on that planet is impossible.

And so we search.  With improved technologies over the last couple of decades, our ability to identify new planets has exploded.  At first, the hunt yielded the bigger planets, gas giants like Jupiter, which are by nature inhospitable to life.  But as techniques were refined, our ability to identify the smaller, rocky planets improved as well.  Scientists are now identifying new rocky planets, theoretical candidates for being an "earth twin" at a rate of about one a week.

But the hunt's still not going well.  And, listening to Michio Kaku,  theoretical astrophysicist  at the City College of New York, and  NASA scientist Michelle Thaller vent their frustration last Sunday, on an episode of "How the Universe Works", was kind of funny:

Although a planet possible earth twin is being identified now about once a week, "the planets we're finding are not only uninhabitable, they shouldn't even exist!"   What have we found?  Wandering, orphaned planets, forced out of their star’s orbit by giant, hot,  Jupiter –like planets with immense gravities.  Rock planets nothing like earth.

Planets with titanium oxide atmospheres.  Planets too close to their home stars, whose gravity is tearing the planet apart.  Planets with 4700° surface temperatures.  Planets with titanium oxide atmsopheres.  Planets whose surfaces are subject to continuous solar tornados or 6000 mph winds.

Planets like Corot 7B,  the first rocky planet identified, at 489 light-years from earth. Corot 7B rotates in such a way (like our moon), that one side perpetually faces its sun, while the other never sees light.  It is close enough to its sun so that the near side is one seething mass of continually erupting volcanoes, with temperatures thousands of times hotter than any ever experienced on earth.  The far side is dark and cold, cold enough so that the rock vaporized on the near side cools and coalesces on the far side.

In other words, it rains rocks.  All day, every day.

Kaku and Thaller described Corot 7B  (reminiscent of that old chewing gum commercial) as, "two, two, two "hells in one".

In fact, all they could say about the ongoing search for an earth twin was that it was pretty much an abject failure.  The planets that they are finding are,

"Weird."

"Nightmarish."

"All these solar systems we are finding out in space…they don’t look like ours at all.  We are the oddballs.  We are the freaks.  It's like we are looking at all the things that could go wrong."

"It's like looking for heaven and finding hell.  Lots of different flavors of hell."

"Earth is the only inhabitable planet still discovered.  Can we really be alone?" they ask.  

Interesting. Wernher von Braun said that,

"Our sun is one of 100 billion stars in our galaxy. Our galaxy is one of billions of galaxies populating the universe.  It would be the height of presumption to think that we are the only living things in that enormous immensity."

Only if you were making that assumption without any evidence.  And actually, we know why the stars and planets are there:

"The heavens declare His righteousness, And all the people see His glory." (Psalm 97:6)

The stars and planets testify to a creator God.  A God who fills the universe with His divine presence. (Ephesians 1:23). 

God worked for His own good pleasure when he made both earth and man, and He made it to be inhabited. (Isaiah 45:18).  He knew, however, (being an eternal being) that someday we would need to be redeemed. (The Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world.)  So He created the stars and planets as a witness to Himself, the God who would eventually work redemption for a fallen creation.

That’s what creation is in only 1000 words.  And redemption is the topic of the other 773,746. 

Not wasted space.  Space filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord.  Amen?

About Wendy Wippel

Last week: Galileo in Graceland



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